Parliament’s Daily Prayer

The Speaker is surveying MPs on whether the daily parliamentary prayer should be scrapped and/or revised.

I’m not actually a proponent of abolition. I don’t think having a parliamentary prayer undermines NZ being a secular state any more than having God in the National Anthem does. I suspect those MPs who are not believers are not overly worried that they have to amuse themselves for 20 seconds every day as the prayer is said.

However the wording of the prayer should be changed, in my opinion. It currently is:

Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Thy guidance in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we beseech Thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs this House and of our country to the glory of Thy holy name, the maintenance of true religion and justice, the honour of the Queen, and the public welfare, peace and tranquillity of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Changes I would make, in order are:

(1) Removing specific reference to Jesus Christ so it is not just a Christian prayer but a prayer all religious MPs can partake in.

(2) I doubt the Queen regards what happens in Parliament most days as an honour to her, so I’d delete “the honour of the Queen”

(3) Delete reference to needing God’s guidance in all things. I am sure God feels no need to guide people on whether to go to the toilet or not.

(4) Also delete the reference to maintenance of true religion, as that in fact is not the job of Parliament.

So my suggested prayer might be:

Almighty God, guide us in our duties, so that we lay aside all private and personal interests, conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to the benefit of all New Zealanders, ensure the maintenance of justice, and secure the public welfare, peace and tranquillity of New Zealand Amen.

Feel free to submit in comments your own versions of an appropriate prayer suitable for MPs of all religions.

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