Dr. Harder delivered the invocation for the first joint session of the 57th Oklahoma Legislature on January 8, 2019 in Oklahoma City.
As we pause in this moment, filled with anticipation for all that lies before us, specifically before these elected leaders and the work they will do on behalf of the State of Oklahoma, I ask that you would quiet their minds, still their hearts, and let them count the cost of what will be required of them each day over the next four and half to five months. Let them be both inspired with the convictions that led them to seek their office, but also make them aware of their own limitations and needs.
The book of Proverbs goes to great lengths to teach us that no one person has it all figured out, that all of us, even the best of us, still see only partly what is good, true, and right. That we need one another. These leaders will need each other’s perspective, knowledge and wisdom. They will need each other’s strength at times, and mostly, they will need each other’s grace.
Most of all, they will need something that no person can give them. Our nation was founded upon the belief that even in the greatest of human endeavors, humanity depends upon a sovereign and holy God, for wisdom and protection, for grace and mercy, and for justice and good government.
So it is my humble honor to invoke God’s blessing, and His presence, and His strength upon each member of the Oklahoma legislature. For their families and homes. For the work they will do together.
God, you have led me to pray from this well time before and I know you will do so again, to confess that Oklahoma’s leaders are chosen servants. Democratically chosen, but also sovereignly chosen by you. These are the individuals you have called forth to step out of their districts and into these chambers, to reason together and lead our state.
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, he reminds the Christians gathered there to be subject to the governing authorities over them – because they are instruments of God. The government is not the same thing as the Church, but the Bible still calls those who lead in government, servants of God. So Lord, let us be obedient to the Scripture that commands Christians, and I invite all people of prayer to join us in this spirit of intercession:
For each one – may their time in office be marked less by political wins or legislative accomplishments and marked more by an encounter with the divine God of the universe, marked by a deeper understanding of their role as a public servant with greater reverence for things that are on the Heart of God – peace, joy, patience, kindness, self-control, preferring the good of others before themselves, justice and mercy, ministry to the marginalized, visiting the widow and orphan in their affliction. With such wisdom, they will lead us well.
In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen.