Do notice that on February 14th, the Senate was led in prayer by a Rev. Valentine.
House: Offered by Marc Jones, pastor, Abundant Harvest Fellowship Church, Athens (310 words)
Ladies and gentleman and the Honorable Representative Betty Brown. Thank you for the honor to share in this day with you. I am reminded of what the Bible says in Jeremiah 33:2-3, “Thus says the Lord who made it, the Lord who formed it to establish it (the Lord is his name) call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you did not know.”
Please bow with me in prayer at this time. Lord, you said in your word that if we need wisdom, we can ask and you will give it to us. I pray today that your wisdom and direction will be in our great leaders, Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Speaker of the House Tom Craddick, and all who represent us in the great State of Texas.
Jesus, we bless you for this day. Every day that you allow us to be together, to do the things you have set in order for us to do, is a day not to be missed. We are grateful for the opportunities that are ours. I ask you for special favor to rest upon each of them. Favor is synonymous with the grace of God, and so today I ask you for great grace and for favor of God that puts us in places and positions that you know we are capable of fulfilling, to be the best of our ability that is given by God. Thank you for every good thing that will come as a result of this seventy-ninth legislative meeting, of their efforts and of the opportunities that you have given them. I lift them up to you; I bless them with the greatest blessing that you, God, can give them; and I thank you for them in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
Senate: Offered by Rabbi Yakov Polatsek, Torah Outreach Resource Center of Houston (203 words)
Avinu Shebashamayim, our Father in heaven, we thank You for the opportunity and responsibility which You have given us to make decisions and pass legislation which affect the future of the great State of Texas. Our Father in heaven, we pray to You today that we be responsible with that privilege. We pray that the Senators of this 79th Legislature who are here in this Chamber and Governor Perry and Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst who lead them be given the courage to make those difficult decisions and the wisdom to make the correct ones. Jewish people throughout the great State of Texas read this past Sabbath the verse in Exodus which discusses the first Senate in the Bible, and I quote, “And You shall discern from among the entire people men of accomplishment, God-fearing people, men of truth, people who despise money, and You shall appoint them leaders of thousands.” Avinu Shebashamayim, our Father in heaven, we conclude this prayer that the men and women of this Senate live up to those standards that You have set as a guide for a moral and ethical society and that all its citizens live in freedom and tranquility. And to this let us all say amen.
House: Offered by Darryl Bowdre, pastor, Church of Christ at South Central, Tyler (353 words)
We call on you, our eternal, everlasting God; our father who created us and the one that sustains and reclaims us. We come confessing our sins and our faults, knowing that none of us are all we ought to be, nor all you made us to be. We come asking for help to use the power you give us to become all that you want us to be.
We thank you for this day, one that we have never seen before, and one that we will never see again. We thank you for life and for the blessings you so graciously provide to us and for us. We thank you, Father, that we are able to live in a land like the United States of America and for the freedom and the favor that we enjoy.
We ask for your continued providence and help during this dark and sometimes dismal hour of war. Please bless the soldiers who are serving this country wherever they are. Protect them and their families while they are away and when they return.
Father, we now plead in earnest for the men and women who sit in these seats of decision and who walk through these doors of destiny. We ask and pray for you to give to them understanding and wisdom, strength and courage, compassion and temperance. Fill this mighty hall with your even mightier spirit. Help them to find a unity in their diversity as they proceed to govern and to guide the State of Texas. We also pray for the sacrifices that each of them make as servants to the people. We know that being in office, nor in Austin< exempts them from the pressures of family life that we all feel, and so we pray for their families and the communities that they call home.
We are not in the habit of telling you what to do. We would only ask that you keep on doing what you’ve always been doing, and we will be forever joyful and thankful to be called your children. In the blessed, beautiful, loving, life-giving name of Jesus. Amen.
Senate: Offered by The Reverend Keith Born, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Pflugerville (75 words)
Dear Lord, gathered here this morning are women and men from all over the State of Texas, and they gather to be about the work they have been elected to accomplish. Strengthen them for their task and keep them mindful of their role as servants of the people. Guide their deliberations and debate and direct this process and their efforts to serve the greatest good for the sake of all people in our state. Amen.
House: Offered by Bron L. Barkley, pastor, Shalom Hebraic Christian Congregation, Kingwood (511 words)
Mr. Speaker and members. It is my great honor to serve you today on behalf of my esteemed friend and colleague, Representative Debbie Riddle of Houston.
It has been suggested to me that I give a brief explanation before my prayer so that its unusual nature may not seem strange to any present. I have been an evangelical Christian minister for over 32 years, all but four of those as a pastor. For the last ten years I have had the signal privilege to minister in an intercultural way as a connective link between the traditional Jewish world and the traditional Christian world, especially helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of the faith. This has occasioned an immersion for me into much that is Jewish, including the founding of several ministries that for Christians is what is properly styled “Hebraic”. This Hebraic aspect of the ancient Christian faith is what will be seen in the opening of my prayer today. I will offer a Hebrew blessing that contains motifs of both Jewish and Christian traditions and then translate it, after which will come three petitionary intentions for the legislature followed by a conclusion in two parts.
The first, general for anyone of whatever persuasion who may wish to affirm the prayer’s intentions. The second for myself as a Christian so that I may be true to addressing the holy one, blessed be he, as I am commanded to do in my own faith tradition. This being said, please bring your busy thoughts to stillness in this brief sanctuary of time and close your eyes as prayer arises to God.
Unto you O Lord do I lift up my soul. Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu, melek ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’Torahcha, asher kid’shanu ba’davar shel emet, v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel yeshuahcha l’olam va’ed.
Blessed are you O Lord our God, king of the universe, who has sanctified us through your Torah, who has sanctified us through the word of truth, and has commanded us to light the candle of your salvation forever.
Beloved Father in heaven, may it please you to grant that the intention of this legislature be grounded in the immovable bedrock of eternal truth so that we may walk in the ways of the sages of the ages, never failing; and that the compromises arrived at in this session, since compromise is a tool in the art of contemporary governance, may be of particulars only but never of principle, even when two or more principles are present in the synthetic result of political deliberation; and that these legislators, each one successful in his or her own individual life, may see themselves as a unity that stands or falls together so that through humility the state which they embody may stand. These petitions, intention, principle, humility, arise to you, generally, from simple human souls beseeching at the door of divine providence. While I myself also pray as it says in our nation’s constitution “in the year of our Lord 1787”,in the blessed name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Senate: Offered by Fr. Albert Laforet, Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Austin (56 words)
Gracious and everliving God, we come to You as our source of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Please grant us these gifts as we work for the people of Texas. May You give the people of Texas all of Your abundant blessings. We trust in Your goodness and mercy and ask these things in Your name. Amen.
House: Offered by Noe Ramon, Jr., pastor, Iglesia El Divino Pastor, U.P.L.C.I.I., Edinburg (255 words)
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord of all creation in heaven above and on the Earth below. We humbly come before your presence with a contrite heart seeking your guidance, wisdom, knowledge, and truth. Father, you have given these able men and women a great position and place where they can impact entire communities, the State of Texas, and even this, your beloved country, America.
I pray that as this year unfolds and new responsibilities are delegated that you, our infinite Lord, will give each and every legislator the same wisdom you enabled King Solomon to have, the discerning knowledge given to Daniel, the guidance and advice you spoke to Elisha, and the truth that your son, Jesus Christ, continues to speak to each and every one of us through your living word, the Bible. In addition, Lord I pray that you change the current deficit into a time of abundance that all those around us from the youngest child to the oldest individual may see your glorious hand working a miracle upon this, your state. Finally Lord, I pray that each and every legislator may see and understand the great responsibility bestowed upon them and that they may know that someday we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give account for our actions whether they be righteous or unrighteous. Therefore Father, I pray that you lead these men and women in your goodness down your path of truth to everlasting life and peace. In Jesus’ precious and glorious name we pray. Amen.
Senate: Offered by Samuel G. Ortiz, Beacon Hill Baptist Church, San Antonio (169 words)
Our Father who art in heaven, I thank You for allowing me the gift to open my eyes on this Your day and for the privilege of praying blessings upon these legislators. I come humbly before Your throne with a special request: that You bless our Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, 31 Senators, and State Representatives of this great State of Texas. Give each one of them a sound mind, a pure heart, and a healthy body. Prosper them spiritually, domestically, and financially. I also ask that all disruptive spirits be bound as they assemble to discuss the items on their agenda and as they come to legislate laws that will bring righteousness and justice to all citizens of our state. Clear their minds as they focus in making wise decisions and do not allow any thing to hinder them. I pray that no selfish interest will be involved and that peace and harmony reign into today’s session. Lord, I praise, honor, and exalt Your name. Amen.
House: Offered by Tom Allen, pastor, Crosspoint Fellowship Church, Pearland (300 words)
Lord, we pause on this fourteenth day of February, Valentine’s Day, the day we set aside to honor and remember those we love. Father, we thank you for the people we love and for the people who love us and make our lives full and worth living.
Father we thank you for this great state we love, for its grandeur and greatness and for its most precious resource, the people of Texas, for those who were born here as well as those who got here as soon as they could. Red and yellow, black and white, Longhorns and Aggies, Red Raiders and Bears, they are precious in your sight. Lord, may they all be as precious in our sight as well.
Lord, I thank you for these men and women who have chosen to give of themselves, not just to govern, but to serve the people of this great state. Today I pray a blessing on these your servants. To their intellect, add your wisdom. To their sense of justice, add your sense of compassion. To their diligence, add your discernment. To their weaknesses, add your omnipotence.
Remind us, Lord, that you are king over every king, and Lord over every lord, governor over every governor, and representative over every representative. You are the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last and everything in between. Remind us often that you are God and that we are not.
Bless each of us with the humility that comes from knowing that one day all of our knees will bow and every tongue will confess that you alone are God. Finally, Father, we pray your kingdom will come and your will be done in Texas as it is in heaven. We ask this in Jesus’ name.
Senate: Offered by The Reverend David Valentine, First Baptist Church, Huntsville (137 words)
Our Father, I thank You for the opportunity to be before You today. I thank You for the privilege to pray for my leaders as they come together seeking the best interests of our families, friends, and fellow Texans. I ask that You would grant each Senator wisdom and discernment in leading this great state. Father, I cannot imagine the incredible burdens they carry today as they face so many complicated issues with no easy solutions. Bestow upon them Your peace for the difficulties of today, Your power to make the right decision, and Your compassion to love and lead Your people. Fill them with Your holy presence as they follow You. Protect and provide for their families as they are here in Austin doing Your will, I ask this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.
House: Offered by Dr. Ben Smith, pastor, Lakeland Baptist Church, Lewisville (277 words)
Almighty God “who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth” (Isaiah 51:13). Release us from our image of you laden with human abilities and limitations. Expand our vision to capture the true perspective of who you are.
God, you hung the stars in space, fashioned the earth’s towering mountains and mighty oceans, and determined the destiny of nations, “Nothing is too difficult for you” (Jeremiah 32:17). You know when a sparrow falls to the ground. You are the Lord of the infinite and the infinitesimal. “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales” (Isaiah 40:15, 17).
You are familiar with all our ways. Lord, you are involved in our lives that you reassure us, “The very hairs on your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30). You are the one who knows us best and loves us most. You are the owner. You control every circumstance, and you have promised to meet our needs. What we possess, O God, you own. You are the sovereign, living God who controls all events.
Bless the legislators of this session. Give them patience, wisdom, and courage. Give those who labor under the burden of education reform unusual insight into the problem. Give each one wisdom to protect the sanctity of life and marriage. Grant understanding of the technologies that both challenge us and threaten us. Give this legislature the boldness to protect all children while guarding the civil liberties of everyone. Grant health, peace, and fulfillment to those who serve us all in this chamber. Bless every thought and action to your glory. Amen.
Senate: Offered by The Reverend Tate Kesner, Trust the Truth Ministry, Lewisville (257 words)
Our Father in heaven, we come to You through Your son Jesus Christ. Father, through Your word, given to us to live our lives in accordance with Your will, and through this word You provided all the guidance for man to govern over himself. By these governing principles Your word has provided the mandates and guidelines for our ruling government, whether at the city, county, state, or federal level, it was Your word, Your divine guidance, and Your heaven-sent influence that developed our governing bodies from the start.
Father, I pray that our government will follow Your divine word as they continue to be our leaders and lawmakers. For as Your word says in Psalms 118:8, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” So, Father, I pray that as we put our confidence in our leaders, that they will put their confidence in You, and that You will guide their decisions to conform to Your will, Father.
Father, the State of Texas has always been respected as a leader, unafraid to go it alone if necessary, so, Father, let everyone see that You are still in the hearts of our government as well as in the hearts of all Texans. And as we are the shining lone star of Texas, we will be a shining example of You and for You. So, Father, please bless Texas, bless our leaders and lawmakers and the citizens of Texas, as we all bless You. In Your son Jesus Christ’s name we pray. Amen.