The prayer that caused a storm

In January of 1996, Pastor Joe Wright, senior pastor of the 2,500-member Central Christian Church in Wichita, was invited to deliver the opening prayer at a session of the Kansas House of Representatives. He offered the following “Prayer of Repentance” (which was not entirely of his crafting but rather was a version of a prayer written in 1995 by Bob Russell, who had offered it at the Kentucky Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Frankfort). This prayer caused an upheaval, but why? Before we answer that, let’s look at this prayer for righteousness.

"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and seek your direction and guidance.
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 multiculturalism.
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 esteem.
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 forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us O 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.

For a Godly individual, this sounds like a robust foundational prayer for our nation. Pastor Wright read the prayer at the opening of the legislature on January 23, 1996, and then departed and went about his day. Like most Pastors, he was unaware of the ruckus he had created from this prayer until his church secretary called him to ask him what he had done.

Reportedly, Democrats were upset. Some walked out of the House in protest, and some called Wright's prayer a "message of intolerance." The bottom line was this prayer started a firing debate of injustice.

Pastor Wright was reported as saying, "I certainly did not mean to be offensive to individuals, but I don't apologize for the truth."  Many of his staff reported that his staff stopped counting the telephone calls about the prayer from every state and many foreign countries. The Pastor appeared on radio shows, television, and printed news reports in the aftermath of his appearance at the Kansas House of Representatives. His prayer stirred up controversy for months to come. Pastor Wright later explained, "I was talking to God, not them."

So why all the ruckus? The answer is that this prayer triggered personal sin in those hearing it. God's word is sure and final. Humankind will debate and do what is right in their own eyes and depart from the divine truth.

Can you believe that the event was in 1996? How much more significant is this prayer today? The growth of unrighteousness in our nation must be addressed through prayer. Great prayers can only come from those who truly worship Jesus Christ and hold to His foundation for good. What will you pray in the next few weeks for our nation? As the election intensifies, people will grow more and more angry and divided. How will you stand for righteousness in a culture of unrighteousness? Pray with boldness because you are talking to God, not them.


Michelle - May 7th, 2021 at 8:55am

Thank you for standing. Our church is also in a kind loving ready to accept those who want God and repent. Then we want to come along side and help them with their walk in the Lord. But we must also do what you guys are doing, stand for the Lord and His teachings. Thank you thank you

G.J. Moritz - May 8th, 2021 at 6:55pm

Thank you for your comments and May God bless your church.

J s - August 21st, 2021 at 11:22pm

The truth was spoken and they couldn't handle it. He spoke the truth.

Daniel Saameakpe - November 9th, 2021 at 7:15am

The world will always be hostile to the God Talk. Any mentioning of God calls for righteousness and condemns sin. It feels good to suppress the Word of God and invariably do away with all guilt feeling. Their reaction was normal. All said and done, I admire the courage of Rev. Joe.

Erik L. - November 16th, 2021 at 9:02am

(from Spain).

I was looking at this prayer with catholic eyes, and I subscribed every single word and the whole prayer.


This prayer would be considered nowadays as an intolerant message, but in fact, this prayer is addressing our most common westerns sins.


I hope I can see this prayer in my country parliament, but unfortunatelly, this is unlikely to happen in a short time. However, all prayers will be heard by our Lord Jesus.


Thanks for this prayer.

Joel Jackson - April 17th, 2022 at 4:33am

Please do our forgiveness here at Shawnee Gardens nursing facility! We have been attacked by that evil creature named Bruce e Davis of KCMO! He preys on old people y nursing facilities and causes harm and death!

I need healing and protection! He's trying to kill y now. He uses satanism and spiritual wickedness to harm people! he wants to be God!

Howard _ Panama Republic - January 13th, 2023 at 8:09pm

I have prayed my whole life to have people like this Pastor in our countries. For those who have said it is an intolerant message... I can tell them, they have a good life, but they have no idea what it is to live in a country where corruption is draining our lives and the future of our kids. If by any chance Pastor Wright gets to read this message, please pray for my whole country to have better days, better politicians, better people, and better days for everyone.

B. Nathan, from uganda - March 9th, 2023 at 7:14am

Woow!!! May the Good Lord Christ bless that man who has stood in public boldly and said the truth of Christ Jesus. For sure everything said is true. Unrighteousness has covered every where right now, as we talk my country uganda with motto (for God and my country) is being forced to accept homosexuality, things we don't know, things which God did not fix in our culture even before we got to know God and chritianity. Please we are small country, black people, poor and weak to fight back but we believe the God of uganda is bigger and stronger than the whole world,. If he didn't creat us for homosexuality, i believe he will preserve us. In Jesus name. Amen

Bob Gad Kalyowa - March 18th, 2023 at 9:21am

The Lord Bless Pastor Joe for the fearless prayer to the world in general that is trying to change the Nature of how God made things.