Re: "Shall we pray? For Congress, it's a sensitive question" (TNT, 3-19).
As a pastor in McLean, Virginia, in 1980, I offered the prayer before the House of Representatives. I thought it an honor. It was a heady experience. The prayer is in the Congressional Record. My picture was taken with the six congressmen from our congregation and Tip O'Neill, speaker of the House.
Upon reflection and from what I learned from the experience, I would not have done it. I did not use the name of Jesus in my prayer, but there are other considerations.
For many it may be a "feel-good thing," a "right thing to do," whether they are present or not. Only a tiny minority of the legislators show up. No matter what they believe about prayer, the others are not present, but are in the hallways rubbing shoulders with lobbyists, friends, constituents, etc., while the prayer is being offered and come in only when something "important" is about to happen, such as an important debate or vote.
Personally, and with my congregation and the larger church, I do pray for Congress, our president and others who lead us that we might be a nation of justice, compassion and peace.
(Haugen is a retired Lutheran pastor.)