Set us free

By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy

THIS prayer was sent to me a week ago and I find it so compelling, valid and appropriate to all of us that I believe I should share it with as many people of goodwill as possible. Despite the seeming helplessness that many of us experience each day, we also know that life is not all sour and heavy to bear if we have faith in God.

I know most of us still have faith in our country and our people so that our leaders, inspired by the Holy Spirit through our prayers, will put things right.

Pastor Joe Wright was invited to a session of the Kansas Senate and he delivered this passionate prayer that strikes at the heart of every man and woman in this planet who believe in the existence of a Righteous God.

“Heavenly Father, we come before You today to ask for 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 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 style.

“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 embezzled public funds and called it essential expenses. We have institutionalized bribery and called it sweets of office. 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, Oh GOD, and know our hearts today. Cleanse us from every sin and set us free.”

Understandably a few state senators walked out. The prayer must have hit the guilty hard, right into their guts. Indeed, the truth does not only make us free but strikes tough on those who refuse to accept they had done the deed. Truly, only those of humble hearts can accept they have done wrong.

Should not this same prayer be said in the sessions of our congresses and sanggunians as well as assemblies of public servants? If corruption and perversion are gaining ground, it is because people no longer fear Divine Justice. Some thought they can bribe God with donations to churches and charities while milking the poor.

The content of Pastor Wright’s prayer, the fruit of keen observation of modern life, is not alien to us. We see them as well but we hardly hear them confronted in a way he did – as a petition to Heaven. Even our clergy soft-pedal and sweeten their prayers on the belief that a frank yet honest statement would hurt feelings.

A priest once said, “let us not be divisive.” Is that not queer in a sense? Did not Christ say his teachings will divide even children from their parents? Indeed, honesty is divisive but everything is a divide. There is heaven and there is hell; there is holiness as well as sinfulness, there is right and there is wrong and there is evil and there is good.

Life is full of divisiveness. Did not God tell the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and your seed and her Seed.” Will not God eventually separate the sheep from the goats, the disobedient from His followers? Will he not separate the grain from the chaff?

It is often fear of “hurting” the feelings of others that we keep silent even in the face of evil. And so, unhindered, evil spreads and triumphs where the good refuses to confront or defy it. What is that saying about evil and the failure of good to do anything?

The Philippine Church is now seen us afraid to speak, to confront. There are a few voices but they appear to be in isolation.

And so we take recourse where things can best be done, in prayer, to set us free.