The Backstory to the U. S. House Prayer:

Congressman Doug Collins of the 9th District was gracious to invite me to open Congress in prayer on March 22, 2017.  I shall always be indebted to Congressman Collins for his confidence and support in inviting me.  I can not express enough how professional and gracious Congressman Collins’ staff was in handling all the details. Each one of the Congressman’s staff is so talented and gifted; just meeting them was an added joy to the the whole experience.

Once I cleared the date and accepted the opportunity the House Chaplain’s office began corresponding with me about working out the details. Karen Bronson, Chaplain’s Liaison to Staff, was extremely professional.

A couple of interesting “rules” included no opening comments before my prayer and the request to keep the prayer to 150 words.   The first was no problem; however, the second was more difficult….I asked for and received permission to have a total of 167 words for my prayer.

I began reading and researching previous prayers used to open Congress and reviewed prayers from previous Congressional and Senate Chaplains.

Realizing that my prayer would become a matter of Congressional record, I determined that I would leave NO DOUBT as to Whom I was praying  and what I was requesting.

I divided my prayer into 2 segments–Part One: To Whom I was Praying and Part Two:  What I was asking.

Upon arrival to the Longworth House Office Building,  Terri and I and our dear friends Mike and Jane Weaver, who accompanied us to D. C. , met in Congressman Collin’s office and visited with his tremendous staff.  Final instructions were offered. The Four of us were escorted via underground to the Capital.

Prior to offering the prayer I was given a walk through in the House Chamber and was directed where to stand before and during the prayer and how to exit.

Terri , Jane and Mike were escorted to the gallery.

Right before I entered the House Chamber, Speaker Ryan came to the receiving room. He welcomed me and we visited for a few minutes.  I followed him to the House Chamber, he called the session to order, introduced me and I prayed.

Following the prayer Congressman Collins gave a warm and welcoming introduction of me to his colleagues from the Floor of The House.

Our day concluded with lunch in the Congressional dining room and a tour of the Capital. ( The  U.S. House white bean soup and cornbread are both as good as you have heard AND the fried chicken was exceptional.)

Here is the text of my Congressional Prayer, March 22, 2017:

In the Name that is Above Every Name,

In the Name of the One by whom all things were created and by whom all things created are sustained,

In the Name of the One who was crucified for the sins of all people, raised on the third day and who, upon HIS return, EVERY knee will bow and every tongue confess is LORD,

In the Name of JESUS, my Savior and my Lord, today, I ask….

 *Draw near unto Thyself the heart of any in this body who still remain far from You.

*Give confidence and courage to all who govern from this House, to be unashamed of the judo-Christian ethic, which has lead this nation to prominence and prosperity above all other nations.

*Remind all who by faith trust You that Your love wants what is best for us, Your wisdom knows what is best for us, and Your power will accomplish what Is best for us.

In Jesus’ Name, And God’s People Said, Amen.


Dr. Tom Smiley is a pastor, author, speaker, blogger, husband, grand dad, and Christ-follower.  He is a regional radio talk show host with WDUN Jacobs Media.  He is the founder of Life with Smiles Ministry.  His Sunday messages are broadcast on WDUN 550, and his “blog” entries and thoughts on God, Christian faith, current events, politics and Islam are available at

His books: Runaway Lives: Overcoming Emotional Undercurrents, Angels all Around, and Uncommon Common Sense can be ordered at his Life with Smiles website (  Dr. Smiley is available for speaking engagements and discussion forums and can be contacted at or by calling 770.532.6307.