Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Mordecai L. Brill on 28 May 1957

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Date: 2024-05-19

Last Updated: 2024-05-19

Categories: Opening Prayers for Legislative Bodies, United States of America

Tags: 20th century C.E., 58th century A.M., 85th Congress, English vernacular prayer, Prayers of Guest Chaplains, U.S. House of Representatives, תחינות teḥinot

Excerpt: The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 28 May 1957. . . .

Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Mordecai L. Brill, Temple Beth Israel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sponsor: n/a
Date of Prayer: 28 May 1957

Contribute a translation Source (English)
Eternal God,
Thou who hast been with
all the generations of man—
be with us as we strive
to bring closer to fruition
the divine blueprint
which Thou hast given us
in sacred Scripture.
Humbly we would ask Thy guidance
as we approach each day
the ever-growing complexities
of the modern world.
We are humbled and chastened
by the heavy burdens of leadership
which devolve on our shoulders.
We know that the welfare and well-being
of millions
lie within the scope of our work,
and to Thee we turn for guidance.
Thou hast given us
a goodly portion,
a precious heritage.
“Our lines have fallen in pleasant places.” (Psalms 16:6)
Our beloved land is one
of beauty and bounty,
of freedom and plenty.
With grateful hearts
we ask Thy help
in keeping it ever thus.
Guide our deliberations at all times
so that no pettiness of spirit
or selfish interest
mar our endeavors.
Grant us wisdom and understanding
together with constant awareness
of the problems of men and nations.
May our work lead
to the ending of war and hunger
throughout the world,
to the end of strife and misunderstanding
both within and without our borders.
Keep us constantly aware
that we are our brother’s keeper.[1] Find Genesis 4:9-10. 
May the day come speedily
when men will know
bread and freedom,
security and happiness
as their daily portion.
Above all, we would ask Thy help
in replacing complacency with concern,
indifference with dedication
to the cause of freemen everywhere.
As we approach Memorial Day,
may its meaning impress itself
upon our hearts and minds
so that we make our country,
through its elected representatives,
a mighty force for justice
and righteousness
in the assembly of nations
bringing closer the words of the Hebrew prophet,
“Nation will no longer lift up sword against nation,
neither will they learn war any more.” (Micah 4:3, Isaiah 2:4)
And help us to live
in accordance with the words of Thy inspired seer:
“It hath been told thee, O man, what is good
and what the Lord doth require of thee:
To do justice,
to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God.” (Micah 6:8)

This prayer of the guest chaplain was offered in the fifth month of the first session of the 85th US Congress in the House of Representatives, and published in the Congressional Record, vol. 103, part 6 (28 May 1957), page 7889. The prayer was offered immediately before Konrad Adenauer, Chancelor of the Federal Republic of Germany, addressed the House chamber.


Congressional Record, vol. 103, part 6 (28 May 1957), p. 7889



1 Find Genesis 4:9-10.

Contributor: Aharon N. Varady (editing/transcription)


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