Offering the opening prayer at the U.S. House of Representatives last spring gave Duke’s Muslim chaplain the rare opportunity to open an interfaith conversation with the entire nation.
Abdullah Antepli, who served as guest chaplain at the invitation of Congressman David Price D-N.C., became the first Muslim in that role since 2003, and only the fourth ever.
“The campus and the nation appreciated seeing a human face and voice of Muslims,” Antepli says. The opportunity to represent Islamic Muslims before the House “lifted a heavy weight in the hearts, minds, and souls of many Muslims in the United States. Hopefully, the words of the prayer corrected the negative stereotype of Muslims by showing the peaceful essence of Islam—to love God and love each other.”
Opening Prayer before the U.S. House of Representatives, March 3, 2010
Oh God of all nations,
Look with favor upon this esteemed Congress.
Guide these important decision makers with Your Divine Light.
Be their source of strength and comfort.
Enable them to serve You and glorify Your names by serving the citizens of this great nation and the entire humanity regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or religion.
Oh God, make them Your instruments to deliver Your Divine Mercy and Compassion.
Bless them with Your Openness and Humility.
Fill their hearts and minds with passion and determination to improve the quality of the life of their fellow human beings.
Grant them success in their efforts to wipe out poverty, ignorance, racism, and hate in this country and beyond.
Oh God, make these women and men peacemakers, healers, and bridge builders, so urgently needed in our wounded and broken times.
Give them the strength that they need to keep what needs to be kept.
Give them the courage that they need to change what needs to be changed.
Give them the wisdom that they need to distinguish the one from the other.
Oh God, if we forget You, do not forget us.
In Your most Holy and Beautiful names, we pray.
— Abdullah Antepli