The Prayer Delivered by
Rev. Joe Wright
before the Kansas House of Representatives
January 23, 1996
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
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
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.
Rep. Anthony Powell, a Wichita Republican, invited the
Senior Pastor from his church, the 2,500-member Central
Christian Church in Wichita, to serve as the House's guest
chaplain, offering the opening prayer at a session of the
Kansas House of Representatives.
Rev. Joe Wright composed a prayer, reading it at the
opening of the legislature on January 23. Having departed
he receive a call on his car phone from his secretary asking
him what he had done. He was unaware of the ensuing
controversy he had caused. One Democrat member walked out
in protest, and three speeches criticizing the prayer were
delivered by three other democrats, and one more claimed it
a "message of intolerance". Tom Sawyer, House Minority
Leader (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."
Rev. Wright had been invited to serve as the House's
guest chaplain by 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. Rep. Powell, who had invited Wright, claimed that
House Democrats were simply trying to make political points
and that he supported the concerns the prayers addressed.
"I certainly did not mean to be offensive to individuals,
but I don't apologize for the truth.", said Rev. Wright.
Over 6.500 telephone calls from across the nation and abroad
were received by Rev. Wright's staff. He had appeared on or
been the subject of many radio, TV and newspaper reports
shows. The following month the controversy was renewed when
the chaplain coordinator in the Nebraska legislature read
Wright's prayer. Rev. Joe Wright stated, "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
In this day of political correctness you can exercise
your freedom of speech offending Christians but Christians
may not express their views as it may offend others.
Democrats in trying to point out injustice in others reveal
their true colors showing their own intolerance of others.
Rev. Joe Wright Source