It was like a charismatic revivalist gathering. Hands raised in the air by around 400 faithful souls paying homage to Jesus Christ on the front lawn of Parliament.

They joined in the chants about the greatness of God and his son Jesus and prayed that Parliament's Speaker Trevor Mallard, who couldn't help but hear the din from his office suite, would see the light.

Well he didn't. JC now doesn't get a mention in the new version although for God only knows why, that pinnacle of aristocracy, The Queen's been brought back after initially being dropped.

So it seems we're more Monarchists than we are Christians.


The old Parliamentary prayer may have been trotted out for more than 160 years but it most certainly doesn't belong to this era. When have the affairs of Parliament and the country been conducted to the glory of the Almighty God's name, as the original would have it?

The new version's much more realistic, that they conduct their affairs with wisdom and humility, even though that's highly debatable.

The old one talked about the maintenance of true religion through Jesus Christ. That assumes the only true religion is Christianity which of course isn't the case.

Wisely Speaker Mallard's still beginning the prayer with Almighty God with the rationale that a majority of Kiwis now aren't Christians with the many religions being adhered to in this country believing in a God, so leaving him or her in would appear to be the least offensive path.

Mallard tells us a canvass of MPs saw most of them wanting any spiritual references dropped altogether, although they seem to want an opening statement to get the business under way. Why, is a little difficult to fathom.

So The Speaker's first prayer of the year to Parliament was eagerly anticipated but it went over most MPs' heads - he delivered it in Maori only, with the traditional translation supplied when te reo is usually spoken in The House conspicuous by its absence.

It's often been said politics and religion don't mix and for those of us who've been sitting for years through the full, frank and meaningless opening statement or prayer, that has no influence on behaviour whatsoever, so we'd say amen to that!