There was no gospel singing at Mayor Marion Barry's prayer breakfast yesterday and there were very few Amen's.

Instead, the District's mayor of four months turned the occasion into an hour of philosophical soul-searching and inspiration for the city government's often-criticized public work force, whom Barry called upon to hold their heads high.

"Let's stand up. Let's believe in ourselves, because if we don't believe in ourselves, you can rest assured that nobody else is," Barry told about 2,000 people at the Sheraton Park Hotel. "I believe in me."

"I can't ask you to have integrity unless I have integrity. I can't ask you to work unless I work. I can't ask you to have a vision unless I have a vision. I can't ask you to dream unless I dream. I can't ask you to hope unless I have hope," Barry said. "I have all of that and i hope you have it, too."

"We need to rededicate ourselves and recommit ourselves to the proposition that government exists for the singular purpose of serving people," he said. "If the government can't serve people, it shouldn't exist. And the people who work in government have the responsibility or having the notion (that) you're going to serve people."