Tomorrow, for my Toastmasters meeting, I will be giving an invocation to our group of public speakers. Have you ever written or spoken one of these? It is a terrific way to tap into our best selves and reach for something higher than “let me survive today” thinking.
What Is An Invocation?
Some people call this a euphemism for the word “prayer,” but I think it’s more than that. When people are responsible for invocations in a public or business group, we’re challenged to say something “spiritual” without denomination entering the moment.
Another way to think of an invocation is to think in terms of an affirmation, but again, we do more than just generate self-affirming messages.
To me, then, an invocation is a short speech (usually less than a minute long) that acknowledges our community, inspires our best selves, and motivates us to be in an open, receptive frame of mind for the event that is about to begin.
Are there required phrases or elements to writing an invocation?
I don’t think so. At least, in my limited experience, I haven’t noticed a consistent word choice or point to make. People do tend to avoid some words in a nondenominational gathering–words like God, or Heavenly Father, or Buddha, or Mohamed. No, let’s try to stay away from religious specifics unless we’re doing the invocation for a church/synagogue/mosque event.
Then, where do you start?
I have seen and heard several invocations start with a favorite quotation. I personally like to draw from those quotations without necessarily reciting them word for word. This gives you another opportunity for a collection–a collection of quotes that help you in your daily life will also be a great source of inspiration for an invocation.
For example, one of my favorite phrases is, “Today, you are somebody’s reason to smile.” How cool is that? I might try to use it tomorrow as the closing to my invocation. The theme of our day is “getting organized for the holidays,” so I’ll need to weave that thought into the invocation too.
And a quotation is a great way to both open or end your invocation
If I start tomorrow by reminding people that in this holiday season we’ll have our lists, our plans, and our social obligations. But we are the people, and this is our time, to make the traditions our children’s children will enjoy for years to come. Lastly, I can remind everyone that we are the reason for others to smile, and aren’t the holidays a great time to remember this?
What do you think?
Do you write affirmations, prayers, invocations or inspirational essays? How do you approach this opportunity to connect with others, heart-to-heart? I’d love to hear your suggestions and successes.
Wishing you an inspirational week.