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Courting Prayer

Before I begin trials I read the 19th Psalm - alone, in private, and out loud. It is a song about taking our proper place in something much greater than our imperfect selves. It's a prayer, and believe it or not, lawyers pray too.

Prayer is everywhere at every courthouse. LItigants pray. Their families pray. Crime victims pray. Judges pray. Jurors pray. Witnesses pray. They often pray together. Some pray on their knees, some on their feet, others from their seats at counsel table, audience pews or on the bench. You couldn't take prayer out of the courthouse if you tried. And yet, though lawyers pray too, they are the most reluctant to talk about their prayers in individual cases. The parties and their supporters are often more than happy to share their prayers with you and pray for you.

Lawyers will talk all day about their bible study or church, but as soon as one asks a colleague about what they pray in an individual case, a line has been crossed. Prayer is suddenly a private place, a sanctuary into which no one else is allowed. A private conversation between them and the Almighty. I'm going to open mine.

I pray to God. for me and everyone involved, the wisdom to see what is right and the strength to do it; to recognize what is important is what He wants, not what we want, to use the time and the talents that God has given us in accordance with His will and to make us His faithful, humble servants, ministers of His word, examples of his sacrifice, and stewards of His creation. I pray for forgiveness and mercy and for others and for myslef. I pray for peace and for justice for all the troubled people and places in our world. I read 1 Thesallonians 2:1-8; Leviticus 19:15, 18; Deuternomy 6:5, and Matthew 22:37-40. This is part of what I pray. But at trial, I also say Psalm 19, ending:

"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer."

Categories: Criminal Defense

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