NEWLY elected councillors could revise or scrap the prayer that opens their public meetings to make them more inclusive.
The City of Greater Bendigo is expected to confirm changes before the first council meeting of the new term on December 14.
Some councillors have been consulting on the matter ahead of the meeting.
They include David Fagg, who asked for people's thoughts through his Facebook page.
"As councillors, my understanding is that we can decide whether or not to have this prayer, and what shape it should take," he wrote in a post this week.
"However, as we have a considerable level of religious and nonreligious diversity in our community, I would like some feedback."
The post had garnered nearly 60 comments since it was published on Facebook.
Cr Fagg has not offered his own position on the matter publicly, referring the Bendigo Advertiser to mayor Jennifer Alden for comment.
Cr Alden said the opening prayer was one of a number of changes being considered to make meetings "more inclusive".
"It is council's intention to confirm an approach next week, prior to its first meeting on December 14. Any update to current proceedings will be made in consultation with key community and interfaith leaders," she said.
The prayer is currently recited after an Acknowledgement of Country at the start of formal proceedings.
It goes "most gracious God, grant that having put aside all personal interests and bias, we use the authority entrusted to us to enable us to provide good and fair government for the citizens of Greater Bendigo".
Victorian councils often review the prayer at the start of new terms to make sure elected representatives are comfortable with the wording or believe it accurately reflects the wider views of citizens.
Some councils use an opening prayer, others use an opening statement and others have a moment of quiet reflection.
The history of change goes back much further.
Councils have often modified them to fit the times or evoke a sense of continuity.
For example, a south Melbourne council received recommendations in 1954 for two versions of a prayer, one of which had a "traditional background dating back to Elizabethan times".
The draft version - which was printed in full in a Melbourne-based newspaper called the Record and was nearly three times longer than Bendigo's current prayer - had recently been revived by another council that had last used it in the 1800s.
It went: "O Lord God, without whom no Council can stand, nor anything prosper, we beseech Thee to be merciful unto us, and to be present among us, at this our meeting; assisting us by Thy grace, that that every one of us may use free liberty of speech, without any private affection or partial respect; so that all our consultations may tend to Thy glory, the benefit of this Commonwealth, and the discharge of our several duties of our several duties and consciences; grant this, O Lord, for Thy name's sake - Amen."
The Record's article from Saturday 28 August 1954 does not detail whether the council chose that or a much shorter version that had gained popularity at neighbouring councils at the time.
It also does not say whether councillors elected to make a decision at a later date but the longer version was already in use at at least one other council at the time.