Gov. Jay Nixon knows politics can be full of conflicts and tension.
"As the 2014 General Assembly moves forward, there will be, no doubt, areas of disagreement," he told nearly 800 people at the Governor's Prayer Breakfast on Thursday morning, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City. "That is the nature - quite frankly, that is the design - of the system of government that we have.
"It is designed to have differences of opinions ... checks and balances, to take the everyday contention of our state, and try to find places where we can harmonize that into concrete, specific actions to move forward."
But even when those political disagreements are most fierce, the governor said, "It is vital that all of us act in a spirit of fellowship, that does not question each others' sincerity in wanting to do what is right."
His call echoed keynote speaker Hal Donaldson's request for a year of cooperation.
Nixon noted the annual prayer breakfast has been going on more than 50 years.
"For one morning, we all try, as best we can, to put aside the little differences that may arise in our daily jobs and, instead, stand united in asking guidance from God to direct the course of our state in such a way that best benefits the 6 million people we all serve together," he said. "And, in truly asking for God's help and guidance, we humble ourselves."
Nixon said regular prayer can give lawmakers and leaders "the understanding to navigate through the seas ahead, and the tolerance for those whose opinions we do not share. It does us no good if we ignore our faith, ignore our values, don't use our ears, only use our mouths and talk and spout our side."
He later told reporters: "You can't do this job alone. You can't make decisions if you're not calling on a higher power."
As he travels around the state, Nixon said, many Missourians tell him they are praying for him.
"That power of prayer and that power of faith gives you a searing strength to cut through what are many frustrations, and move forward," the governor told the breakfast audience. "They are praying for all of us to move our state forward."