“I have called upon thee, for thou will hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Show thy marvelous loving-kindness, O thou that saves by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.” (Psalm 17:6-7).
Having spent many hours in church services of one sort or another I have come to look forward to the “Invocation.” The period in traditional Christian church services where the Pastor, Minister, Preacher, or Priest invites the Spirit of God to enter the sanctuary. It is with childlike anticipation at this time that a sense of expectancy overwhelms me. When I was a child I was not sure of what was about to happen but, years later I began to understand the need to invite the Spirit of God to have more than a presence in my life but, to take part as well.
This is one of those rare occasions where Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and my Smith’s Bible Dictionary agree. Both define “invocation” as: the act of asking for help from God or a person who has power. Furthermore, the two books state that invocation is derived from the root word “invoke”: to call upon a greater power such as God or a spirit for help. I learned early in life that we do not have to wait for church service to ask for help or call upon God. Also, I did not need two dictionaries to tell me that God has power or that He is a greater power. I appreciate their noble intentions!
Our God is a gentle god, He does not force Himself upon His children and likewise His Spirit is gentle, it would never bulldozer its way into a worship service or the believer’s life. It is omnipresent, always waiting for the invitation, the opportunity to co-mingle with us in offering ourselves in service to the Almighty God. I believe the invocation is the link that allows the Spirit of God to connect us with God. It is the hope-filled believer reaching out and the faithful God reaching back across the gulf and abyss that separates us from Him. God is on one side of the gulf and we are on the other, the Spirit is in the middle and cannot and will not complete the link without an invitation.
The great Theologian A. B. Simpson asks; “Do we know the power of our supernatural weapon?” I think that should be weapons, yes with an “s.” The invocation is a powerful weapon, it is like a firearm with the safety mechanism removed. Once our prayers and worship are no longer inhibited, we can use them with the authority of a faith that commands as well as asks. God baptize us with holy audacity and Divine confidence. He does not want great men and women for the purpose of doing great things, He want men and women who will dare to prove the greatness of their God.
Beware in your asking and calling upon God, above everything, of limiting God. Why would you do such a thing? Primarily, because of human unbelief and the fallacy of thinking you know what God can, cannot, will or will not do. Expect the unexpected above all that you may ask or think is within His power. Each time you invoke the presence and-or power of God, be quiet first and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, what He has done and how He delights to hear Christ in you. Expect great things, expect the Spirit to show up and wait for God to show Himself to and through you. If God has done it before rest assured that He will do it again.
As we call upon God asking for help let us remember to pray for greater love for the unloved, the work of missions in the uttermost parts of the earth and whatever else is on your heart:
O’Lord God—the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is Jehovah-Sabaoth
(the Lord of Hosts). You are great in counsel and mighty in work your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to their ways and according to the fruit of his doings. Our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And as for our iniquities, we know them.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright. You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusted in You, and were not ashamed.
I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You, who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him, He heard.
Blessed be the Lord, Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. Jesus said; “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands. Amen.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ