If there was ever a time for us to pray this way, it’s now.
Recently, I came across a prayer of Rev. Joe Wright, pastor of a large church in Wichita, Kan., who stood before the state House of Representatives in 1996 and prayed the following prayer. His prayer incorporated many of the parts of a prayer delivered by Rev. Bob Russell before the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Kentucky in 1995 and was known as “The Prayer of Repentance.” Here’s how he prayed:
“Heavenly Father, we come before You today to ask your forgiveness and 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 truths of Your Word and called it multiculturalism.
“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 airways 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 any wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen.”
Powerful prayer, wasn’t it?
And, one that’s much-needed today, isn’t it?
Sadly, such prayers are seldom heard from pastors in our houses of worship these days for fear of offending — or, worse, for fear of getting fired. Such is always the case when self-preservation is more important than God’s approval.
But, what would happen if such courageous boldness once again gripped the hearts of those who stand in God’s Holy pulpits?
Why, we might see a revival break out across our land!
When Dietrich Bonhoeffer realized what was happening in his native homeland of Germany after Hitler came to power, he returned there to work against him. He tried to get the national church (the Lutherans) to oppose him, but (sadly) the majority embraced him.
So, Bonhoeffer began his own church. And, for a while they were quite active in their opposition to this rising, deceptive dictator; yet, later on they’d also acquiesce to him, leaving the German theologian to seemingly fight the battle on his own. In 1943 he was arrested for conspiracy and later executed on April 9, 1945, in a German concentration camp.
Initially, his own countrymen considered him a traitor and his writings were viewed as heresy. But, several years after the war they realized that he’d really been a “Champion of Faith” and today he’s revered by many in his country as a modern-day martyr.
Dear Reader, we need more men and women like Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We need those who are willing to stand firm on God’s Word—regardless of the cost—and fight against injustices wherever they find them.
This will not happen when our pulpits are silent and our pews are apathetic. Contrary to popular belief, “The voice of the people IS NOT the Voice of God.” Right and Truth are never determined by a popular vote; they’re decreed by Almighty God Himself.
Therefore, here’s hoping you’ll join me in praying “The Prayer of Repentance” and help lead our churches to be the spiritual, moral and ethical lighthouses God intends for them to be. Otherwise, we shall soon reap what we’ve sown in indifference and wish we’d heeded the call to act.
To contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.