Friend and ministerial colleague, Eric Folkerth, pastor of the Northaven United Methodist Church was invited by Representative Raphael Anchia to give the invocation at yesterday's opening session of the Texas Legislature. Thanks Eric for providing the text of your prayer on your blog! My faith tells me that God hears prayers like this. Let's hope the legislators are paying attention!
'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.'
'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.'
'Even foreign kings, such as Cyrus of Persia, you have used to fulfill your holy will for God's people. 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.'