We begin each day in the Utah House with a prayer and a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. It is one of my favorite parts of the day. Each morning brings a prayer representing a different faith community in our state at the invitation of one of the Representatives and I truly feel the power and blessings of the almighty called down on us through these heartfelt prayers. I’ve included below three of my favorite prayers from this session, as well as some heartfelt prayers from former US Presidents through the years. The wonderful thing about these prayers, across faiths and centuries, is the consistency of pleas for compassion, wisdom, peace, and humility. May we join the fervent prayer of George Washington, who as President asked God to “impart all the blessings we possess, or ask for ourselves to the whole family of mankind.”
Prayer given in the Utah House of Representatives, 2017, by Imam Shuaib Uddin, Utah Islamic Center
O Lord of the Universe, Our Creator, and Creator of All, save us all from words which hurt, bless us with hearts that touch.
O God, O Allah, Oh Yahweh, grant us the wisdom to learn from the wisdom you blessed upon all your prophets.
O Lord, Our Creator, Our Maker, Sustainer of all. Please give us compassion and mutual understanding so we may live in peace and with justice. Please help us and give us strength for justice. Give us the strength to work for the good of all humanity and against what is harmful to all of us.
O Lord, let our children learn from our errors to establish a just, and peaceful world for all.
O God, guide our leaders to make fair and just decisions.
O Allah, protect us from hate and intolerance.
Among those who are just, good, and beautiful.
O God, O Allah, O Yahweh, help us raise children who will be better than ourselves. Protect us from violence, from fear, from danger. Nourish our minds and our hearts from examples from the prophets.
O God of Abraham, and God of Moses, and God of Jesus, and God of Mohammed, be upon all of them. Accept our humble prayers, Amen.
Prayer given in the Utah House of Representatives, 2017, by Robert Geyer, Lead pastor at Crossroads Christian Fellowship
Heavenly father, I come to you this morning, one of your names is Abba—father—so, Dad this morning I ask you to come and I ask you to bless these incredible men and women who represent us so well. In 2017 I ask you to come let your favor, let your anointing, let your presence, be upon every single one. That in 2017 we wouldn’t just hear one another we would see one another. So I ask for your blessing, ask for your protection, ask for your guidance, ask to give them wisdom beyond their wildest of imagination; that 2017 would be a jubilee year for all of us. I ask you to bless them, I ask you to protect them, I ask you to look after and care for their families and they sacrifice so much for us. But we thank you for the privilege as we launch into 2017. Would you guide us, would you lead us, would you empower us to be everything you called us to be. Help us represent one another well. In your precious, precious name, amen.
Prayer given in the Utah House of Representatives, 2017, by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Our Father in Heaven, Father of us all, we come before thee at the beginning of this important session of the House of Representatives for the state of Utah. We thank thee, Heavenly Father, for the freedom of this land and for the inspired constitutions that have been established throughout its various states. We thank thee for the privilege of self-government that is working so effectively in this chamber and in our national government. We thank thee for those who have made themselves available for public service. We pray for their families and for their occupations which they have left to perform this service. Wilt thou look over them and bless them in all of their needs. We pray for the officers who serve in this House of Representatives and for the staff that serve them and ask thou to bless them in all of their activities. We pray that they will enjoy safety and good health as they perform their duties. We pray that thou will bless this House, the members, and the performance of all of their duties that they may always embrace statesmanship over partisanship, and civility over contention, that they may have wisdom, even the wisdom of thy blessing in all of the performance of their duties as they serve the people under this divinely inspired system of government. We give thee thanks for the blessings of peace, prosperity, and the blessings of this land and pray that thou will bless us as we continue to seek to serve thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Prayer given by President Abraham Lincoln –Second Inaugural address, March 4, 1865
Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continues… until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid another drawn with the sword… so still it must be said that the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and for his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Prayer given by President George Washington, –An undated prayer from Washington’s prayer journal, Mount Vernon
O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul….
Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, and direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends, and kindred.
Prayer given by President Thomas Jefferson, Washington, DC, 1801
Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people, the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer given by President Jimmy Carter–Prayers from his inaugural address, January 20, 1977, and his Thanksgiving speech to the nation, November 27, 1980
I would like to have my frequent prayer answered that God let my life be meaningful in the enhancement of His kingdom and that my life might be meaningful in the enhancement of the lives of my fellow human beings.
I call upon all the people of our Nation to give thanks on that day for the blessings Almighty God has bestowed upon us, and to join the fervent prayer of George Washington who as President asked God to “impart all the blessings we possess, or ask for ourselves to the whole family of mankind.”
Prayer given by President George H. W. Bush–Inaugural address, January 20, 1989
My first act as President is a prayer. I ask you to bow your heads.
Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love. Accept our thanks for the peace that yields this day and the shared faith that makes its continuance likely. Make us strong to do Your work, willing to heed and hear Your will, and write on our hearts these words: “Use power to help people.” For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people. Help us to remember it, Lord.
The Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us; so that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways… that all peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.
Prayer given by President Bill Clinton–Second Inaugural address, January 20, 1997
May Those generations whose faces we cannot yet see, whose names we may never know, say of us here that we led our beloved land into a new century with the American Dream alive for all her children; with the American promise of a more perfect union a reality for all her people; with America’s bright flame of freedom spreading throughout all the world. From the height of this place and the summit of this century, let us go forth. May God strengthen our hands for the good work ahead–and always, always, bless our America.