This afternoon, I offered the opening prayer at the start of the legislative session for the Arkansas State Senate at the Capitol. Several weeks ago I was asked to do so by Arkansas State Senator Joyce Elliot (D), a member of the Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas and current Majority Whip. It was an honor to be introduced by Senator Elliot as one who left a "cushy" job to establish a church for all people, in an impoverished area of the city of Little Rock, and as one not content to build bridges to the community, but to become the community; as one seeking to right the concern of Dr. Martin Luther King that eleven o'clock on Sunday morning is the most segrgeated hour of the week.
Here's, then, is what I prayed today for our state's leaders:
"God in heaven, sovereign Lord and Spirit, Creator of all things, and of every nation, tribe, people and tongue upon the earth, we bless you this day.
"On behalf of these chosen men and women of the senate, your servants and ours, I humbly request Your divine guidance and wisdom this day as they seek to lead the people of the Great State of Arkansas according to Your will, and the will of the people: toward prosperity and out of poverty; from sickness into health; from injustice, to justice; illiteracy to education; from homelessness to housing; from joblessness to employment; from racism to gracism; and from the life we know to a better one in and through which all people in this state are blessed.
"We thank you for your past favor upon our state, your present favor in the midst of hard times and pray that soon in the future, these conditions will end with the hope of full recovery and the promise of provision. As they serve, may they not so much look out for their own interests, but also for the interests of others; and like Solomon of old, discern wisely.
"With these things in mind, I pray 'The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.' Amen."