View Full Version : NFBT: Opening prayer to the Kansas Senate

07-23-2001, 02:07 PM
Received this via email. I found it interesting, I would suppose many of you might too...

Subject: The rest of the story

The Rest of the Story

Thought you might enjoy this interesting prayer given in Kansas at the opening session of their Senate. It seems prayer still upsets some people.

When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

"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 is exactly what we have done.

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it Pluralism.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery,

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 politics,

We have coveted our neighbor's 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, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent to direct us to the center of Your will and to openly ask these things 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.

In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively. The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa, and Korea.

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, "The Rest of the Story," and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired.

Baby Lee
07-23-2001, 02:15 PM
He forgot one:

We have jumped on our soapbox and called it prayer.

Clint in Wichita
07-23-2001, 02:17 PM
What about:

"We have exploited the people's fear of death, and called it religion."

07-23-2001, 02:52 PM
We have made a mockery of the Sermon on the Mount and called the legislature a closet.

Matthew 6
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Baby Lee
07-23-2001, 03:01 PM
DanT - Thanx - that was exactly the verse to which I was alluding in post 1.

07-23-2001, 04:48 PM
Dan and JC,
if the minister was trying to appear holy for his own reasons, then that verse applies, but if he was praying what God laid upon his heart then it doesn't. Only he and God know what his intentions were. And that verse only means that you are not to pray to make yourself look holy, but rather because it is something that should be done. There are times when going to a private place to pray is appropriate, but there are times when it is appropriate in public as well.

I have heard this prayer before, I believe it was delivered a year or two ago but I know it is nothing brand new. And I noticed how instead of attacking what the prayed, the attacks where directed at him and religion in general - how interesting.

07-23-2001, 05:18 PM
Hey raiderhader, I appreciate the distinction between what is or isn't an appropriate public prayer. I'm not attacking religion in general; I'm attacking this sanctimonious platitudemonger's trite jeremiad. Who's the "we" that he's speaking for? Who is he to speak for the Kansas Legislature and presume that they have come before the Lord to ask forgiveness? They're just trying to open the damn session so that they can get to legislatin'. I can maybe see them deciding after they're finished with their business to ask for some forgiveness, but beforehand? They haven't even gotten their lawmakin' condoms out of the wrappers and here's Mr. Squeaky calling every daughter's daddy and telling them what a bunch of disreputable bachelors there are in these parts and wouldn't it be ever so much nicer if the girls just abandoned their dates and instead lined up to sit on Mr. Squeaky's lap while he read them bedtime stories? ;)

07-23-2001, 05:26 PM
I think the prayer could easily be construed as inappropriate and I fault none who chastise the pray-er.

"I'm attacking this sanctimonious platitudemonger's trite jeremiad."

Classic sentence but I've got 10-1 odds that there is a misspelling somewhere.... :D

07-23-2001, 06:14 PM
Origins: Yes, this item is basically true as quoted above. Back in January of 1996, the Rev. Joe Wright, senior pastor of the 2,500-member Central Christian Church in Wichita, was invited to offer the opening prayer at a session of the Kansas House of Representatives (not the Kansas Senate, as claimed in the text), and the prayer he offered was this one (which differs somewhat from the version cited in the text above):

Heavenly Father, we come before you to ask your forgiveness. We seek your direction and your guidance. We know your word says, "Woe to those who call evil good." But that's what we've done.
We've lost our spiritual equilibrium. We have inverted our values. We have ridiculed the absolute truth of your word in the name of moral pluralism. We have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism.

We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.

We've exploited the poor and called it a lottery. We've neglected the needy and called it self-preservation. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. In the name of choice, we have killed our unborn. In the name of right to life, we have killed abortionists.

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 taxes. 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, oh, God, and know our hearts today. Try us. Show us any wickedness within 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 the State of Kansas, and that they have been ordained by you to govern this great state.

Grant them your wisdom to rule. May their decisions direct us to the center of your will. And, as we continue our prayer and as we come in out of the fog, give us clear minds to accomplish our goals as we begin this Legislature. For we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

Rev. 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, Rev. 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 (not "a number of legislators") 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.

Rev. 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."


07-23-2001, 07:18 PM
May God answer Rev. Wright's prayer and not condemn those of you who have indicted the Holy Spirit Himself in your condemnation of this prophetic prayer. You are obviously unacquainted with the Biblical Prophets who acted exactly as Wright did and inspired many of the same hostile reactions and have been posted here.

It takes more moral courage to pray as Wright did than you scoffers can even imagine. He got nothing from it but persecution and grief, and the spiritual consolation that many souls were encouraged by his holy boldness.

I recoomend that you actually READ the Prophet Jeremiah before you dismiss Reverend Wright's invocation as "jeremiad" (you seem to be speaking pejoratively).

Rejoicing in the Truth

07-24-2001, 06:22 AM
Thanx Florida...

I obviously received an edited version...

pt - learned a long time ago not to believe everything you read

Baby Lee
07-24-2001, 08:02 AM
First of all KC-Johnny, shame on you. You know, I spend a lot of time here and in my non-electronic life trying to show by reasoning and example that a religious person is not the intolerant, judgmental demonizer that the secular world would have others believe. Then you post something like you did below.

You see a man professing to commune with God, and my expressed belief that his exhortations are more secular than inspired, and conclude that I am in line for divine retribution. However, as stated before, prayer is communion with God to be carried out in secret. Further, Jesus exhorts us to 'judge not, let ye be judged.'

If this man is, private or not, communing with God, then the 'we' would refer to himself and God. Clearly, the 'we' is himself and the apostate members of the Senate. THAT was his intended audience. By choosing this forum and this form, his message was not 'forgive us, Oh Lord' but 'you hear this guys? I am so certain you are so wrong that you have forced me to publicly seek God's forgiveness on your behalf.'

That is prideful. That seeks to usurp the power of judgment, which power is God's alone.

By the way, 'we' incorporates 'I.' Is this guy confessing that he personally exploited the poor, rewarded the lazy, killed the unborn, shot abortionists, etc.?

We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it Pluralism.

In my view, this sentence debases the gift of faith become knowledge by casting aspersions and pronouncing judgment upon those who differ even slightly.

Most of the rest is pronouncement of purely secular political stance. Never more clearly than towards the end;

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Is he suggesting that criticism or questioning of the founding fathers is a SIN?? A sin demanding absolution from God? Slavery is incorporated in the Constitution. Was our American odyssey to rid that from our land unenlightened and sinful?

I am not suggesting that this man not say these things. But I am suggesting he be mindful of the express Will of God when he does so in the guise of prayer. And I am not going to judge him, or you. And although I'll pray for your safety and well being as a member of our fighting forces, [and remind God of your worthy efforts in support of Marty :)] I do not presume to pray on your behalf for what I might judge to be your sin or danger of condemnation. I'll thank you to afford me the same consideration.

Now, if you want to analyze this a pure prose, I'd be glad to switch hats and do that.

07-24-2001, 01:11 PM
Originally posted by KCJohnny
I recoomend that you actually READ the Prophet Jeremiah before you dismiss Reverend Wright's invocation as "jeremiad" (you seem to be speaking pejoratively).

Hey KCJohnny,

Thanks for the somewhat surprising recommendation. Many people, I expect, would have instead correctly gleaned that a person who is able to quote aptly from the Sermon on the Mount--as I did in my first post on this thread--has probably also read large parts from both the major and minor prophets. ;) There were periods in my youth when I attended three very long church services a week and I still enjoy reading the Bible, especially the version that we used in my sacred scriptures course in college, The Jerusalem Bible, which was prepared by scholars who share your faith (if I remember correctly, you are Catholic).