“In the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Our worship services typically begin with our calling upon the name of our God in the “Invocation.”
How many times have you heard your pastor speak the invocation? In a given year, he might speak it as often as sixty times in worship services. But how often have we stopped to think precisely about what we’re doing or what is taking place in connection with the phrase “In the name of” the Triune God? Let’s consider some of the content and meaning of those words.
IN THIS NAME WE GATHER
The most obvious reason for beginning our worship service in the name of the Triune God is that it is Him whom we are worshiping. God the Father created us. God the Son lived and died to save us. And God the Holy Spirit brought us to faith in Jesus as our Savior.
We are also calling upon this great three-in-one and one-in-three God to be with us in our worship service. We are reminded of Jesus’ words, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). We want the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be with us, showering His grace and blessings upon us.
IN THIS NAME WE ARE FORGIVEN
Also, we are told that we have been forgiven “in the name of” the
In one of our liturgies the pastor announces to repentant sinners,
“I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
God the Father “loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins”
(1 John 4:10).
God the Son “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed” (Titus 2:14).
And it is these truths which “God has revealed…to us through His Spirit”
(1 Corinthians 2:10).
In the name of the Triune God we are forgiven!
IN THIS NAME WE PRAY
In this holy Name we approach the throne of God’s grace.
Our prayers are typically addressed to God the Father from whom “every good and every perfect gift” comes (James 1:17). The Father hears these prayers because through His Son’s sacrificial death on the cross, the barrier of sin that existed between us sinners and the most holy God was removed.
In Jesus we have direct access to the Father. He is our divine Go-Between, our Mediator. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
God the Holy Spirit is also invoked with our prayers. The Spirit knows our deepest needs, and He speaks to the Father in our behalf! “For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).
Thus, the Triune God is very involved in our prayers!
IN THIS NAME WE ARE BLESSED
Our worship services conclude in much the same way as they began. When the pastor pronounces the benediction, he is doing so because of a command and a promise given by the Triune God.
About 4,000 years ago the Lord told Aaron, the first high priest, “Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.’ So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them” (Numbers 6:24-27).
With this blessing, the Triune God is putting His holy name on the worshipers to bless them as they leave His house of worship and return to their life out in the world.
So…what is included in the invocation “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”? Simply put, everything—our life, our worship, and our eternal salvation!
To the all-ruling Triune God be glory!
Highest and Greatest, help Thou our endeavor;
We, too, would praise Thee, giving honor worthy
Now and forever. Amen.