The Senate Needs Prayer

Title: The Senate Needs Prayer
Category: Devotion
Subject: Prayer

The Help of God!

Devotion before Georgia Senate
Dr. J. Mike Minnix
[The following is a message delivered by Dr. Minnix to the opening session of the Georgia State Senate meeting in the capitol building in Atlanta, Georgia. The message was given when Dr. Minnix was 48 years of age, in 1993.]

It is a distinct pleasure for me to address you today in this historic Senate Chamber. I want to thank Senator Joe Burton and the Secretary of the Senate for the kind invitation for me to speak and lead you in prayer today. I am honored to be present with Jayne, my sweet wife of 30 years. Speaking before you today makes me feel a little like the boy over in Monroe, Georgia many years ago who fell into a barrel of molasses. He looked up and prayed, "Lord, make my tongue worthy of this occasion!"

I moved to Georgia almost three years ago, but there has always been Georgia blood on both sides of my family. My mother was born in Madison, Georgia, 65 years ago and my late father-in-law was born in Toccoa, Georgia, about seventy-two years ago. I feel like I have a little Georgia mud between my toes and Georgia blood in my veins. But I grew up in North Carolina.

As a boy growing up in North Carolina, I was privileged to have a praying father. He was a lineman for a power company and he often climbed 70' poles all day with a heavy work belt around his waist. He was stronger than any man I knew, not just because he was my father, but because of the hard work he did and the strength it had given him. Yet, my dad would bow down on his knees, with my mother, brother and with me alongside, and pray very softly to the Lord. His prayers were simply, but profound. At times he would rest one of his great arms over my shoulder. I can still remember him praying, "God, help me to be a good daddy to these boys, and a good husband to their mother. I am weak, Lord, but you are strong." It fascinated me to hear my father say that he was weak, because to me he was the strongest person in the world. Now that I am older, I understand. My dad was admitting his need of God. Somehow I knew even then, that if my father needed God I needed Him even more. I wonder how many boys and girls never get to hear their daddy pray like that. I'll tell you one thing, it would change Georgia and America if dads and moms would learn to do that with their children.

One thing I never doubted when my daddy prayed was that he was talking to God. His prayers were not eloquent but they were penetrating. They were personal – they were real.

We must always remind ourselves that when we pray we are addressing our Creator. Prayer, real prayer, is not wishing or hoping, it is conversation with God. One of my favorite stories concerning prayer comes from the life of the late President Lyndon Johnson. At some meeting the President asked Bill Moyers to lead in prayer. Bill, being the quite spoken man that he was, bowed his head and began to speak softly in prayer. President Johnson, who was never known for good manners, interrupted and said, "Bill, speak up! I can't hear you." Bill kindly responded, "Mr. President, I wasn't talking to you." Indeed, talking to God is very important for a family, state or nation, but in the end it is a personal conversation with God.

Our nation was birthed in prayer. When the Continental Congress was meeting and it appeared that the thirteen states could not agree on union, Benjamin Franklin called upon all the delegates to stop for prayer. They knelt in Philadelphia to prayer and history records that union was achieved and America was born within hours after that call for prayer!

President George Washington was a man of prayer. He spent no less than thirty minutes a day in prayer, every day - before and after his election! Heaven knows we need help from above during these days, inside and outside of government. With educational scores declining, economic pressures rising, drug use expanding, home life crumbling, personal integrity failing, serious crime skyrocketing, racial tensions building, we need more help than mere men and women can provide. There is help available!

In Jeremiah 33:3 we find these words, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." I don't mean to say that all we have to do is pray and God will take care of everything. That is not so! Prayer simply allows God to show us the correct way. When we do not pray we have struggle without results. When we do pray we have struggle that leads to success! So we have a choice. We can fail to pray and pay a high price for bread we will never eat. Or, we can pray and pay a high price as well, but with God's help we will eat our bread buttered on both sides!

You are great leaders. People have elected you because they believe in you. But you know you do not have all the answers to the problems in this State. I pastor a church of more than 2,000 members, the great First Baptist Church of Lilburn. We call it THE CHURCH THAT LOVES! I have twenty-five years of experience in pastoral ministry. I have studied in college and seminary to better myself at what I do. But I admit to my church that without the help of God, I cannot lead them correctly. You are smart, intelligent people, but you are not smart enough in yourselves to solve the dilemmas we face. You are committed to what you are doing, but commitment is not enough. Like my dad, your strength is just not enough. May God help you, and me, to pray daily for His direction, His will, His strength, His wisdom, and His help, that we may not fail the generation in which he has given us a place of leadership.

Let us pray.

“Father, I am reminded today of the words of the disciples of Jesus who said to Him one day, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ We come in this great hall of government to ask you to teach us to pray. We don't need as much help knowing how to pray as we need help just knowing how much we need to pray. We know that our words do not impress you, but submissive hearts do impress you.

I thank you that this body opens each session with prayer. I ask, Lord, that this prayer not just be a form or habit, but that it expresses the depth of the need we have to hear from you a word telling us which way to go. Thank you for these Senators and their staffs. Bless them Lord in their sacred duty. Help them to know that they have been called to office as much as any pastor in this state has been called to his church.

Help us all to remember that you said, ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ Assist us, O Lord, that we might be faithful to our sacred trust. Thank you for loving us, even when we do not deserve it and showing it by given your Son to die for our sins at Calvary. In His name I pray, Amen.”