Voice of the Kingfisher speaks out …from a different perspective
by Elinor Montgomery
Kansas Prayer of Repentance
July 13, 2011
As I sat at my computer in front of the open window, a gust of wind came in and blew down a yellowed piece of paper that had been hanging just above me on the door of the unit where I was sitting. It had been there for a very long time.
I picked it up from the floor and began to read its contents one more time, while I thought about the integrity of the man who prayed such a prayer and how little integrity of this kind is easily found among the priesthood today.
This interesting prayer was given to the Kansas House of Representatives, in 1996, by Joe Wright, the minister of Central Christian Church in Wichita, Kansas. I feel that it is well worth repeating his words for those who have not had the privilege of hearing them before. It has become an icon among prayers, which bears repeating over again, but it would seem that such kind of prayer still upsets many people.
When Wright was asked to open the new session of the House of Representatives that year, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:
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; 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. Amen.
The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest. Within 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively. The church received international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa, and Korea.
The following day, radio broadcaster Paul Harvey featured the story on his radio program heard around the nation. Some of you know the rest of the story; he had the largest positive response in his, then, 32-year broadcast history. Many now call it “the prayer that won’t die” perhaps because it is as relevant today, as it was back then. Hardly a week passed that the minister did not receive inquiries concerning the prayer.
With the Lord’s help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called one nation under God. If the nation does not stand for something, it will fall for anything.