By Martha Bailey
At the invitation of our senator, Jack Donahue, we drove to Baton Rouge recently for my husband, Waylon Bailey, to pray as the Louisiana Senate convened for their afternoon session. It was a privilege and an honor to have the opportunity to ask the Lord’s blessing on the work of the Senate for that day.
When we first entered the historic capitol bustling with activity, we carefully followed protocol by reporting to the office of Sen. Gerald Long, the Louisiana State Senate President Pro Tempore. Because Waylon had previously prayed at the legislature several times, he had met Senator Long.
However, I had not ever met him. Little did I know that our time with him was going to be such a blessing.
When we arrived at his office his administrative assistant graciously greeted us, saying she would let Senator Long know we were there.
However, he walked out of his inner office about that time. He greeted us warmly, invited us in, and offered us a seat like he would have if we had been in his living room. He was so kind and gentle and genuinely interested in who we were and our ministry.
Our hearts were immediately tendered toward him not only because of his way more than cordial greeting, but because we knew he was experiencing intense grief. He had buried his beloved wife, Rose, after a courageous battle with cancer just four days before.
With tears in his eyes, he said in the most tender of ways, “Rose loved Jesus and it was apparent in everything she did and to everyone she met.” Waylon assured him that Rose was indeed loved and highly respected by all who knew her all over our great state.
Somewhere during the course of the conversation about his family, Sen. Long walked over to his bookshelf, retrieved a picture of his grandchildren and said with deep conviction, “These children are going to be giants in the faith. Rose and I prayed for that every morning while she was still alive. They are going to do great things and God is going to see them mightily in His kingdom.”
I was so touched by his deep, deep love for them, his confidence in what God is going to do through them, and the legacy he would be leaving for them.
But knowing that the clock was ticking before we needed to make our way to the Senate chambers, Senator Long took our hands and said, “Let’s pray.” His prayer was beautiful—grace-filled, humble, and heartfelt, and the presence of the Lord was so apparent.
After Sen. Long said, “Amen,” Waylon asked if we could pray for him, and, of course, he genuinely welcomed it. Still with our hands gripped tightly, we lifted our grieving friend up to our Father. Drawing from the words of the apostle Paul, we thanked God that He is the God of all comfort and that Sen. Long does not have to grieve without hope (1 Corinthians 1:3-5 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13).
Well, if we had left the capitol at that point I would have been blessed beyond anything I expected. But, when we exited Sen. Long’s office, Sen. Jack Donahue, another strong believer, was waiting for us.
He walked us to his office and expressed his appreciation for our taking the time to come. After a few moments of conversation about First Baptist Church, we asked about his wife Maura who had also battled cancer.
After updating us on her health, we asked if we could pray for her. So, again we lifted our voices to heaven on her behalf.
I really don’t know what I expected to happen that Tuesday besides a few quick, cordial formalities and Waylon’s opening prayer, but it was far more than I had anticipated. Little did I know that it would be so warm, personal and worshipful.
As strong believers, Sen. Long and Sen. Donahue have spent many years living out their faith in the, no doubt, highly challenging political arena in Baton Rouge. Their mission has been to unapologetically serve the Lord first and foremost and to do it in whatever venue the Lord put them in. What an impact they have had upon this state by their godly witness and daily prayer times with other legislators.
Let us thank the Lord today for godly men and women who serve both our beloved state of Louisiana and the United States of America.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
P.S. The first two times Waylon was invited to open the Senate in prayer he took our two oldest grandsons—Jake first and then Chase. I’m number three on the totem pole! I’m good with that.
Martha Bailey is the wife of Waylon Bailey, pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington. This editorial originally appeared in her blog.