The House gives us a prayer from Rev. John Evans of the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The Seminary is across the street from The University of Texas at Austin’s northern border.
Great and gracious God, mighty ruler of our world and all the principalities and powers within our world, you are our hope when we seek you. You are our joy when we find you. As this legislature convenes, grant to those gathered both a hopeful seeking and a joyful finding of your will for the citizens and leaders of the State of Texas as now these servants go about the important work before them.
We give you our thanks for the hopeful vision and joyful outcomes you can bring, even when the pathways of policy and procedure are muddled or dimmed by human frailty. As now we look toward the unfolding new year and new session, we ask that you grant this assembled body a due sense of dependence on you and a lively sense of your presence with them as new opportunities turn their attention to this state’s future.
Creator God, for this rich land you have given to us as an inheritance; for opportunities we now have to build bridges of compassion and justice for our children and citizens across this state, nation, and world; for our great freedom and power entrusted to us to choose those who govern and exercise human concern; for the fidelity and faithfulness of these gathered servants of our state; and for occasions to spread love and grace, even through laws; we do raise our hearts and voices in praise and thanksgiving.
For words of encouragement that find us when our flame is low; for helping hands that reach us when the load is more than we can bear; for retrievable insights that come to mind when two ways open and we must decide; we give you heartfelt thanks.
Be present and active in this place with each one here today, even as you have promised you will, for you always keep your promises. Amen.
Rev. Barry Chinn of the Woodlawn Baptist Church in Austin led the Senate in prayer:
Our Father, we gather here from the corners of this vast state we call Texas, from El Paso to Texarkana, from Laredo to Pampa, to do the noble work of democracy. Thank You for this day, it is a gift. Thank You for colleagues, friends, and family, they are a treasure. Thank You for our work, it is a trust. We pray for the Senators who meet here today and the challenges that are before them. Grant them a wisdom from beyond themselves. Give them the courage they will need to marshal the resources of mind and muscle to make tomorrow even brighter than today. Amen.
This time the House won the word-count battle 312 to 106.