Spanberger Welcomes “Central Virginian of the Week” Reverend Lance Watson to Deliver Opening Prayer on the U.S. House Floor

Feb 13, 2020
Local Issues

**VIDEO/AUDIO: Rev. Watson Delivers the Opening Prayer to Mark the Beginning of the Day’s Legislative Work In the U.S. House**


***VIDEO/AUDIO: The Congresswoman Recognizes “Central Virginian of the Week” Rev. Watson for his Thoughtful Opening Prayer & Honors The Deep, Positive Impact His Congregation of Nearly 12,000 Has Had on Central Virginia***

— U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger welcomed the Reverend Dr. Lance D. Watson to the U.S. Capitol to deliver the opening prayer before the U.S. House. His prayer marked the beginning of the day’s legislative business.

Rev. Watson has served as the Senior Pastor of Saint Paul’s Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia for more than 30 years and leads a congregation of more than 12,000 people.

Spanberger invited Rev. Watson to deliver the prayer prior to serving as the guest chaplain over House Floor proceedings. Rev. Watson’s prayer included an appeal for blessings of unity, civility and wisdom.

Following the prayer, Spanberger recognized Rev. Watson as this week’s “Central Virginian of the Week” by thanking him for his thoughtful remarks. She also acknowledged his accomplishments as a spiritual and community leader, which include his Outstanding Community Leader award, initiative to build housing and community gardens in Central Virginia, and support for youth education programs.

Click here to watch Rev. Watson’s remarks, and click here to watch Spanberger’s remarks. The full text of Rev. Watson’s prayer and Spanberger’s remarks are below.

Rev. Watson’s Opening Prayer

Let us pray. Gracious god, we gather today in this House of Representatives—in the people’s House—to acknowledge that You alone are sovereign.

Thank You that we share in a nation where life, liberty, and happiness are inalienable rights—rights which we hold as self-evident. We praise You for the responsibility we have to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with You.

Give us the power to find needs and meet them, find problems and solve them, find hurts and heal them.

For every elected official, we ask the blessings of civility, truth, wisdom, and grace. Even amid diversity, enable us to embrace unity. Open our hearts and courage and imagination that we may envision a better tomorrow where Your purpose will prevail on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Let Your grace and favor rest upon us in the matchless, marvelous, magnificent, majestic name that is above every name. We pray and give thanks. Amen.

Spanberger’s Speech on the Floor of the U.S. House

Mister Speaker, I would like to thank Reverend Watson for his thoughtful opening prayer this morning. His service to Central Virginia—and his accomplishments as a spiritual and community leader—are an example to all of us.

For more than 30 years, Reverend Watson has served as the Senior Pastor of Saint Paul’s Baptist Church in the Richmond area. Dr. Watson has been honored as an Outstanding Community Leader, Outstanding Contributor to Education, and Minister of the Year by multiple organizations, and he leads a congregation of nearly 12,000 people.

While Reverend Watson has focused on the spiritual development of the community through his ministry, he has also supported the social and economic development of the community in a variety of ways. Under his leadership, Saint Paul’s Baptist Church has initiated a bold plan to build housing, a park, an urban farm, and community gardens to improve the Central Virginia community.

I thank Reverend Watson, his wife, First Lady Rose Watson—herself, an accomplished singer, and the entire Watson family for their service to the Saint Paul’s community and Central Virginia.

And I thank Reverend Watson for being here today to offer us inspiration through the opening prayer.


Since 1789, the U.S. House has elected a Chaplain to open floor proceedings with a prayer, serve as a spiritual counselor to the House community, organize wedding and funeral services, and coordinate guest chaplains.

Members of Congress may invite spiritual leaders to deliver the opening prayer before the U.S. House as a guest chaplain.

Rev. Watson is the third honoree in Spanberger’s “Central Virginian of the Week” series. Last week, she honored Orange County High School student Hannah Howard.

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