Wednesday morning a unique, and what will be looked back upon as a historic, event took place at Mr. Jefferson's capitol. Citizens from across Virginia witnessed many of their state lawmakers officially form the Virginia Legislative Prayer Caucus. The VLPC is an outgrowth of the Congressional Prayer Caucus in Washington, D.C. founded by Virginia's Fourth District U.S. Representative Randy Forbes. That caucus has been instrumental in bringing legislators together under the common denomination of prayer and devotion to God to guide them in their decision making. Now, members of several state legislatures are forming their own. Virginia's is among the first. Several hundred people joined Governor Bob McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and several senators and delegates to call on the Lord to heal our land and bless the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition to the three statewide officials, speakers included Senator Phillip Puckett (D-38, Tazewell), who led a prayer; caucus co-chairmen Delegate John Cosgrove (R-78, Chesapeake) and Senator Jeff McWaters (R-8, Virginia Beach); and Congressman Mike McIntyre (R-N.C.), a co-founder of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, who encouraged prayer for all those in authority as we are commanded in I Timothy 2:1,2. Congressman Forbes was scheduled to speak but could not attend because of a last minute Armed Services sub-committee meeting which he chairs. Instead, his wife Shirley, read his prepared remarks.
The event concluded with the announcement of each VLPC member's name as he or she approached a desk on the capitol's portico and signed the "Call to Prayer for Virginia" proclamation. The charter members include members of both parties with at least a half-dozen of them Democrats. Those in attendance also had the opportunity to sign their names to a replica versions. Virginia is the third state to create a Legislative Prayer Caucus, following Mississippi and Kentucky. Several other state legislatures are currently in the process of forming similar prayer caucuses.
With all a world seemingly aflame and in shambles by war, natural disaster and financial and economic turmoil, it was a refreshing event to see the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and numerous members of the legislative body take public pride in their faith and devotion to prayer, much as our founders did 235 years ago in the midst of a war for independence going wrong. Still, in the Declaration of Independence they noted their "firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence."
Governor McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bolling and Attorney General Cuccinelli are the first to sign the Virginia Legislative Prayer Caucus' Call To Prayer.