Pastor Joe Wright's Prayer
Joe Wright is Senior Pastor of Central Christian Church in Wichita, KS.
Pastor Wright had been invited to serve as the House's guest
chaplain by Rep. Anthony Powell, a Wichita Republican who was also a member of
Wright's church. Accordingly, Pastor Wright composed a prayer, read
it at the opening of the legislature on January 23, and departed,
unaware of the ruckus he had created until his church secretary called him on
his car phone to ask him what he had done.
Reportedly, one Democrat walked out in protest, three others
gave speeches critical of Wright's prayer, and another blasted Wright's
"message of intolerance." House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer (also a Democrat)
asserted that the prayer "reflects the extreme, radical views that continue
to dominate the House Republican agenda since right-wing extremists seized
control of the House Republican caucus last year." Rep. Jim
Long, a Democrat from Kansas City, said that Wright "made everyone mad."
But Rep. Powell, who had invited Wright in the first place, claimed
that House Democrats were only trying to make political points with their
criticism and affirmed that he supported the theme of the prayer.
Pastor Wright said afterwards: "I certainly did not mean
to be offensive to individuals, but I don't apologize for the truth." His
staff stopped counting the telephone calls that came from every state and many
foreign countries after the first 6,500. Wright appeared on dozens of radio
shows and was the subject of numerous TV and print news reports, and his prayer
stirred up controversy all over again when it was read by the chaplain
coordinator in the Nebraska legislature the following month. Wright later
explained, "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."
as delivered on January 23, 1996 by Pastor Joe Wright to the Kansas House of
Heavenly Father, we come before
You today to ask Your forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance.
Lord, 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 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 choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building
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 fore-fathers and called
Search us oh 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.
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