Prayer for A Political Convention

From the Executive Director

On Friday, May 6, I had the honor and privilege of being asked to offer the opening invocation for the Maine state Democratic Convention at the Cross Arena in Portland. Because the Maine Council of Churches neither opposes nor supports political candidates, I felt it was important to offer a prayer that was non-partisan and that could have been delivered just as comfortably at the Republican convention. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s wise words served as my guideposts as I wrote and delivered this prayer. He said, “The church … is not the master or servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.” In that spirit, here is what I prayed:

Because we gather in a nation that welcomes people of all faiths (and of no faith), I invite you to personalize this prayer in your heart, according to your own tradition and beliefs. I respect and honor those who pray in ways other than mine, even as I claim my own tradition of prayer in the name of Jesus of Nazareth who gave his life in the struggle against forces of injustice. Let us quiet our hearts in a spirit of prayer…

IMG_0429 Gracious God, guide the work of those assembled here tonight as they bring the institutions of our democracy to life. Grant them wisdom. Grant them courage. Grant them a moral imagination that creates a capacity for civility and the grace to disagree without disrespect as they work vigorously for the well-being of our country, the land that we love.

Even as we ask for these gifts from you, Lord, we pause to acknowledge our human tendencies toward fear, hatred, blame and division… and we ask for your forgiveness. Help us to challenge those who incite fear and hatred. Transform us into people who are informed, respectful, and known for our principles and ideals, so that our children can be proud of the way we speak and lead and govern this great nation.

Bless the candidates of this party, O God, and bless the candidates of their opponents’ party, that all who seek to lead our government will have an unwavering commitment to care for the weak and vulnerable, those who are sick, hungry or homeless; to advocate for the poor and the powerless, those who are imprisoned, those who are neglected or forgotten. We pray that the candidates—and that we—will have a wideness of heart to care for all victims of racism and discrimination, to welcome immigrants, to speak for the voiceless.

Grant all of us the moral stamina of spirit and integrity of purpose to prevail over cynicism and selfishness, so that, with courage and compassion, we can affirm and uphold the common good, and love our neighbors as we love our selves.

If anyone here tonight has come to this convention world-weary or beset by doubts and fears about the future, nourish within them the hope they need to believe that our work does matter in the struggle to realize our society’s highest ideals, as together we seek justice, love mercy and walk with humility.

God of gentleness and justice, as we enter into this election process, we pray in the spirit of St. Francis, that you would make us instruments of your peace, sowing seeds of merciful love and fierce hope. May we be servants of your holy, creative will, always and ever mindful that you bless us, in order that we might be a blessing to the world.

May it be so. Amen.