How prayers set the stage when Florida lawmakers are in session

By: - December 12, 2022 4:47 pm

State Sen. Shevrin Jones. Credit: Florida Channel.

On the first day of a special session on property insurance reforms and other issues, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo took a few minutes to ask Senate colleagues to send prayers: A state senator’s spouse was undergoing heart surgery Monday.

Following those prayers, State Sen. Shevrin, of Miami-Dade, whose religious affiliation is listed as Christian (non-denominational), was chosen to do the traditional opening prayer that day in the Senate chamber.

That prayer was an expansive showing of a kaleidoscope of world religions.

Shevrin said, in part:

“Oh God, there are different people representing in this room and watching today. Some are Christians, some are Jews, some are Muslim, some are Buddhist.

“And some believe in just being good and doing good. Where religion is represented today on the sound of my voice, I ask that this prayer touch the hearts of all represented.”

On the state House side, the opening prayer did not touch on various and specific religions. And it was shorter than Jones’ prayer in the Senate.

State Rep. Chase Tramont. Florida Channel.

State Rep. Chase Tramont, who represents parts of Brevard and Volusia, was chosen to do the opening prayer in the state House for the special session this week.

In his campaign website for the November election, Tramont was described as an ordained minister who has served as a pastor for several years.

In another website, on homeless programs, Tramont’s bio material said “he spent his twenties as a pastor and motivational speaker, mentoring and ministering to students and parents across the Southeast in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Texas.”

Tramont’s prayer focused on the suffering across Florida:

“Right now, there are millions of families that are suffering right now. They are not asking, they’re praying for relief,” Tramont said.

Here are both of the prayers, in full.

Shevrin Jones

Let’s bow.

Dear God.

Thank you for this day. we thank you for this opportunity.

Oh God, there are different people representing in this room and watching today.

Some are Christians, some are Jews, some are Muslim, some are Buddhist. And some believe in just being good and doing good.

Where religion is represented today on the sound of my voice, I ask that this prayer touch the hearts of all represented.

We thank you for life. We thank you for health and We thank you for strength.

Lord, we don’t take it for granted that we are here. We call it an honor and a privilege.

So allow us not to take advantage of misuse this armor to lead your people.

I pray for every family represented here today. Every spouse. Every child. Every grandchild.

Lord, everyone in this room is dealing with something personally. And no, we may not know. But we know you do.

So I ask that you touch every private battle. Give peace.

Give clarity. Allow minds to rest, because you have it all in your hands and we must trust that you will take care of it. I ask that you guide our minds that we make think clearly strategically not what’s best for ourselves but was best for the people we serve.

I ask that you guide our ears that we may be listen more than we speak.

I ask that you touch our hands that they will be used to build up and not tear down.

I ask that you touch our hearts, that we may open them up to be compassionate and sensitive to others.

Lastly, I pray for the leaders of this state.

I pray for Governor (Ron) DeSantis, (Senate) president (Kathleen) Passidomo and (House) Speaker (Paul) Brenner, and (Democratic) Leader (Lauren) Book that you would give them wisdom and clarity.

Now, as we open the special session, to prepare for the weeks ahead. Give us strength for the journey. The word tells us in Galations 6:9 to not get weary in doing good for in due season we will reap a harvest of blessing. As long as we don’t give up.

Allow us not to grow weary. Allow us to stand firm and strong. These things and many other things. We ask in your name.

Amen.

Chase Tramont

“Please join with me.

“Father God, we love you so much, we thank you for this opportunity. First and foremost, we thank you that we live in a great county and a state in which we don’t have to check our faith when we enter these walls.

“Lord, I pray for our families as we are away have your protection and blessing while we are not there to protect them; we leave that to you.

“And Lord, now, we pray for wisdom and guidance throughout this session here. Lord, as my brother, Doug, reminded us a few months ago, that we in this body here, this room, are the answer to millions of people’s prayers.

“Right now, there are millions of families that are suffering right now. They are not asking, they’re praying for relief. So, with that responsibility on our shoulders, I pray that we remember to get out of own way and seek your guidance and your wisdom to do what is good and just. Because, Lord, you are good, you are just. And so, Lord, we are seeking your response and your will for our lives day in and day out, and particularly throughout this week.

“And I pray this in your holy and precious name.”

“Amen.”

Phoenix deputy editor Michael Moline contributed to this report.

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Diane Rado
Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.

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