After receiving more than 16,000 views of my Hubpages article Sample Invocation, I felt that another sample public prayer for a different context would be appropriate. This sample is based on more than 20 years of experience praying before local governmental meetings.
Preface for the one giving the invocation: This prayer was designed for use as an invocation for a city council meeting. It can be modified to fit many other types of settings involving government bodies. As you prepare to modify it for your own use, keep these basic rules in mind:
- Understand the context. Is the event purely secular (non-religious), or within your particular faith circle? Make sure you employ a prayer-style and vocabulary which everyone can relate to.
- Be who you are. If you have been invited to pray, then do your best to represent your tradition or faith-community well. Make sure that you speak to God on behalf of the entire group.
- Pray for what is appropriate, given the occasion–and then stop. A rambling or repetitious prayer soon becomes offensive. Be very careful to abide by whatever time restraints have been put upon you.
- Make sure you pray in a voice that is slow and loud enough to be heard by everyone present. On the other hand most people dislike a preachy or ranting tone in prayer.
- Be genuine. Far better than simply mouthing eloquent words, aim at true communication with God.
- There is nothing wrong with writing out your prayer beforehand. This will prevent saying something silly or unclear. If you read your prayer, put your heart and mind into the words you are saying.
- Remember, you are asking God’s blessing on the gathering in some way. That alone is enough to take the assignment very seriously.
So, here is the template:
Will you bow your head as I pray?
Dear wise and loving Father: First let me say, “Thank you” on behalf of all who are gathered here today. Thank you for your many and abundant blessings. Thank you for life itself, for the measure of health we need to fulfill our callings, for sustenance and for friendship. Thank you for the ability to be involved in useful work and for the honor of bearing appropriate responsibilities. Thanks as well for the freedom to embrace you or the freedom to reject you. Thank you for loving us even so– from your boundless and gracious nature.
In the scriptures you have said that citizens ought to obey the governing authorities since you have established those very authorities to promote peace and order and justice. Therefore, I pray for our mayor, for the various levels of city officials and, in particular, for this assembled council. I am asking that you would graciously grant them:
- Wisdom to govern amid the conflicting interests and issues of our times
- A sense of the welfare and true needs of our people
- A keen thirst for justice and rightness
- Confidence in what is good and fitting
- The ability to work together in harmony even when there is honest disagreement
- Personal peace in their lives and joy in their task
I pray for the agenda set before them today. Please give an assurance of what would please you and what would benefit those who live and work in and around our beloved city of _____________.
It is in your most blessed Name I pray, Amen.
I hope that this will be helpful and provide some clarity. Enjoy.