Observations on Opening Day of the Hawaii State Legislature
By law, the Hawaii Legislature must open on the third Wednesday of January at 10 a.m. At 8 a.m. on Opening Day, Jan. 17, 2024, I walked through the metal detectors with my fellow intercessor, Sharon, and other visitors, constituents, and lobbyists. Security personnel attached orange wristbands to our wrists.
Sharon and I were blessed to sit in the center aisle seats in the House gallery to pray and observe the opening session. The House of Representatives has 45 Democrats and six Republicans. They serve two-year terms. Of those 51 representatives, 20 percent are serving their first term. The Senate sang the National Anthem, but the House did not.
In 2023, the House and Senate were internally divided. Committees worked through the holiday break, and in their opening speeches this year, both houses called for unity in their chambers. They made Lahaina, the town devastated by wildfires in 2023, a high priority again for 2024.
We contacted six House Republicans for prayer on opening day. Five responded on short notice. We were mindful of our Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish representatives as we prayed. The one representative who did not respond is a Catholic and an attorney. She is quoted in Honolulu Civil Beat, saying: “What bothers me is they [the other five Republicans] don’t argue in law and fact. They are arguing based on personal beliefs, based on religious beliefs”; and “My party is a cult.”
Of the 45 House Democrats, nine received an invitation to pray with us on opening day, and none responded. We will contact the representatives again. I saw my Kailua-Kona representative, a Jewish woman whose voting record does not represent my values, standing in her office doorway alone. As she waited for constituents to stop by her office, I introduced myself, and she said, “I’ve seen your name.” I believe the only place she would have seen my name is on IFA emails about specific topics such as abortion. She didn’t want to pray with me then but did say she’d be open to prayer in the future.
We are encouraged, seeing how God raised up an Esther in Hawaii: Rep. Lauren Matsumoto, minority leader of the House, and a Miss Hawaii in 2011. Our God also raised up a priest and prophet, Dr. Elijah Pierick, a pastor and the minority leader assistant of the House, as well as a student at the prophetic school in Honolulu.
At the end of the day, we were joyously exhausted! We are mindful that the island nation of Hawaii was dedicated to God in the 1800s and that it has a rich history of revivals, first as a kingdom nation and then as a U.S. state.
Are you praying for your state officials? Share those prayers in the comments below!
(Loretta Gibson leads IFA’s Hawaii state prayer group. Photo Credit: Loretta Gibson)
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