Last Sunday after church, as I sat watching folks casually greet one another, a family I knew well approached me and said, “We see that you’re going to give the invocation at the County Board of Supervisors meeting this week. We’re so glad you’re going to do that.” It will be so great to have you open the meeting in prayer,” they said. “We usually go to their meetings, and some of what we hear in the invocations makes us cringe and just shake our heads. Thank you so much for doing it.”
Invocations aren’t a regular part of my normal routine, but yesterday, invocation was on my ‘To do’ list. I walked in to the County Board of Supervisors chambers in our town, prepared to give an invocation. I arrived twenty-minutes early, just to make sure I was in the right place. As I entered the room and took my seat in the front row, I noticed that there’s a certain sort of ‘official’ or ‘important’ or ‘serious’ feel to the auditorium they call ‘the chambers.’ The board members sort of ambled in before the meeting started. They sat down in cushy leather chairs, behind microphones. Each member had their name on a bronze name plate displayed in front of them.
At precisely 9:00, the chairman spoke, declaring the meeting to be open, outlining the rules for publicly addressing the board. “Fill out a ‘speaker’s request’ available in the back and give it to the clerk, if you wish to speak,” he said. “We will call your name, and you will have 3 minutes to address the issue we are discussing.” It all sounded official, and serious. I was reminded again that governing is a solemn and important responsibility.
And then, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors in our community called my name: “Pastor Ken Jones will deliver the invocation.” As I walked toward the speaker’s desk and microphone, I noticed how similar it looked to a pulpit. Same width. About the same height and angle, so people wishing to speak could read any prepared notes without too much trouble. But I had no notes. I wasn’t going to preach. My job was ‘invoking’ you might say. So,I talked to God in that invocation the same way I talk to Him every morning. I began my conversation with the words, “Good morning, Lord.”
I prayed for wisdom to settle over the room — the ‘chambers’ where we were gathered. And I finished with, ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, and in this very room, as it is in heaven.’ I used the opportunity, not to preach to people, but to summons the God of all creation and invoke Him to help us as a community, a nation, a lost world. I was honored to be asked to pray.
But in 1 Tim. chapter 2, God’s word has already invited all believers to pray prayers of invocation:
“… I urge that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made in behalf of all people, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior ….”