Lord Ganesha is one of the most prominent deities in Hinduism. Ganesha has the unique distinction that his name is always invoked before any other God's name in any prayer service. Legend has it that Lord Ganesha received this distinction as a blessing from his parents, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Lord Ganesha is designated as the chief (-eesha) of all of Lord Shiva's ganas (servers) - hence his name, Ganesha.

We begin with an invocation to Lord Ganesha - he of the single tusk, whose vehicle is the mouse and he who penned the Mahabharata with his own hands.

vakratunda mahaakaaya suryakoti samaprabhaa.
nirvighnam kurumedeva sarvakaaryeshu sarvadaa..

Salutations to the supreme Lord Ganesha, whose curved trunk (vakra-tunda) and massive body (maha-kaayaa) shines like a million suns (surya-koti) and showers his blessings on everyone (sama-prabhaa). Oh my lord of lords Ganesha (kurume-deva), kindly remove all obstacles (nir-vighnam), always (sarva-) and forever (sarvadaa-) from all my activities and endeavors (sarva-kaaryeshu).

Ganesha in Wood Inlay
Listen to the Vakratunda Ganesha Mantra audio
This is an extract of the invocation to Lord Ganesha from a track on the Chants of India CD by Ravi Shankar.
Related reading at this site:

Deities Festivals Mantras Prayers Texts