Recently a friend sent me this article about what he called an “absolutely great” prayer. Whether it actually happened or not, after reading the prayer a couple of times, there was something bothering me. See if you catch it.
This is what my friend sent: (no source was given for the article)
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 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.
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.’
After reading this prayer and my friend’s comments I was unsettled. On one hand, when finished, I was saying, “yes!, Yes!!, YES!!!” But, on the other hand, I was still thinking something was not quite right. Can you see it?
It’s clear the prayer is a prayer of repentance from sins – and if the entire nation prayed this prayer exactly as written and prayed it with a fervent spirit of deep sorrow for these sins in our country, what difference would it make? Would it be enough?
I’m not just being cynical. There is a significant missing element to the prayer. Being sorry (Repentance) for sin is not enough to save us. Before I became a Christian I repented every week. I’d even pray that I was really sorry for the way I had lived during the last week. But, nothing changed. I go right back to my sinful actions and thoughts.
Real change can only be brought about by Christ coming into individuals and renewing their attitudes and desires through a new birth brought about by the Holy Spirit. He comes into the person to affect eternal salvation and eternal change… the “New Birth.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
(Be sure to read this entire quote… don’t stop because you “know” what it says.) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16–18
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
John the Baptist was baptizing people who were repenting of their sins – very much like the above prayer – but John clearly stated that just being sorry for your sins wasn’t enough unless you came to the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11
The next day he [John] saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29
The last line of the my friend’s “amazing” prayer also falls short because we have no chance of being “cleansed of every sin” and being “set free” except through the person and work of Jesus the Christ, the Savior of the world… and He’s not mentioned!
“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
When contemplating the above prayer of repentance I have to ask, “Where is Jesus?” It would have been biblically amazing if the prayer would have ended something like this…
“Lord God, after you search our hearts help us to not only acknowledge our sin but also give You praise for the grace that gives us forgiveness because of what Your Son, Jesus Christ, accomplished when He died on the cruel cross to pay the judgment for which we are so deserving.
Then, lastly Lord, because of Your Son and in His name, help us to walk in our communities as forgiven beings. Give us the strength, through Christ and the Holy Spirit, to love our neighbors and follow Your Scriptures in all we think and all we do.
And Father, we pray all these things because of what Christ has done for us and in His name. Amen.”
Now THAT would have been amazing!
Think about it…