MR. JUDGE -- One or two persons have said since our sessions began that they noticed that other Congresses began either with the Lord's Prayer or with some religious Christian hymn, and ended with the doxology or some other religious function, and they wondered why the Theosophical Congresses were opened in a business manner and closed in the same way. What is the reason for this? The reason is not very far to seek; it is found in the words of Jesus; and if we were in India we could give reasons from their scriptures, but here the words of Jesus are quite enough. Jesus told the Pharisees, who existed in that time as they do now in ours, that they should not make prayers in the streets nor shout prayers, but to retire to their closets and pray to the Father who seeth in secret, and he would reward them openly. So we do not begin with prayer, nor end with the doxology. Every individual can pray himself or herself to the God who seeth in secret, and we prefer to follow the words of Jesus and not to make long prayers in the streets nor to be seen of men at our secret devotions, but go at once to our business, which is to endeavor to give men and women a philosophy of life so they will be able to pray sincerely to the Father who seeth in secret.
From The Theosophical Congress, pp. 80-81.