Texas Governor Rick Perry may have eyes on the Republican presidential nomination, but today about 20,000 pairs of eyes were focused on him as he addressed a prayer and fasting rally on Saturday in Houston.
“Like all of you, I love this country deeply,” said Perry in his opening remarks. "Thank you all for being here – indeed the only thing that you love more is living in Christ.”
“The Response,” as the seven-hour event is being called, is allowing Perry the opportunity to appear in front of the exact audience his potential Republican rivals are seeking to attract – conservative evangelicals who are concerned about the direction of America. Polls find this demographic overwhelmingly votes Republican.
During his remarks, Perry read three portions of Scripture and asked for prayers for President Obama, the nation and the men and women who serve our country. Coming on the heels of Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, an emotional Perry focused his comments on the nation’s economy.
“Father, our heart breaks for America,” Perry said as he led the crowd in prayer. "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, blesses us, and that we cry out for your forgiveness.”
Part of the Texas Governor’s prayer was for people who had been impacted by the economic downturn. “Our hearts do break for those who suffer, those afflicted by the loss of loved ones, the pain of addiction, the strife that they may find at home – those who have lost jobs, who have lost their homes, people who have lost hope,” Perry prayed.
Perry had invited the other 49 governors. However, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was the only one who attended. Brownback, briefly joined Perry on stage after a videotaped message from Governor Rick Scott (R-Fla.) was played.
Brownback then offered his own prayer. “Loving God, forgive us our many sins: for being judgmental, unloving, focused on ourselves, lacking in mercy, hypocritical,” he said. “We are sinful and flawed; use us anyway, by and for your glory and purposes that we may all live quiet and peaceful lives. We need you. America needs you. I pray this in your name.”
The American Family Association, an organization that strongly supports traditional, pro-family positions, produced the event.