The Rev. Pat Conroy, chaplain for the U.S. House of Representatives, cast out “spirits of darkness” from Congress during his opening prayer on Thursday morning.
Conroy’s prayer came the morning after President Donald Trump attacked “the Squad,” a group of four Democratic Congresswomen, at a rally in North Carolina. In the previous week, Democrats had fallen to infighting, and Trump was accused of racism for tweets urging political opponents to “go back … [to] the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Conroy struck a conciliatory but bold tone in his remarks, blaming not a political party but spiritual powers and principalities for the divisiveness in politics.
“We give you thanks, O God, for giving us another day,” Conroy prayed. “This has been a difficult and contentious week in which darker spirits seem to have been at play in the people’s house. In Your most holy name, I now cast out all spirits of darkness from this chamber, spirits not from You. I cast out the spirit of discouragement, which deadens the hope of those who are of good will. I cast out the spirit of petty divisiveness, which clouds the sense and the desire to be of fruitful productivity in addressing the issues more appropriately before this House. I cast out any sadness brought on by the frustration of dealing with matters detrimental to the honorable work each member has been called to engage in.
“Pour out, O Lord, Your sacred oil, as You did upon Aaron of old. Anoint Your servants here in the House with a healing balm to comfort and renew the souls of all in this assembly. May Your spirit of wisdom and patience descend upon all, so that any spirit of darkness might have no place in our midst. Rather, let Your spirit of comity, of brother and sisterhood, and love of our nation and of all colleagues in this chamber empower our better angels to be at play and the common work to be done for the benefit of all Your people. May all that is done within the people’s House be for Your greater honor and glory. Amen.”