Monday, September 13, 2004

True Prayer that Offends

I got an e-mail from a good friend of mine today about a pastor who opened a session of the Kansas Senate with a prayer. He seems to have hit a lot of sore spots, seeing as a number of senators walked out during the invocation (which is what a prayer is called at the beginning of a government meeting).

Here is the text of the e-mail and prayer:

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 call 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 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. 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.

With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called "one nation under God."

It makes you think, doesn't it? I think that was exactly what some people needed to hear but didn't want to because they knew they were guilty and didn't want to acknowledge it, especially in a place where they usually make decisions about those things to which the pastor was speaking. They didn't know what to think, so they just got mad and left. Good for them. Maybe they had time to search their hearts and minds and let God work on them.

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