Kansas State House Opening Prayer

This prayer was quoted by Bishop Edgley of the Presiding Bishopric in a special Stake Conference we had this past Sunday in the Tabernacle.

This event happened in the Kansas House in Topeka on January 23, 1996. Joe Wright is the pastor of Central Christian Church in Wichita and was guest chaplain that day. He prayed a prayer of repentance that was written by Bob Russell, pastor of  Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. According to an article in the Kansas City Star from January 24, 1996, his prayer stirred controversy and one member of the legislative body walked out. Others criticized the prayer. The controversy didn’t end there. Later that year in the Colorado House, Republican representative Mark Paschall angered lawmakers by using Joe Wright’s prayer as the invocation. Some members there also walked out in protest. Citation

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 have 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 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 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 self-esteem; We have abused power and called it political savvy; 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, 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 this state and who have been ordained by You, to govern this great state of Kansas. Grant them your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your Will.

I ask in the name of your Son, the Living Savior, Jesus Christ.

Leave a comment


  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing. I keep thinking 1 Nephi 16:2. The wicked take the truth to be hard. Bless him for praying for true inspiration and for asking forgiveness. Hmm. Really interesting.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Ash.

    It’s definitely a strong statement/prayer, and there are definitely parts of it that I hesitate to fully agree with (i.e. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition, etc.). They are somewhat general statements, which can be taken the right way or out of context (is he calling ambition bad in general or the act of coveting our neighbor’s possessions evil? I agree with the latter but I don’t think the Lord would say ambition is evil.). Bishop Edgley actually took out certain parts of it, and I should note that his context was that we have lost our spiritual equilibrium and emphasized our duty to find where we stand and stand strong.

    Isaiah 5:20 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

  3. Kevin

     /  November 10, 2010

    I’m commenting.

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