I received a forwarded email entitled “Nice Prayer” it claimed that several people were upset by the prayer offered at the Kansas “Senate” by a certain Pastor named Joe Wright senior pastor of the 2,500-member Central Christian Church in Wichita.
As always, I don’t swallow all forwarded emails hook, line and sinker. I checked the internet on whether or not the prayer was an urban legend or not.
It turned out that the story is true. However there were some revisions to the story as the email was passed from person to person.
The prayer was really bold. It confronted people of their sins. That’s why it got a very controversial response from several members of the legislature and other people as well. In order to know why it was such a controversial prayer you might as well read it for yourself. This is the text of the original prayer delivered on January 23, 1996 by Pastor Joe Wright to the Kansas House of Representatives in Topeka:
Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and seek your direction and guidance.
We know your Word says, “Woe to those who call evil good,” but that’s exactly what we’ve done.
We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.
We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your Word and called it moral pluralism.
We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighbors’ possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us O God and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; colon cleanse us from every sin and set us free.
Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by you, to govern this great state.
Grant them your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of your will. I ask it in the name of your son, the living savior, Jesus Christ.
According to the site Snopes.com (A website which investigates urban legends) Rev. Joe Wright was invited to offer the opening prayer at a session of the Kansas House of Representatives.
The prayer was originally written by Bob Russell, pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He delivered it at a Governor’s prayer breakfast in Frankfort, Kentucky.
As a result of the prayer one democrat walked out of the meeting. Several law makers lambasted the prayer in privilege speeches. Rev. Wright later on said in an interview that he did not mean to be offensive to individuals but he does not apologize for the truth either. The controversy continued further when Rev. Wright gave interviews on dozens of radio shows, T.V programs, and news reports. The prayer was read again by a chaplain coordinator in the Nebraska legislature the following month.
As the controversy continued Rev. Wright was asked to comment to which he replied “I thought I might get a call from an angry congressman or two, but I was talking to God, not them. The whole point was to say that we all have sins that we need to repent — all of us . . . The problem, I guess, is that you’re not supposed to get too specific when you’re talking about sin.”
Rev. Wright is right. The problem with us today is that we play too much with sin that we do not want to call it sin anymore, and when somebody tells us that such and such is morally wrong and is a sin, we then label the person as intolerant and a bigot. As a society we have become calloused to sin, and as the apostle Paul calls it, our conscience is “seared with hot iron.” (I Timothy 4:2)
This phrase is certainly worth adding in the prayer (Considering our situation in the Philippines)
We have given bribes to people in government, corrupted our public officials, assisted in the miscarriage of justice, received bribes from the people, failed to pay our proper taxes, lied, and cheated and yet we call it as “Standard Operating Procedure (S.O.P)” or we excuse ourselves that “Everybody is doing it.”
May there be more Rev. Wrights to stand up there and confront people of their sin and their need for a Savior! May there be more Rev. Wrights to stand up there and confront us Christians of our own hypocrisy.