Faith leaders across the ideological spectrum are asking Americans to pray for civility in the new Congress in the United States to empower the political leaders to come together in a spirit of collegiality and address the some of mounting challenges facing America.
At least 100 faith leaders from the right, left, and center, have signed a pledge to pray for Congress from Jan. 3, 2013 to Jan. 2013, the period from the swearing-in of new Members of Congress to the second Inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Christian signers of the "18 Days of Prayer for the Nation" include: Kathryn Lohre, President Of The National Council of Churches; The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church; Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptists' Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; and Richard Cizik, President of New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.
Eboo Patel, a Muslim American who founded Interfaith Youth Core, and Rabbi Steve Gutow, president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, were also among the list of faith leaders promising to pray for members of the new Congress to lead with courage and work together toward the common good.
The call to prayer, posted on The Faith & Politics Institute website, states: "We are praying for leadership based on courage, conscience and compassion, which is one of the most important spiritual and civic tasks of the new Congress. Join the prayers to empower those working in Congress to come together across political, racial and religious divides to address the big challenges facing our nation, including our fiscal health and federal budget."
Signers of the pledge are praying that the new Congress: respects each other; works together; cultivates humility; leads with courage, conscience and compassion; moves our nation toward a more perfect union; and prays for each other.
Rev. Schori wrote her prayer on the website: "O Lord our Governor, bless the leaders of our land, that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth. "
She continued: "To the President and members of the Cabinet, to Governors of States, Mayors of Cities, and to all in administrative authority, grant wisdom and grace in the exercise of their duties. To Senators and Representatives, and those who make our laws in States, Cities, and Towns, give courage, wisdom, and foresight to provide for the needs of all our people, and to fulfill our obligations in the community of nations. To the Judges and officers of our Courts give understanding and integrity, that human rights may be safeguarded and justice served. "
Cizik's prayed: "Lord, help us to see ourselves as others see us!"
"Through daily prayer, we are calling on the 'better angels of our nature' needed to sustain our nation and solve problems," said the Rev. Peg Chemberlin, immediate past president of the National Council of Churches, who is also participating in the prayer event.