Elder Christofferson Offers Prayer in U.S. Senate

Contributed By MormonNewsroom.org

  • 7 December 2016

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offered the morning prayer in the United States Senate December 7. Customarily every Senate session begins with prayer, dating back to the Senate’s beginnings in the late 1700s. Usually the Senate chaplain offers the prayer, but Congress often invites guest chaplains from various faiths to pray.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson offers the prayer at the U.S. Senate.

Elder Christofferson prayed for the members of the Senate to use wisdom in all matters they deal with. He asked God to “honor their desire to contribute to the well-being of the people of this nation, and indeed those of all nations who may be influenced for good by their decisions.”

He also acknowledged the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, noting that “[we] remember with soberness and humility the sacrifice of so many who have offered their lives to preserve our liberty. We pray that Thou wilt bless their descendants and sustain the vital institutions of our government that this precious liberty may be preserved through the generations to come.”

The tradition of prayer in the U.S. Senate goes back to Benjamin Franklin’s 1787 recommendation to the Continental Congress that because “God Governs in the affairs of men” there ought to be “prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings 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.” 

Various other Church leaders have also prayed in the Senate. Apostle Reed Smoot prayed seeking guidance at the declaration of World War I. President George Albert Smith offered the morning prayer on May 20, 1947, as did President Spencer W. Kimball on September 11, 1974. The following day, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley offered the prayer in the U.S. House of Representatives.