AUGUSTA, Maine — The caucus is affiliated with Pray USA, an initiative of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation Inc., which seeks to "preserve the Judeo-Christian heritage of our nation and protect American religious liberty."

More than 150 people, including about 50 legislators — mostly Republicans and a few Democrats — participated in a ceremony Tuesday to announce that Maine is the sixth state to formalize a legislative prayer group.

Maine legislators have informally gathered to pray since the 1940s. The nonpartisan prayer caucus meets once a week and does not discuss policy or bills.