On Thursday, April 25, the NC House of Representatives opened session with a prayer from Rep. Ray Russell:
Gracious God, we give You thanks for giving us another day.
Send us Your spirit. Enlighten the hearts of those who are faithful and tireless in securing equal justice under the law. Fulfill the hopes of those who long for peace and security for their children. Guide and protect all elected officials and all who choose to serve this Nation, this State, and local communities through public service.
May Your will be done in and through those who pray for divine guidance and who trust in Your providence, even in the midst of conflicting opinions, philosophical differences, and the threat of violence.
Unite Your people and keep them focused on essentials that reflect Your kingdom. May the fires of Your love, and human freedom, renew the face of the Earth.
And may all that is done this day be for Your greater honor and glory. In Jesus’s holy name, we pray. Amen.
The prayer was adapted from one by the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, a Jesuit priest, and was also used in the Florida House the same day. For more information on prayers by the Rev. Conroy and the history of prayer in the US House of Representatives, visit https://chaplain.house.gov/archive/index.html?id=2883
Rep. Russell is a former minister and has a degree in Bible from Freed-Hardeman College in Tennessee. He is currently a computer science professor, business owner, and first-term lawmaker representing Ashe and Watauga counties.
Prayer from all religions and denominations is offered at the beginning of session in the NC House and Senate. Lawmakers may give the prayer themselves or invite a religious figure to perform the prayer.