“Jesus” has been banished from a prayer to open New Zealand’s parliamentary sessions.
The traditional prayer for decades has ended with “through Jesus Christ our Lord,” the Christian Post reported.
The Labour Party-led government proposed a new version of the prayer that leaves out Jesus and initiated a consultation process.
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But Speaker Trevor Mallard used the prayer before the period of consultation ended.
The Christian Post said an even more radical proposed change to the prayer was rejected by members of the parliament that removed all religious references.
Commenters to the website of the New Zealand TV channel TVNZ1 expressed displeasure.
“No we need God on our side in all things, especially politics,” said one identified as David.
“If you aren’t praying to Jesus, who are you expecting to answer your prayers?” asked Julie.
And Mary wondered the same: “If you do remove Jesus, what’s the point of prayer?”
The original prayer read: “Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Thy guidance in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we beseech Thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to the glory of Thy holy name, the maintenance of true religion and justice, the honor of the Queen, and the public welfare, peace, and tranquility of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The new text?
“Almighty God, we give thanks for the blessings which have been bestowed on New Zealand. Laying aside all personal interests, we pray for guidance in our deliberations, that we may conduct the affairs of this House with wisdom and humility, for the public welfare and peace of New Zealand.”