PRAYERS BEFORE THE CONGRESS

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MORNINGSIDE BAPTIST CHURCH, ATLANTA, GEORGIA
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Rev. James P. Wesberry served in 1949 as Acting Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, James P. Wesberry, LL. D., offered the following prayer:
Almighty and everlasting God, supreme lover of the universe and mighty ruler of the destiny of nations, Thou hast most graciously preserved and prospered us. Thou hast raised up these the leaders of our Nation's safety. We humbly beseech Thee to hear us as we express our gratitude for them and for Thy never- failing goodness and abundant blessings upon our Nation. Make us, we pray Thee, Heavenly Father, in each passing moment of this congressional day, deeply conscious of the guidance of Thy holy hand. Give us an abiding cognizance of our accountability to Thee that Thy will may be done through us. And this we humbly ask in the name of Him who is the desire of all nations. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - THURSDAY, JULY 28, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, James P. Wesberry, LL. D., offered the following prayer:
We give Thee thanks, our Father, for all who serve our Nation and especially for those who share in the work of this great legislative body. Strengthen Thou them as they bear the burdens of the day. Grant Thy tender and gracious care to any who are sick and the comfort and peace of Thy love to those who sorrow. Watch over our loved ones by day and by night. Be Thou the companion of all who travel on errands of business for our Government. Keep and guide the representatives of our country in far-away lands. Refresh those who are on vacation. Lovingly and gratefully we praise Thee for our beloved Chaplain whose Christlike ministry in our midst brings comfort and cheer to our hearts and blessing to our Nation. Let Thy richest benediction rest upon him, upon us, and our Nation today, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 1949 The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, Rev. James P. Wesberry, LL. D., offered the following prayer:
May it please Thee, our Heavenly Father, who art nearer to us than breathing and closer than hands or feet, to unite our thoughts, aspirations, and dreams in doing with all of our might that which pleases Thee most. Forgive us of. our sins. Deliver us from fear and distrust. Lift Thou the burdens from our hearts, soothe the anxieties of our minds, and give us calmness of soul. Teach us that true happiness is found in service to our fellow man and guide us into another week of generous and faithful service for our Nation and for Thee. This we ask in the name of Him who was servant of all and who showed us by His own life that the greatest in God's kingdom is he who serves the most. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TUESDAY - AUGUST 2, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, Rev. James P. Wesberry, LL. D., offered the following prayer:
Merciful Father, Lord of Lords and King of Kings, whose loving kindness is extended to all, look; we humbly pray Thee, with gracious favor, upon all whom Thou has placed in authority in our Government. Grant Thy special blessing upon our President, the Vice President, our Speaker and all the Members of the Congress. If it please Thee, our Father, give to each of them an understanding heart that they may discern between good and evil, governing our Nation according to the laws of Thy kingdom which is from everlasting unto everlasting. Thus, may justice and peace reign throughout our land that we may show to all the nations of the earth, that Thou, 0 Lord, art God alone. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, Rev. James P. Wesberry, LL. D., offered the following prayer:
Thou, 0 Holy Father, hast been our Nation's help in ages past; Thou art her hope for years to come and her shelter from every stormy blast. Through Thine eternal goodness Thou hast laid her foundations of religious and civil liberty. Thou hast given to us a great and goodly heritage of faith, freedom, and heroic sacrifice. It is our humble petition that we may be true to these ideals upon which Thou hast founded and preserved our Nation. May our Nation ever be, as she has been so gloriously in the past, the home of liberty, brotherhood, and justice for all. And to this end we dedicate the opportunities of this day. In the name of Him who came that we, through Him, might have life and have it more abundantly we pray. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, Rev. James P. Wesberry, LL. D., offered the following prayer:
Once again, we come to Thee, gracious Heavenly Father, in behalf of the Nation that we love. May it please Thee to put down and defeat the forces in our land that are godless and destructive in purpose and plan. Put Thou to flight all enemies who would rob us of our God-given and blood-bought rights of freedom and independence. May the Star Spangled Banner, with its stars of light, its bars of white, and its red of our Nation's sacrifice ever be an emblem to the people of our land of that which is sacred and precious to our hearts. Long may the old red, white, and blue flow in triumph over this land of the free and home of the brave. This we ask in the name of Him who laid down His life in sacrificial love that through Him the world might be saved. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - MONDAY, AUGUST 8, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, the Reverend James P. Wesberry, pastor, Morningside Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga., offered the following prayer:
O Thou, great champion of humanity's needs, defender of the poor, and lifter of the fallen, may it please Thee to hear us as we pray this day for the people of our Nation: for those in want and distress, the poor and the needy, the tired and heavy-laden, the enslaved and over-worked; for the unemployed, the underpaid, and the unjustly treated; for all who are bruised, battered, and broken in life's battles; for the lonely in heart and all who mourn over their sins. For these and all others we humbly pray. Grant them, through Thy grace, 0 God, rest for their souls. Open our ears to their cries. Give us, we pray Thee, a generous portion of Thy spirit that we may freely give of ourselves in the emancipation of all who are in need. Hasten Thou the day when strife shall end and love and "fellowship shall reign throughout our social and industrial order. In the name of Him who once worked in a carpenter's shop and is the Saviour of the world. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, the Reverend James P. Wesberry, pastor, Morningside Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga., offered the following prayer: Most merciful and compassionate God, our Father, we lift our hearts to Thee in loving gratitude for the privilege of living and serving in America, beautiful and beloved land of our joy and pride. Teach us anew that our Nation's true greatness is not in material wealth or military might but in the character of her people. We rejoice that ours is a Christian nation. Forgive us all that is un-Christlike in us and brighten every dark place throughout the land. Grant the light of Thy divine guidance to these honored representatives of the people. May they be laborers with Thee in making our Nation greater in soul than in territory and an ever-increased blessing to the nations of the world. In the name of Thine only begotten Son, our Saviour. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - THURSDAY; AUGUST 11, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, the Reverend James P. Wesberry, pastor, Morningside Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga., offered the following prayer: When our souls are wounded by the affairs of the world, we turn in tender love to Thee, almighty and ever-blessed God, for Thy kindness is loving and Thy mercy is great. Thou wilt take our trembling hands in Thine and lead us on our way. We must know that Thou art infinitely long-suffering and eternally patient, for so often we lose patience with ourselves and without such blessed assurance we would be lost and undone. Thou who art the Lord of all of our days, give us, we reverently beseech Thee, wisdom for our responsibilities, vision for our times, faith for the demands that are made upon us, constancy like the Master's, love that is greater than knowledge, and peace which passeth all understanding: This prayer we offer not for our own selfish glory but that we might more effectively serve our Nation and glorify . Thy holy name. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FRIDAY - AUGUST 12, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, the Reverend James P. Wesberry, pastor, Morningside Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga., offered the following prayer:
O Thou who hast made of one blood all the nations that dwell upon the earth, deliver us, we entreat Thee, from intolerance, selfishness, and unkindness . Make us friendly with those with whom we do not always agree and who do not always agree with us. Give us magnanimity of soul that transcends all barriers of race, color, and creed. As we would that men should do unto us, may we likewise do unto them. Imbue us, Holy Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, with the spirit of Christ who taught us to love our enemies, to bless them that curse us, to do good to them that hate us, and to pray for them which despitefully use us and persecute us, that we may be the children of our Father which is in heaven, for Thou makest the sun to shine on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. In our blessed Saviour's name. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - MONDAY, AUGUST 15, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, the Reverend James P. Wesberry, pastor, Morningside Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga., offered the following prayer:
O God, whose love is from everlasting unto everlasting, on the threshold of another busy week in our Nation's Capital, we approach Thy throne of grace deeply and painfully conscious of our responsibilities. In an upset and turbulent world, we pause to attune our souls to the will of the Infinite, that we may not spend our energies in vain but dedicate them to the highest good and best interest of our great commonwealth. O Thou Master Musician of the universe dispel, we earnestly pray, all the discordant notes that would hinder our greatest usefulness, and bring forth out of our lives the grand and beautiful notes of unselfish service, unswerving patriotism, and true statesmanship. We ask this for the sake of Him of whom the ancient prophet rightfully said, "The government shall be upon His shoulder." Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - TUESDAY, AUGUST 16, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, the Reverend James P. Wesberry, offered the following prayer:
O Thou Maker and Master of our lives, incline Thine ear unto us, we humbly beseech Thee, as we thank Thee for the noble leaders in this great legislative body who have the love of God and the daring of Thy kingdom in their hearts. We would thank Thee for those who serve with no thought of self, who rather give than receive, who toil without rest and fight without heeding the wounds. For those who know right from wrong and have courage to do right without counting the cost, we thank Thee. Our hearts overflow with thanksgiving for all who sacrificially lay down their lives in the holy warfare for the rights and freedom of the people. Grant to the people of our land, Holy Father, the sweet peace that comes from the realization that our Nation is richly blessed with such a goodly number of righteous and consecrated leaders, who, by day and night, give of their best to lead our country to nobler ideals and higher achievements. In the spirit of Jesus. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, the Reverend James P. Wesberry, pastor, Morningside Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga., offered the following prayer: Everliving God, our Father, whose most glorious attribute is holy love, let Thy love flow into our hearts like a . mighty river, for Thy word teaches us that "love suffereth long and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil," and that "love never faileth." Give us such a love as this that we may love Thee as Thou dost love us, and that we may love our fellow man, at home and around the world, as we love ourselves. Put us in remembrance, loving Father, as we enter the discussions and debates of the day, that though we "speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love," we are "become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal." For this love we pray, in the name of Him who reveals Thy love to us, as nowhere else in all the universe. Through the blood of His cross. Amen.

HOUSE OF. REPRESENTATIVES - THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 1949
The House met at 10 o'clock a. m.
The Acting Chaplain, the Reverend James P. Wesberry, pastor, Morningside Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga., offered the followng prayer: Almighty God, before whom the centuries sob in ceaseless warfare, gladden our hearts once again with the light which shone 'round about Bethlehem and bring us back to the beautiful dream of universal peace about which the angels sang. Calm the storms that beat within our breasts. Speak peace to our disturbed minds and troubled hearts. Guide our decisions that war may be averted and peace preserved. Look with gracious favor upon all who strive for peace. By some miracle of divine grace, may the nations be united in bonds of international friendship. Hasten the day, 0 God of all nations, when men shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, and the kingdoms of earth shall become the kingdom of God. In the name of the Prince of Peace. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, the Reverend James P. Wesberry, pastor, Morningside Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga., offered the following prayer:
O Lord of the storm and the calm, we thank Thee for all who have died for our freedom and for those who, with true patriotism and the valor of our fathers, are ever ready to leap to the defense of our Nation. We are truly grateful for all who served in our armed forces, on land, in the air, and on the sea. But teach us, Holy Father, a better way to peace than through bloodshed. Forgive our individual and national sins, and blot out the causes of war. Bless and guide the United Nations Organization and all who seek to establish unity and concord among nations. Give us faith to believe assuredly that the nation which knows Thee is alone enduringly strong. Lead all nations, great God of peace, to exchange the implements of warfare for the cradle, the cross, and the crown of Jesus, for whose sake we pray. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, the Reverend James P. Wesberry, pastor, Morningside Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga., offered the following prayer: Gracious Father, we unite our prayer today with the prayers of millions of earnest, sincere, God-fearing citizens of our Nation who thank Thee and pray each day for these great and good leaders who serve so faithfully and untiringly. Overshadow each of them, we pray, with Thy loving and providential care. Endow them with health and strength for their bodies. Give them wisdom for the great decisions they must inevitably make. Bless and keep their families. Comfort and heal any of their loved ones who may be sick. When we have served our day and generation, and evening wanes, may it come as the close of a perfect pay, as we hear Thee say: Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a Jew things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. In the name of the Supreme Judge of all mankind. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, the Reverend James P. Wesberry, pastor, Morningside Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga., offered the following prayer:
O Thou who art the life of all that lives, we shudder as multiplied millions of people in war-torn Europe and the bleeding Orient cry to us for world leadership. We dare not accept this challenge without Thy help. Arm us, therefore, Almighty Father, with the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the breastplate of righteousness, for we wrestle against principalities and powers, and rulers of darkness and of wickedness in high places. Through Thy mercy, gracious God, our Nation is blessed beyond measure spiritually and materially. Gladly do we lay this great reservoir of rich treasure, which Thou hast given us, at Thy feet, for the alleviation of suffering and the liberty of the enslaved. For the sake of Him who, though rich, yet for our sake became poor, that we, through His poverty, might become rich. Amen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 1949
The House met at 12 o'clock noon.
The Acting Chaplain, the Reverend James P. Wesberry, pastor, Morningside Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga., offered the following prayer: Our hearts, Lord Jesus, melt as we stand in the shadow of the cross. Thine anguish shames us and Thy pain sets forth the exceeding sinfulness of our sins. By Thy stripes are we healed. As Thou didst suffer and die for us, may we count it a privilege to daily lay our lives upon the altar of sacrificial service for the life of our country. Should the pathway we choose lead us to a cross, and the reward of our labor be a crown of thorns, grant, 0 crucified Saviour, that through the power of Thine atoning death we may ever true and faithful be. Make us compassionate one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another; even as Thou, 0 God, hast forgiven us through the death of Thy Son on the cross. Amen.



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IN 1950 REV. WESBERRY SUCCESSFULLY NOMINATED HIS CLOSE FRIEND CONGRESSMAN BROOKS HAYS OF ARKANSAS AS VICE PRESIDENT OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION
Hays later served in the White House as Religious Counsel to President John F. Kennedy.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - THURSDAY MAY 25, 1950
Mr. PRIEST. Mr. Speaker, I have asked for this time in order to read a telegram addressed to the Speaker of the House, and signed by James P. Wesberry, former Acting Chaplain of the House of
Representatives:
"I had the great honor today of nominating BROOKS HAYS as second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention which is meeting in Chicago with some 10,000 members attending. He was duly elected. This is a great spiritual honor and responsibility. The convention, as you know, represents over 28,000 churches with about 7,000,000 members. His friends in Congress will rejoice. With deep appreciation personally, JAMES P. WESBERRY."
I am sure, Mr. Speaker, all of us appreciate this recognition and honor that has come to our colleague.


Atlanta skyline viewed from Morningside Baptist
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James Pickett Wesberry