I was honored to deliver the prayer below, to open the final Saturday of the 82nd Legislative session of the Texas House of Representatives. Below you will find the printed text, and a video version that’s been posted to YouTube.
Many thanks to my dear friend, Representative Rafael Anchia, for the invitation, and the opportunity to do this….EF
Opening Prayer: Texas House of Representatives
May 28, 2011
Rev. Eric Folkerth
Northaven United Methodist Church, Dallas, Texas
Holy and Gracious God,
We come before you on this day, on the final weekend of the 82nd legislative session. And as we pause before you in prayer, Holy God, we give you thanks for each of these esteemed members of our state government; for their families, their communities, and for the life-experiences that led them to these honored positions.
We know and understand the personal sacrifice that goes into being a public official…the time away from family….the long hours….the stress of the public spotlight. We give you thanks, O God, that these before us today have answer the call of public service. And we ask you to bless them.
But God, on this Memorial Day, in this chamber we are also keenly aware of even greater servants, those who have died in the service of our country, and their family members who are here this day. We who serve government in other ways come before them in humility. May they always know our deep and abiding gratitude, and may they also know the deep and abiding presence of your love and grace. And may all of us work toward that day when “nation shall not rise up against nation, and neither shall they make war any more.”
In great humility, O God, we recall how you call us to be a holy people. You, O God, call governments to be a holy manifestations of your will and desire for the world.
So, O God, remind these leaders of our state that their decisions matter to you, that you care deeply about what they decide here.
God, during their work here, help these servants of the State of Texas to be holy people, and to leave partisan politics at the statehouse door.
But also, O God, help them to make Texas into a holy people. For you call us to account. And we remember that your Parable of the Last Judgment is a judgment upon the nations of the earth.
And so, make Texas into a a holy people.
Make us into a holy people, O God, like the People of Israel, whom God challenged to treat immigrants as if they were native born.
Make us into a holy people, O God, like the Church of St. Paul, who championed care for widows and orphans, the most marginalized people of his day.
Make us into a holy people, O God, as Jesus taught….so that we might care for the sick….for those in prison…for those without clothing and shelter…for “the least of these.” And let us be reminded, as Jesus taught, that when we so care for others, we are caring for the face of God in the world.
Make us into a holy people, O God. For we know, when we search the scriptures, that these are the kinds of holiness God calls our government to achieve.
And, God, when this session has finished…when the final bill has been passed, and the last gavel comes down….when these elected servants are back in quiet of their homes, and praying to you in the privacy of their own hearts….accept their prayers of forgiveness for all the ways in which they will have fallen short of your holy vision.
All these things we pray, in your most holy and gracious name.
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