LANSING, Mich.— Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, joined dozens of his fellow legislators and Lt. Governor Brian Calley in the rotunda of the state Capitol to announce the formation of the Legislative Prayer Caucus.
The Caucus is the outgrowth of a group of legislators who have been meeting regularly one morning each week for the last 16 months to gather in prayer.
Colbeck addressed the group with the following remarks.
“Every Senate session begins with an invocation by clergy. Today, I would like to provide some historical context behind this tradition. On Thursday, June 28, 1787, Benjamin Franklin delivered a powerful speech to the Constitutional Convention, which was embroiled in a bitter debate over how each state was to be represented in the new government.
“Amidst this turmoil, Benjamin Franklin delivered the following speech:
“‘In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding?…
“‘And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?
“‘I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
“‘We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel: We shall be divided
by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. …
“‘I therefore beg leave to move – that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.’
“This speech was followed by three days of prayer and worship. When the convention reconvened, the delegates had renewed inspiration. The previous turmoil was overcome by a spirit of cooperation. The result of their subsequent deliberations was the birth of our United States Constitution which reins to this day as the supreme law of the land.”