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“The Lord’s Prayer with Variations,” a civic prayer for opening a legislative session by Rabbi Dr. Edward B.M. Browne (14 February 1871)


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Our Father who art in heaven,
on earth, and all over the universe;
hallowed by Thy name;
Thy kingdom come
with the dawn of creation;
and being established upon principles
universal and everlasting,
its laws enforce themselves with equal force
in all climes and in all generations.
Wherefore Thy will
must be done in heaven,
among the celestials,
even as it is among
the mortal sons of men on earth.
Thou hast made us the rulers
of this mundane world,
constraining nature’s subservience
to our will, and by those means
thou kindly givest us our daily bread,
while on the other hand,
the imparting of thy divine spirit
guides us in the enactment of laws
to secure our social happiness,
and deliver us from all evil.
For the performance of that
sacred and high privilege,
we are assembled before thee
in this Sinai of our sovereign State.
And as once the son of Amrom
upon the smoke-enveloped peak of Horeb
proclaimed humanity and justice
to the constitutents of thy then chosen people,
summoning down the lightnings from their native heavens,
even so each of thy sons present is standing here
in the capacity of a Moses,
and may be thy will to imbue their minds
with the flashes of thy wisdom,
and grant them the visitations of thy divine spirit,
so that while representing the will of the people,
they may equally represent the will of thee
who art our Father and Lord.

This is a civic prayer for opening a legislative session that was re-published in The Republican Banner (Nashville, Tennessee) on 22 December 1872 under the title, “A New Version: The Lord’s Prayer with Variation.” The article introduces the prayer as follows: “The following prayer, rendered by the editor of The Jewish Independent of Louisville, at the opening of the Wisconsin Senate, February 15, 1872, appears in the Independent of last week.” The Jewish Independent was the paper of Rabbi Dr. Edward B.M. Browne (a/k/a Alphabet Browne). The year 1872 was likely mistaken for 1871, when according to the Journal of the Proceedings of the Wisconsin State Senate, Rabbi Browne offered the opening prayer on 14 February. The Wisconsin Senate opened its 1871 session with a resolution to inviting resident clergy to offer a prayer on each morning session. That was soon followed by an amendment requiring the guest chaplains to read the Lord’s Prayer. While that amendment failed, it likely inspired this prayer. (The following year, 1872, the option of inviting guest chaplains was rejected altogether, and the Wisconsin Senate voted for the President of the Senate, a Senator Irish, to offer the opening prayer instead.) Twenty-three years later, when invited to offer a prayer before the US Senate, Rabbi Browne delivered a prayer described by the Senate chaplain as “very unique, being the Lord’s Prayer with variations” (in “[Rabbi Browne, pastor of Temple Gates of Hope]” National Republican, 21 May 1884, p. 6). –Aharon Varady


A New Version- The Lord’s Prayer with Variations (Republican Banner, 22 December 1872)

“[Rabbi Browne, pastor of Temple Gates of Hope]” (National Republican 21 May 1884), p. 6




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