It’s a pleasure to see some of my former colleagues from the Legislature as well as Speaker Straus and, of course, Lieutenant Governor Patrick. Any opportunity we can come together in celebration of prayer is a special occasion.

We all know the power of prayer. We all understand the importance of cultivating a personal relationship with our Creator. We all understand how prayer shapes us as individuals and how it brings us together building stronger families and stronger communities.

Prayer is a big part of who we are and is instrumental in the formation of and our commitment to the values we hold dear. Sometimes we take for granted how blessed we are to be able to gather together and pray and to proclaim our faith publicly. Sadly, there are forces in Texas and around the nation that are working to erode our religious freedoms.

People confuse the idea that “freedom of religion” means “freedom from religion” and that simply isn’t the case. I believe any efforts to attack our ability to express our religion will ultimately prove futile. That’s because the Constitution itself protects our religious freedom it’s the Rule of Law that is the foundation for all of our freedoms. Those freedoms and our values are worth fighting for.

That’s why we stand up for the rule of law in our state and in our nation.

Right now we are working to preserve the sanctity of marriage and the truth that every life matters, no matter how small. It’s a difficult, complex time that we live in and never have we needed the power of prayer more than we do now. I assure you, I will never waver in my dedication to the people of Texas and standing up for what we believe.

As we enjoy food and fellowship this morning, we pray for the wisdom to lead the strength to persevere and the continued blessings and good graces of the Lord.

God bless you and may God continue to bless Texas.