(Photo: Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)
Believing that prayer is the only way to solve America's problems, Texas Gov. and potential GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is inviting all U.S. governors and Christian leaders to join a prayer rally in Houston later this summer.
Organizers of The Response expect thousands to gather on August 6 at Reliant Stadium for the daylong prayer and fasting event.
"Right now, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy," Perry states on the event's website.
"Some problems are beyond our power to solve, and according to the Book of Joel, Chapter 2, this historic hour demands a historic response," the Texas governor's invitation letter continues.
"There is hope for America. It lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees."
Perry has turned to prayer several times in his office, even declaring a statewide three-day period of prayer during a drought in April.
Last week, the Texas governor issued a statement defending a valedictorian's right to pray at her graduation after a federal judge banned the prayer. State Attorney General Greg Abbott was successful in obtaining an emergency appeal to allow the graduation prayer but the lawsuit is still pending in federal court.
For The Response, Perry will be teaming up with Don Wildmon, president of the pro-family advocacy group American Family Association, and staff members of the International House of Prayer to host the event.
The prayer gathering is based on the biblical passage from Joel 2 where two prophets say a nation in crisis should hold a "solemn assembly" and return their hearts to God "with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning."
The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
On the Web: The Response
[UPDATE 6/6 6:03 P.M.]
After the story on The Response prayer rally was published, Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued an official proclamation declaring August 6 as a Day of Prayer.
The following is the full text of his proclamation:
In 1775, the Continental Congress asked the colonies to join in prayer, seeking wisdom as they faced the responsibility and opportunity of building a new nation. As leaders of that young nation assembled in 1787 to craft a Constitution, Benjamin Franklin implored the framers to pray for guidance, famously declaring, "The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men." Decades later, during a time of national turmoil, President John Adams declared "a day of solemn humiliation, fasting and prayer," asking citizens of all faiths to pray for America's protection from danger. Later, as civil war tore our young country apart, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of national fasting and prayer, saying "It behooves us ... to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray to the God that made us." During World War II, with our troops locked in battle on the beaches of France, President Franklin D. Roosevelt led the nation in prayer, "As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts."
Given the trials that have beset our country and world - from the global economic downturn to natural disasters, the lingering danger of terrorism and wars that endanger our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and theaters of conflict around the globe, and the decline of our culture in the context of the demise of families - it seems imperative that the people of our nation should once again join together for a solemn day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our troubled nation.
In times of trouble, even those who have been granted power by the people must turn to God in humility for wisdom, mercy and direction. In the spirit of the Book of Joel, Chapter 2, Verses 15-16, I urge a solemn gathering of prayer and fasting. As those verses admonish: "15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly... 16 Gather the people, consecrate the assembly..." As Jesus prayed publicly for the benefit of others in John 11:41-42, so should we express our faith in this way.
THEREFORE, I invite my fellow Texans to join me on August 6 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, as we pray for unity and righteousness - for this great state, this great nation and all mankind. I urge Americans of faith to pray on that day for the healing of our country, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of enduring values as our guiding force.
THEREFORE, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby proclaim August 6, 2011, to be
A Day of Prayer and Fasting for Our Nation
in Texas, and urge the appropriate recognition whereof.
In official recognition whereof, I hereby affix my signature this the 23rd day of May, 2011.
Governor of Texas