Overcoming a legal challenge by those charging him with violating the separation of church and state, Rick Perry, the Christian Governor of Texas, called for a day of prayer. On Saturday, over 30,000 believers gathered for prayer at The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis held at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Secularists and champions of the so-called separation of church and state decried the event as they always do. But Perry sees our national problems as a spiritual disorder, not a mere economic problem.
God bless Governor Perry. At the prayer rally, he read Scripture and then humbly called on Jesus praying, “Lord, you are the source of every good thing … 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.”
This was on the same weekend that Standard & Poors, the giant credit rating agency, downgraded America’s national credit standing because there is questionable government ability to solve our problems and the recent budget efforts did not go far enough. As our financial standing buckled, Perry’s thousands bowed before God for His divine help.
Though it is belittled and maligned by opponents, massive repentance and focused prayer alone is our only hope. Perry’s call for prayer follows the precedent of our founders who pleaded for divine guidance in 1774. George Washington urged his troops in Christian conduct and had prayer and Bible reading in his military tent each day for the eight years of the Revolutionary War. As president, he called for national days of prayer.
Abraham Lincoln also proclaimed these days of national prayer and repentance as have most U.S. presidents including Barak Obama, who cited Lincoln in last May’s National Day of Prayer proclamation. “Prayer has played an important role in the American story and in shaping our Nation’s leaders. President Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.’” And the proclamation ends as do almost every one of approximately 100 annual presidential proclamations, with the phrase, “In the year of our Lord,” meaning Jesus Christ.
Perry did in Texas only what the President does in Washington. If citizens of both state and nation heed these calls, there is hope for the country.
When I receive phone calls soliciting financial support for politicians and political parties, I say something to this effect. “You get nothing from me until you recognize that our problems are not financial but spiritual.” Thankfully, Rick Perry already understands that.