The Office of the Chaplain United States House of Representatives

Message from the Chaplain
The Reverend Daniel P. Coughlin

Photograph of The Reverend Daniel P. CoughlinTo serve as Chaplain for the U.S. House of Representatives is truly an honor and a privilege. To be both a minister of the Lord and an officer serving the United States government responds to a twofold call to serve others and offer prayer that unites Heaven and Earth.

With 435 Members in the House and their staffs, plus all the other wonderful people who serve here with committee work or in the Chamber, including teenage Pages, my pastoral duties are many and varied. My goal is to meet the needs of this working community on a personal level. The problems that weigh on hearts and the confusion that at times blocks clarity of thinking become my concerns.

The formal prayer before each legislative session of Congress, and even before days of pro forma sessions, casts a light on the day that awakens faith and calls forth a nation to stand with its leaders and affirm: “In God We Trust.” But daily prayer for the Members of the House cannot end there.

I ask people across this great country to join me in praying for the Members of the House of Representatives. Know the Member of your congressional district by name and raise his or her name before God each day with us here in the nation’s capital.

Pray for me, also, that I may be always rooted in prayer and a good instrument for accomplishing God’s holy will here. Only by being free in the Spirit can I serve all the people here, regardless of their faith persuasion or denomination. Only by listening attentively to each person can I offer good counsel, encouragement, and gentle correction.

Thank you for your interest in and support of the Members of the House.

Opening Prayer

Doctor Ivan Raley

Almighty and eternal Father, we humbly come before you in this hallowed place that we might seek your wisdom for the work that you have set before this chosen group of leaders.

Father, many in our country are hurting this morning, many others are confused and fearful of what the future holds; they need the help of this congress.

God, accept this prayer as our confession of total dependence on you. Forgive us where we have fallen short of your best. You know the solution this body of men and women seeks; now may they receive your wisdom, your knowledge and your solution.

May future generations call these now assembled, “The greatest Generation” for like those of the past who rose to the cause of their country, may these also rise to the greatness which you have given to them.

God bless America. We pray in our savior’s name. Amen.

Thought of the Day

“If you want to know what is meant by “God’s will”, this is one way to get a good idea of it. “God’s will” is certainly found in anything that is required of us in order that we may be united with one another in love. …Everything that is demanded of me, in order that I may treat every other person effectively as a human being, “is willed for me by God under the natural law.” …I must learn to share with others their joys, their sufferings, their ideas, their needs, their desires. I must learn to do this not only in the cases of those who are of the same class, the same profession, the same race, the same nation as myself, but when those who suffer belong to other groups, even to groups that are regarded as hostile. If I do this, I obey God. If I refuse to do it, I disobey Him. It is not therefore a matter left open to subjective caprice.”

—Thomas Merton
New Seeds of Contemplation

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