Most of you know that my son is a pastor and serves a church plant in nearby Streamwood, Illinois. (I preached there on May 10 and 17. The photo above is of Matt introducing me to his flock to preach.) Matt, his wife Adriana, and their two beautiful girls, Gracie and Abbie, drove to Springfield on Thursday afternoon in order to be in the Illinois House of Representatives for Friday's morning session. Gracie and Abbie served as "pages" for the day while Matthew gave the invocation to the House. Little did any of us know when Matt accepted this invitation that the government of this state would be in such a mess over ethics, budgets and power and that the end of their present session loomed with ominous overtones as they try to settle a number of perils the state now faces. In my forty years in this state I have never seen the legislature in such a conflicted state. Much like California, we face bankruptcy and huge spending issues. Unlike California the voters in Illinois have not put a lid on new taxes and spending. Put simply—things are a political mess in Illinois. Our papers and broadcasts are full of this news daily. Both parties are at fault and both continue to blame the other. This is what made Matt's visit, and his prayer, so significant. I prayerfully hope that some of the men and women in the chamber on Friday actually heard what Matt prayed and that God will truly be sought by leaders in this state. Here is Matt's prayer from Friday:
An Invocation Before the Illinois House: Friday, May 29, 2009
God, our help in ages past, you are our hope for years to come. You know the tremendous challenges before the women and men in this House today. In these times of corruption, deceit and economic crisis, we remember that not a sparrow falls to the ground but that you notice it. You are intimately concerned with all the details of our lives, our families, communities, state, nation and world. You made us, and you set us in relationship with one another. You love us and want the best for us and so we acknowledge you here this morning. We ask that you would reveal yourself in new and fresh ways to each person in this room. May it be that today you will use these women and men to accomplish your purposes for the State of Illinois. May they make laws that are just and fair, which promote honesty and hard work—laws that provide care for the poor and provide opportunity for all.
God, I thank you for each representative here today. They have worked hard and sacrificed much to be here and to represent the people of our state. Please honor them as they honor you. Bless them as they bless the people of Illinois. Be with them and give them great wisdom at a time of great testing. Grant them, we pray, foresight to understand how decisions made today will impact people’s lives for years to come. I believe that you have a plan and a purpose for Illinois that is greater than anything we can imagine. So I ask that this plan would be realized and that you would use these representatives to do so. Be with them today. May they feel your presence encouraging, guiding, supporting, and sustaining them in their important work of crafting laws. May they always act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you. For your glory. Amen.