Christian prayers of invocation are intended to be comforting to those who recite them and incite the presence of God. They are often used to call upon the guidance of God and might also include specific words of thanks. Any Christian can say a prayer of invocation; this right is not exclusive to members of the clergy or those well versed in the Bible.
A Christian prayer of invocation is said when a worshiper wants to call upon the spirit of God. Specifically, the prayers ask that God gives a blessing and is present during the ensuing event. Christian invocation prayers often mention Jesus specifically, but they may also refer to God or the Holy Spirit.
Prayers of invocation are not exclusive to an official Christian service, though they are often said at the beginning of worship in a church. Many Christians also use invocation prayers before a meal, meeting or other important ceremony. Some Christians also refer to invocation prayers before a meal as "saying grace." An invocation prayer may be several minutes, but is more often less than one minute.
Invocation prayers can be altered to fit a specific meeting, time of worship or other event. In general, they open with an invitation to God, letting the spirit know that his presence is welcome and wanted. A prayer of invocation may also thank God; for instance, before a meal a Christian will thank God for the food on the table and family surrounding her. A prayer of invocation may also include a request, such as guidance to have a successful meeting.
Prayers of invocation may be more generic when said at a public event where people of multiple faiths, or no faith at all, are present. In these cases, a Christian invocation can be altered to remove references to Jesus but keep the tone of gratitude and ask for guidance, peace or other help.
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