On the opening day of the legslative session, both houses started with a prayer. For the House, Msgr. Larry J. Droll of St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Midland, TX gave the following prayer:
God, our Heavenly Father, we acknowledge your presence in our assembly, and we place ourselves in your hands.
We give you praise, honor, and glory for creating us and giving us life. We thank you for our families and friends; we thank you for the resources you provide for our livelihood. We are grateful for gathering us here today and offering us the opportunity to glorify you by serving one another in the State of Texas.
Through the prophet Micah, you have told us what is required of us: “To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6.8). Jesus has called upon us to love you with our whole being and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22.37-39). We confidently ask you to grant us the grace to fulfill these commands. We humbly ask you to forgive us when we have failed to do so.
We ask you, Heavenly Father, to bless with your spirit everyone involved with the work of government in the Seventy-Ninth Legislature. Grant all of our leaders, members, and staff your gifts of wisdom and understanding, counsel, and courage that we might discern what will best serve our citizens, always being mindful of the poor and most vulnerable.
Lord God, we all yearn for peace and security in our world. We pray that you will bless us with hearts and minds open to understanding and reconciliation. We pray that everyone in our world will experience your presence in the midst of difficulties and your support in the midst of the storms that sometimes confront us. We make this prayer, Lord God, with confidence in your providential care for us all. Amen.
I wonder if those in the House felt shafted by the 283-word prayer after hearing about the Senate’s 713-word prayer by Rev. Manson Johnson of the Holman Street Baptist Church in Houston:
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who has by Thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in Thy path, we pray. Almighty God, we beseech You and Your mercy with humble hearts on this historical day. We are aware that life and all its activities are in Your hand.
We invoke Your power of wisdom and grace upon this Senate Chamber of the great State of Texas. The agenda before this body of lawmakers during this session is filled with issues and items that warrant Your wisdom. The tasks of negotiating and resolving life-changing matters are ever before You and this Senate Chamber. We summon You and Your wisdom to intervene among the thoughts of these honorable gentlemen and honorable women who are elected to carry out the mountainous charge of their oath. Give them the strength, the know-how, the patience, and the integrity to know what is the right thing to do for the entire body of the great State of Texas. In their weakest hour make them strong.
It is evident that God has raised you, the Senate Members, up to guide our great State of Texas for the 79th legislative session. You, indeed, have come to the kingdom of Austin, Texas, for such a time as this. A time when positive, progressive, and creative leadership is needed from the northern Panhandle to the southern tip of the Gulf coastline; from Beaumont and East Texas to El Paso and West Texas and interiorly into Central Texas and the Hill Country.
We bless this Senate Chamber for a very special anointing to come upon you that energizes you with power from above to know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. We bless this Senate Chamber with an anointing unlike any other previous session, because the times in which you will lead shall require it. We bless each of you to be endowed with the gift of supernatural wisdom so that you may be able to face the unique challenges that inevitably will arise.
We bless you for the favor of God to rest upon you that you may excel in all you put your hands to. We bless you for divine favor among each other as colleagues so that you may see your agenda successfully negotiated on behalf of those you represent. We bless you for your vision for the great State of Texas and America to come to pass with bipartisan cooperation so that all our citizens of the great State of Texas may dwell in health, peace, and prosperity. We bless you with an abundant harvest of blessings from heaven’s window. We bless you that God’s angels be with you and keep you safe and secure.
We bless you to be aware that God has raised up an army of very powerful, skilled intercessors to pray for you and hold your hands up so that you may triumph over every foe.
We bless you for the peace of God to rule your heart and your mind. We speak that the peace of God prevail in the Senate Chamber of Texas so that your sleep may be sweet and that you rise refreshed and renewed in God’s mercies morning after morning.
We speak forth a blessing to take place on this Austin, Texas, hill. We speak that a new spirit of bipartisan cooperation prevail in spite of predicted division and strife, that a new day will dawn, a powerful spirit of revival will invade the halls of the Texas Legislature, a spirit that will return our state to brotherhood and dignity.
We bless you, Governor Rick Perry, we bless you, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. May God give you the inner strength to be a shining example of God-fearing men of integrity and wisdom. We speak that God give you an open heaven so, when you pray your effectual, fervent prayers shall ensure swift intervention from on high. May your leadership inspire the people to help make Texas a greater state and a blessed place to live.
Almighty God, we invoke Your blessings upon our troops that defend our country. Bless our Commander in Chief, President George W. Bush. God bless America and God bless the great State of Texas. Amen.