Thank you, Gov. Dewhurst. It's wonderful to be here this morning seeing everyone wearing their faith proudly in service to your fellow Texans.
As always, this is a joyous event bringing together elected officials who share the knowledge that true power does not originate on Earth, it emanates from God.
We all share an understanding of the power of prayer.
Prayer is an important part of every believer's day; the key ingredient to developing a personal relationship with the Almighty.
Prayer is a direct connection to a majestic power we cannot hope to fully grasp or understand, yet it's a source of strength that feeds our souls when we're exhausted and a steady presence that brings us love and comfort when we need it most.
Prayer is the continuation of a conversation that started long before any of us were born and will carry on long after our days are done.
Of course, all too often we only hear our end of the conversation; our wants, our needs and the challenge remains to set aside our own earthly concerns and hear the voice of truth His voice.
The voice that lights the way.
As the Book of Matthew tells us, "Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you, as well." [Chapter 6, Verse 33]
That's a vivid reminder that the pursuit of righteousness begins with God and pretty much ends there, as well.
I know we can get lost in the heat of our Earthly struggles, distracted by partisanship, eager to prove who's right and who's wrong and occasionally keeping score.
Indeed, it's not always easy to live up to the spirit of the 133rd Psalm:
How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!
Sometimes we're better at that than others.
When we're losing our path, remember to go back to the beginning. "Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness."
It's by returning to the Almighty by opening our minds and our hearts, by raising our voices up in prayer and then listening only then can we return to the righteous path.
Bottom line, prayer is powerful but it doesn't grant everyone's wishes, certainly not always the way we expect, or even would choose.
The power of prayer isn't about granting wishes.
Prayer makes its true mark within us making us more holy bringing us closer to the Divine, enabling us to live deeper, more meaningful lives as well as preparing us for what comes after.
Prayer isn't a means to an end, it's a way of life.
As Paul wrote in his first letter to the Thessalonians : "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
The challenges we face every day demonstrate our own fallibility, how powerless we truly are compared to God's glory.
They are reminders of how much we need His strength and His guidance to accomplish anything worth doing.
Over the next few months I pray that God will give us all the ability to be worthy and wise stewards of our state.
I pray that His guidance will be upon us as we work together, no matter our ideology or our party affiliation, to improve the lives of Texans from all across our great state.
I pray that we retain our sense of humility and remember that we serve the people of Texas, and not the other way around.
More than anything, though, I pray that I can retain the gratitude to God who has blessed me so abundantly with a family that has loved and sustained me, and given me the opportunity to serve the people of the greatest state in the country.
I am also grateful for your prayers through the years and in the years yet to come.
Thank you all, again, for being here. Thank you for your prayers and for heeding the call to follow Him.
May God bless you and, through you, may He continue to bless the great state of Texas.