O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
I call on You for guidance
as this new legislative session commences.
Forgetting those things that are behind
and straining forward to toward those things that are to come,
I ask You to help these men and women press on to serve those
who look to them for leadership.
In this month when we as a nation
celebrate the sanctity of every life
and pay homage to a King
(whose reign was all-too brief)
may their efforts be crowned
with compassion, justice and mercy.
In this challenging economy,
as the deposit slips of state revenue
reflect less than they hoped they could bank on,
compound their interest in finding creative solutions.
Give them the ability to resist the temptation
to pass the buck.
Allow the currency of the time they spend
to be consistent with those four familiar words
engraved upon our history and our dollars...
"in God we trust."
And when they are called upon to make change,
may they be tellers of truth
as well as cashiers of compromise.
May the bottom line of decisions made in this House
make sense to those who make them
and to those who will be impacted by them.
And though taxing at times,
may this session be marked by an adequate reserve
of respect and humility
as well as a windfall of gratitude
for the privilege You have allowed them
in their calling as public servants.
In Your Holy Name I pray. Amen.
* I delivered this prayer on Monday, January 9, 2012 in the State House of Representatives in Olympia, Washington at the opening of the 2012 Legislative Session. The prayer can be viewed online at the following link:
About ten years ago I was asked by a friend serving in the Illinois State Senate to pray at the opening of the session in Springfield, IL. I had no idea that one of the Senators hearing my prayer that day would be elected President of the United States several years later. My friend is also residing in Washington, D.C. today. The Honorable Peter Roskam was elected to Henry Hyde's seat in Congress after the veteran Congressman retired.
Although the prayer was written with state lawmakers in mind, the essence of the prayer applies to those in leadership in local municipalities, churches, synagogues and school districts. It is a prayer that invites God's intervention in our pursuits. It also makes ourselves willing to accept His help that we might work effecgtively with others with whom we may not always agree.