PhotoThe image of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was projected as he preached to a crowd of thousands in Houston. Credit Michael Stravato for The New York Times
HOUSTON — Standing on a stage surrounded by thousands of fellow Christians on Saturday morning, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas called on Jesus to bless and guide the nation’s military and political leaders and “those who cannot see the light in the midst of all the darkness.”
“Lord, you are the source of every good thing,” Mr. Perry said, as he bowed his head, closed his eyes and leaned into a microphone at Reliant Stadium here. “You are our only hope, and we stand before you today in awe of your power and in gratitude for your blessings, and humility for our sins. Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government, and as a nation we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us, and for that we cry out for your forgiveness.”
In a 13-minute address, Mr. Perry read several passages from the Bible during a prayer rally he sponsored. Thousands of people stood or kneeled in the aisles or on the concrete floor in front of the stage, some wiping away tears and some shouting, “Amen!”
PhotoParticipants pray and sing during “The Response,” a national day of prayer called by Gov. Rick Perry of Texas at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Saturday. Credit Michael Stravato for The New York Times
The rally was seen as one of the biggest tests of Mr. Perry’s political career, coming as he nears a decision on whether to seek the Republican nomination for president. While the event will be sure to help Mr. Perry if he tries to establish himself as the religious right’s favored candidate, it also opens him up to criticism for mixing religion and politics in such a grand and overtly Christian fashion.
In many ways, the rally was unprecedented, even in Texas, where faith and politics have long intersected without much controversy — the governor, as both a private citizen and an elected leader, delivering a message to the Lord at a Christian prayer rally he created, while using his office’s prestige, letterhead, Web site and other resources to promote it. Mr. Perry said he wanted people of all faiths to attend, but Christianity dominated the service and the religious affiliations of the crowd. The prayers were given in Jesus Christ’s name, and the many musical performers sang of Christian themes of repentance and salvation.
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Mr. Perry, a lifelong Methodist who regularly attends an evangelical megachurch near his home in West Austin, has been speaking and preaching in sanctuaries throughout Texas since he was state agricultural commissioner in the 1990s. Organizers for the event, called The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis, estimated that more than 30,000 people were at Reliant Stadium when Mr. Perry spoke. The seating capacity is 71,500, and tens of thousands of seats in the upper decks were empty.
PhotoWorshipers at The Response, a daylong prayer and fast rally on Saturday. Credit Pat Sullivan/Associated Press
“I wish you could see what I see here,” announced Luis Cataldo, a leader of the International House of Prayer, a Christian ministry in Kansas City, Mo., as the event began at 10 a.m. “This is the body of Christ.”
While those on the stage avoided making overt political statements or expressions of political support for Mr. Perry, many in the audience made it clear in interviews that they would vote for the governor should he enter the presidential race.
Liz Lara, 62, who lives in La Vernia, Tex., drove about 200 miles to Houston with her daughter and two grandchildren to attend the rally. She said the family came to support Mr. Perry and pray for God’s help in solving the nation’s problems. “I believe that God has prepared Rick Perry for such a time as this,” she said. “I believe he will be our next president.”
Video Gov. Rick Perry Holds Prayer Rally
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas held a day of prayer and fasting called “The Response.”
By None None on Publish Date August 6, 2011. . Watch in Times Video »
At one point, Mr. Perry asked those in the audience to pray for President Obama. “Father, we pray for our president, that you impart your wisdom upon him, that you would guard his family,” he said.
Mr. Perry addressed the crowd nine days after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against him by a national group of atheists arguing that his participation in the rally in his official capacity as governor violated the First Amendment’s requirement of separation of church and state.
Members and supporters of that group, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, were among dozens of people protesting outside the stadium. Others included gay activists who criticized Mr. Perry for supporting the American Family Association, which organized and financed the rally. The association is a conservative evangelical group based in Mississippi that is listed as an antigay hate group by the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center.
Mr. Perry had invited his fellow governors to join him, but only Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a Republican, attended. Gov. Rick Scott of Florida made a video statement that was played in the stadium.
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This year, our nation has experienced unprecedented natural disasters, extensive decay of moral and Biblical principles, continuing economic disarray … and we are in need of Divine intervention. Texas Governor Rick Perry is calling for a National Solemn Assembly called The Response: A Call to Prayer For a Nation in Crisis, on Saturday, August 6, 2011, in Reliant Stadium (indoors) in Houston, Texas. Inviting the other 49 Governors, along with the rest of America, to join him, Governor Perry cited Scripture (specifically referring to Joel 2) as the answer for the struggles facing America.
At WallBuilders, we try to support – and encourage others to support! – events that bring our focus back to our Godly heritage and protecting the legacy that God has given us in this great nation. We ask that you prayerfully consider attending and supporting this great event. You can find out more information on The Response in the following information.
The Response Promo from The Response USA on Vimeo.
The Response is a call to prayer for a nation in crisis today, August 6 2011. I would encourage all of you to tune into the live stream. We need to take a stand for our nation.
Click here to tune-in.
What was your response?
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I would use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
, Christian Post Contributor
| Thursday, May 05, 2016Eric Metaxas is an Evangelical speaker and bestselling author.
Of course we should pray for our country. But how? What should we be praying for such a time as this? I’ve got some suggestions.
Let’s face it, as Thomas Paine once said, these are the times that try men’s souls. America is in crisis, from within and without. We face new threats of terrorism on our shores, millions of angry and disenfranchised citizens, a reduction in moral standards, a contentious and unpredictable election, and a secular elite intent on restricting foundational principles such as religious liberty and freedom of speech.
As my colleague and friend John Stonestreet says, “If there’s ever been a time to drop to our knees and pray for our nation, this is it.” Indeed.
And we’ll be in good company. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”
We pray because, in our own wisdom and strength, we’re insufficient for the challenges we face. While one of the most appealing things about American people is our indomitable “can-do” spirit, the fact is, sometimes we “can’t do”! We have nowhere else to go, except to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Kneeling before God in times of overwhelming crisis is also a part of our American DNA.
In my book “7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness,” I recount a story of George Washington’s commitment to prayer during the Revolution. His nephew, George Lewis, told a Washington biographer that “he had accidentally witnessed private devotions in his library both morning and evening: that on these occasions he had seen him in a kneeling position with a Bible open before him and that he believed such to have been his daily practice.”
And this Thursday, on the National Day of Prayer, the Colson Center staff will gather to pray with a specific focus on how Christ’s church — the people of God — can make a difference in our culture and around the world. We would be honored if you’d join us.
And we’ve prepared a guide you can download, print out, and use for free. And here’s what we will pray:
1. We will praise the Lord that His sovereign goodness is as true today as ever.
We will remember that this world ultimately belongs to God, Who created all things and Who, in Christ, is restoring all things.
2. We will repent of our sin, and thank God for His promised forgiveness.
We will remind ourselves that all have sinned, and that we are welcomed by God through repentance. Nehemiah began his work in the world with repentance. So will we.
3. We will pray for our current government leaders to fight evil and stand up for truth.
We will remember that there is no place where God is not at work.
4. We will pray that truth and justice will prevail over “political correctness” and “tolerance,” both in our own lives and in our culture.
We will remember that right and wrong do not change according to cultural fashions, nor does legality alter morality.
5. We will pray for the upcoming election season, that God would show us mercy and not give us what we deserve.
We will remember that God ultimately orchestrates human history and uses whom He will to accomplish His purposes.
6. We will pray that God unites His people, using them to bring restoration in this broken culture.
We’ll remember that those who have been reconciled to God have been put on mission as agents of reconciliation.
Folks, as we pray, we must remember what is true about God, about the Church, and about the world. So go to BreakPoint.org/free to download our one-page prayer guide, and join us for the National Day of Prayer.
Originally posted at breakpoint.org.
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