America’s Prayer of Repentance
In 1995 I wrote a prayer of national repentance and offered it at the Kentucky Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Frankfort Kentucky. The prayer was adapted by Joe Wright and presented as the prayer to open the Kansas House of Representatives in 1996.
You may have heard about the controversy stirred that day. The prayer infuriated several legislators; one member stormed out of the hall in protest. Several gave speeches critical of the prayer, and one even called it a “message of intolerance.”
The chaplain coordinator in the Nebraska legislature read the prayer the following month, stirring a debate there. Paul Harvey reported on the controversy and read the prayer on the air. He has since repeated the story, claiming it is one of the most requested readings he has ever had. The prayer has been widely circulated by e-mail.
On this National Day of Prayer in 2013, may we continue to offer this prayer and hope that it becomes “America’s Prayer of Repentance.”
O God, we know that 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 and New Age spirituality.
We have committed adultery and called it an affair.
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 frugality.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn children 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 failed to execute justice speedily, as your Word commands, and called it due process.
We have failed to love our neighbor who has a different color of skin and called it maintaining racial purity.
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 made the Lord’s Day the biggest shopping and entertainment day of the week and called it free enterprise.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our parents 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 of every sin and set us free. Though our sins be as scarlet, may they become white as snow. Though they be as crimson, may they be as wool.