Legislators, you’re in more than just my thoughts

As I write, the New Hampshire House and Senate are 45 minutes away from convening for 2016. Four hundred twenty-four people are up there when there’s a full complement. I’m thinking of all of them this morning – and praying.

If you’re a person of faith in God, I trust you’ll join me. Include everyone up in the State House, including the Governor and Councilors. Uphold them in prayer in good times and bad. They could use it.

So could I. It reminds me to put my trust in the right place. Either God is sovereign or He isn’t. Since He is, I might as well act accordingly, even though I need every reminder I can get once the legislative dust is kicked up.

Do you know your own reps – at least their names? Do they know you? Can you lift them up in prayer by name? Long ago, a nonprofit organization with which I worked had a sort of internal adopt-a-rep program whereby our supporters were asked to pray for a specific representative throughout the session. One of the best things about that program for each participant was the way it put a face on that amorphous entity called the House.

It’s easy to criticize and give up on a legislative body. I’ve done so more than once. It’s harder to write off an individual, especially an individual with whom one has built a relationship.

So for the House and Senate as a whole, and for each representative and senator, I’ll offer these petitions in all humility, knowing that no one is in need of prayer and mercy more than I.¬† Waste of time, you say? I respectfully disagree. Respectful disagreement seems not to be in vogue this week. I never was fashionable.

That they may be dedicated to the good of the people of New Hampshire,
For protection from all harm and violence,
That they might never inflict harm and violence whether intentionally or not,
For the discernment to speak the truth persuasively,
For the ability to extend mercy and forgiveness,
For knowing when to act and when NOT to act,
For the ability to shake off ill will,
For the ability to accept and give constructive criticism,
For the ability to give encouragement,
That they may refuse to ascribe ill will to those who dispute them,
That they may think twice or thrice before hitting “send” on social media,
For persistence in the belief that building a majority for good legislation is possible,
That they may defend the right to life, knowing that without that, defense of other rights sounds like just so much vote-buying,
That they may spend more time listening to local voters than to lobbyists in the hallway (and I say that as someone who has worked as a lobbyist),
In gratitude for their willingness to work for the public interest for $100 a year,
Lord, hear our prayer.

Hardly a comprehensive list of petitions, but you no doubt have your own. Good. The more, the better.

This session is starting in contention and bitterness, not mere disagreement. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, lucky you; you must not be on social media. I prefer to think that things can only get better as the session proceeds.