Joe Wright is the pastor of Central Christian Church in Wichita, KS. On January 23, 1996, He was asked to be the guest chaplain for the Kansas State House in Topeka. He prayed a prayer of repentance that was written by Bob Russell, pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. According to an article in the Kansas City Star from January 24, 1996, his prayer stirred controversy, and one member of the legislative body walked out. Others criticized the prayer.
The controversy didn’t end there. Later that year in the Colorado House, Republican representative Mark Paschall angered lawmakers by using Joe Wright’s prayer as the invocation. Some members there also walked out in protest.
Paul Harvey got a hold of the prayer and read it on his program. He got more requests for copies of it than any other thing he had ever done. Here’s what he prayed:
“Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, “Woe to those who call evil good,” but that’s exactly what we have 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 pluralism.
We have worshiped other gods and called it multi-culturalism.
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 a choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the airwaves with profanity 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… Amen
Today not much has changed, in fact an argument could be made that things may have gotten worse since 1996. How much more should we the people be praying for our nation. The next National Day of Prayer will be on May 6, 2010. This year’s focus is “for such a time as this” based on the story of Esther and her bravery in thwarting the evil intentions of Haman the Amalakite, who was outraged that Mordecai would not bow down and worship him. Haman was so outraged that he wished for the extermination of all Jews from the kingdom and made it his mission in life to accomplish just that.
Nothing is new under the sun what once was will be again and what now is already was to paraphrase Solomon. It is no secret that Haman, Hitler, and all those who despise God’s presence in the world symbolized by the nation of Israel and the Jewish people, have been around for all time. There has been a spirit of anti-Christ at work in the world even from the foundations of the earth itself. Therefore the things we face in America, the systematic attempt to remove anything that resembles worship of God from our culture, has presented itself in different forms, in different cultures, at differing times in history, only to be repeated again and again. Satan has not given up his quest to be worshiped in place of God and like Haman or Hitler, he will not rest until all of God’s people are eliminated from the world, because he sees them as a hindrance to his goal of being worshiped.
Like Esther we who are called by God’s name are to seek His face and pray for the well-being of our fellow Christians. Esther, although Queen at the time, would not have been spared from the wrath of Haman anymore than we will be spared the wrath of the anti-Christ today.
We have been preserved as a nation, and a people perhaps for exactly a time like this. Will you pray with me and Rev. Wright for a national repentance and renewal? Unlike the other Rev. Wright who proclaimed with a loud voice for God to dam America, I stand with the other Rev. Wright in proclaiming God bless America!