by David Emery

Updated December 18, 2017

Pastor Joe Wright gave a prayer before the Kansas House of Representatives in January

1996 that sparked a political furor. In the following months, the prayer Wright wrote in 30 minutes, led to “angry walkouts in two state legislatures, an unprecedented two readings on Paul Harvey’s ABC Radio newscast, more than 6,500 phone calls to Wright’s church and so many boxes of mail that the church staff (didn’t’) know where to put them anymore,” Marc Fisher, a senior editor, at the “Washington Post” wrote in May of that year.

Additionally, Wright’s prayer went viral, with hundreds of emails, which republished and critiqued the prayer, circulating on the internet.

Transcription of the Prayer

Here’s an example email that appeared the next year, in February 2000 :This was sent to me by a cousin from Wyoming. Maybe it needs to be sent to our government officials. Hmm! When minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new sessions of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

THE PRAYER

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:

We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism. We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism.

We have endorsed perversion and called it alternative lifestyle.

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 self-esteem. 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. I ask it in the Name of Your Son, the living Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.