(by Chris Tomlinson, SignOnSanDiego.com) AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry has invited the nation’s governors to join him in a prayer day to seek God’s guidance to deal with the problems facing America.
The day for prayer and fasting is planned for Aug. 6 in Houston and is sponsored by the American Family Association, a Christian advocacy group. The organization’s website says the event is intended to be a non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer service.
Perry’s invitation comes on the heels of his announcement that he is considering a run for president. …..
“Given the trials that beset our nation and world, from the global economic downturn to natural disasters, the lingering danger of terrorism and continued debasement of our culture, I believe it is time to convene the leaders from each of our United States in a day of prayer and fasting, like that described in the book of Joel,” Perry said in a statement.
Titled, “The Response, A Call To Prayer for a Nation in Crisis” the event is scheduled to take place at Reliant Stadium. On the website dedicated to the event, organizers said “America is in the midst of a historic crisis.”
“We want the presence, power, and person of Christ to fill our nation and turn the hearts of millions to righteousness, peace, and joy in him,” the group’s website gives as a mission statement. “We want to see real change across our nation that only our God can perform.”
In his invitation to the other 49 governors, he urged them to also proclaim Aug. 6 a day to pray for “unity and righteousness.”
“We simply want to humbly ask our creator to intervene on behalf of our people and nation, and ask for His blessing and healing power to transform our lives,” Perry said in the letter.
Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder has already said he won’t be attending. The Republican governor said his schedule was too busy.
The Secular Coalition for America issued a statement urging governors not to attend the event.
“The last thing our officials should do in times of national struggle is promote a divisive religious event that proposes no real solutions to our country’s real-world problems,” said Sean Faircloth, executive director of the lobbying organization for secular and nontheistic Americans. “We urge all elected officials to reject Governor Perry’s invitation to attend this explicitly Christian platform for theocratic grandstanding that does nothing to offer substantive solutions to our country’s problems.”
In April, when Texas was in the middle of wildfires that burned nearly 3 million acres of the state, Perry issued an official proclamation calling for three “pray for rain days.”
Associated Press. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from The San Diego Union-Tribune. Visit the website at signonsandiego.com.
1. Why has Texas Gov. Rick Perry called for a day of prayer August 6th?
2. What is Gov. Perry urging the rest of the nation’s governors to do?
3. Re-read Gov. Perry’s statements on the day of prayer from para. 4 and 8. Do you think this is a good idea? Explain your answer.
4. Why is Sean Faircloth of the Secular Coalition for America opposed to Gov. Perry’s call to prayer?
5. Throughout U.S. history, leaders have called for prayer. Read the excerpts of prayers from other elected officials under “Background” below. Are you surprised by these prayers? Explain your answer.
Throughout America’s history, our elected officials have called for days of prayer:
This is an excerpt of President Obama’s 2011 Memorial Day Proclamation:
I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 30, 2011, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time to unite in prayer. (from whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/27/prayer-peace-memorial-day-2011)
This is text excerpted from a national fast declared by the Continental Congress on March 16, 1776:
[We the Congress] do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies;
. . . that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle, and to crown the continental arms, by sea and land, with victory and success… (from wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=56)
From the prayer President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave on the evening of June 6, 1944 [D-Day] while addressing the nation by radio:
…Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of 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…(from studentnewsdaily.com/commentary/d-day-prayer)The Continental Congress issued a day of prayer in 1775 to designate “a time for prayer in forming a new nation.”
From President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863, National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer Proclamation (during the Civil War):
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
Visit the website theresponseusa.com/why-the-response.php.
Read Gov. Perry’s proclamation at governor.state.tx.us/news/proclamation/16247.