Today I opened the Maine State Senate in prayer. It was a great experience. I am grateful for the opportunity and want to share with you the text of my prayer as read this morning and recorded in official minutes. Oh, that this prayer would be answered!
State Senate Opening Prayer
March 25, 2014
Rev. Larry J. Lakey
Good morning and thank you for the invitation and privilege to open today’s session. I respectfully ask that you would stand and join me in prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the religious liberty that has been secured in our nation as a basic human freedom. Please bless this Senate for recognizing and exercising this liberty today. May human freedom flourish as this practice of prayer is continued.
Our thoughts are first with those who are suffering today. Please be with those who are grieving following tragedy. Bring comfort to those in need today.
We confess that our nation has been deeply divided. Discourse in the civic arena is often angry and contentious. Trust in elected officials is low. We no longer assume the best of each other or portray each other in the best way possible. This same division is visible at times in the political discourse of our own state. Forgive us for this. Help these elected representatives to lead the way forward and out of bitter division. Let their respect for each other and collegial manner set an example for others.
Please give them patience to listen. Help each member of this assembly to realize that no one person or one party has all the answers to the important questions, or solutions for the difficult problems that we face. Only you, Father, see all and know all. By your grace, give them insight and understanding.
Please give them honesty to speak truth to each other and to the world. Protect them from the temptation to oversimplify or exaggerate or tell only part of the story. Only you, Father, dwell in perfect truth. Help them to see, to know, and to speak the truth.
Please give them the unity to act. Help them to find common ground today where there seemed to be none before. Bless them with creative solutions. Only you, Father, can do the impossible. Help them to know which steps of action to take and how to build a necessary consensus to do good.
Please give them humility to serve. Remind them of their place in your grand scheme. Protect each from thinking too highly of herself or himself. Only you, Father, have demonstrated perfect humility in the Gospel. Help their actions to benefit those whom they serve in these elected offices.
May today, gracious Father, be a day of great accomplishment. No authority exists that has not been granted by you. Throughout history, not all have been good stewards of this authority. Help this assembly, help each member here today, to faithfully administer this stewardship for the common good, and for the prosperity of every citizen in the Great State of Maine.
I pray this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
Thank you and may God bless you in every way.
Tell me what you think: If you had the chance to open a government assembly in prayer, how would you pray?
At our Annual Membership Meeting last month, I announced to the church that we were “shifting into idle” for a few months in order to rethink our ministry vision – a glimpse of the future that God wills and only God can provide. I also affirmed the existence of a vision team to help with this project, but admittedly gave very few details. In case you had more questions (including why I gave such few details)
Who is on the team?
The team consists of the paid staff, a few Church Council members, and a few ministry leaders. The team is fewer than twelve people and a mix of gender, age, length of time at WBC, and background. Of course, each has shown a high degree of commitment to this church’s ministry.
Why aren’t team members publicly identified?
I don’t want to provide a temptation to approve or disapprove of who is on the team. The decision of who should be on the team was appropriate for the Church Council to make, and not the entire membership. Your church leadership is worthy of your trust.
What do they do?
We are working through a process called “Church Unique,” which is the best resource available to help churches discover their unique identities in God’s Kingdom. We meet every few weeks to share and synthesize work we’ve completed individually, specifically sharing answers to some very important questions.
When will the team’s work be made public?
I anticipate being able to share the exciting results in early 2012. This process takes a minimum of six months to complete, enabling the work to be shaped by the rhythm of church life and undergirded by prayer. Patiently waiting on the Lord is critical for listening to His direction. We won’t be giving public updates during the process as this would likely create confusion.
What if I don’t like the result?
I wholeheartedly believe that if you join us in praying for God to reveal His will, you’ll like the result! We aren’t seeking to manufacture anything, but rather to better understand what God has been actively doing and what He is calling us to do. If we all seek the mind of Christ together, we’ll find tremendous unity to carry out the ministry He gives us.
What other questions do you have? Please continue the conversation below…