Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s historic national call to prayer and fasting, The Response: For a Nation in crisis, is this Saturday, August 6, when Americans from across the nation will join together on our knees in Reliant Stadium in Houston to repent and pray in one accord to God Almighty for our nation. The doors open at 8 am. The program is from 10 am to 5 pm. Hear Gov. Perry’s personal invitation here: www.theresponseusa.com.
There have been legitimate questions and some accusations about The Response. I’ll attempt to answer some of them here.
- Is there a charge to attend or to park? There is no charge to attend, but please visit www.theresponseusa.com and click on REGISTER to register your group to attend. There is a $15 cash charge for parking at Reliant Stadium.
Here is Tom Billings, Director of Missions for the Houston Baptist Association of churches, speaking with first-hand knowledge about The Response.
- Is this political? No. Gov. Perry approached a friend about filling a stadium with Americans praying and fasting in December. It took several months to find a location. First they tried Cowboy Stadium in Arlington but finally secured Reliant Stadium in Houston. I think the name is significant – Reliant – reliant upon God! Doug Stringer, founder of Somebody Cares International based in Houston (www.somebodycares.org), had prayed about a Joel 2 Solemn Assembly for two years. When he got a call about The Response, Doug knew the time was right.
Rev. Carolyn Gilbert, founder of Missionaries with the Vision endorses The Response:
Rev. Carolyn Gilbert
There will be at least two other Governors on the platform praying or reading scripture. There will be no political speeches, which would be illegal for a 501(c) 3 organization to have. There will be some food sold for those who have to eat and lots of bottled water for the thousands who will be fasting. There will be no booths to pass out literature, no sermons and no offering. The Governor initiated the event, but he's not planning it. It's prayer people that are doing the program. And thousands of Christians will travel to Houston to get on their knees before the Lord and cry out to our Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in unity. It's not a theological unity or a political unity but an agreement in PRAYER and FASTING that God is our only hope.
- Will Gov. Perry announce a run for President at The Response? No – absolutely not! The Response will be prayer, repentance worship and scripture reading. Although Gov. Perry will have a few minutes on the program, his words will be about prayer, fasting and an appeal to the Lord, calling on our Father in the name of Jesus in unity with all gathered to forgive our sins.
Below is a portion of a response that Dr. Richard Land, noted Southern Baptist leader, penned in answer to the above concerns:
- When I look at The Endorsers and organizers of The Response, I can find some people that I don’t agree with theologically. Is Gov. Perry endorsing all these different theological views? Should I participate if I don’t agree with everyone who has endorsed The Response? Gov. Perry is not endorsing the Endorsers and the Endorsers are not endorsing Gov. Perry. They’re endorsing a call to prayer and fasting that an elected official initiated. See the diversity here. http://theresponseusa.com/honorary-co-chairs.php
Christians don’t require unanimity on every point to agree that coming together to pray for repentance and blessing upon a nation in crisis is both proper and prudent. Those participating in The Response have serious and justifiable concerns about the state of the culture and America’s very future. As president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s moral and social concerns entity, I often work alongside others who agree on addressing an ethical issue, but whose faith principles may be somewhat at odds with mine. In fact, my denomination’s confession of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message addresses this matter: “Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth” (BFM, XV. The Christian and the Social Order)….
Finally, at the very least The Response’s divergent group of endorsers demonstrates that evangelical Christians are a much less homogenous, monolithic group than the mainstream media has often asserted. Richard Land | Jul 14, 2011 3:31 PM
Below is a link to an article from Christian Broadcasting Network to help clear up the marriage issue.
- Headlines from a Christian newsletter states, “News reports reveal that on July 22nd, Governor Perry stated that he has no problem with gay marriage in New York. Are pro-family leaders that have agreed with boycotting secular companies for their support of gay marriage now going to be consistent and boycott Perry's prayer event?” Should Christians boycott The Response? No. We are not asking for agreement on issues, theology or political parties. We’re agreeing in prayer. However, on the issue of marriage, Kelly Shackelford, president of Liberty Institute, which is the Texas affiliate for Focus on the Family, states, “Gov. Perry has always supported the Federal Marriage Amendment. That’s never changed. It’s been public. He was trying to say, but maybe not well, that he favors the Federal Marriage Amendment and that is consistent with the 10th Amendment.”
- I heard that an atheist group filed suit against Gov. Perry for initiating and talking about The Response? Will the atheists succeed? No. On July 28, a federal judge kicked the lawsuit out of court. See: “Huge Win for Free Speech! Judge Tosses Lawsuit Against Texas Governor and Prayer Rally” below:
In closing, let me ask for your prayers -- for those working on The Response, for the Endorsers, for those mobilizing for it all over the nation and for Gov. Perry. There is a price to pay for standing and calling the nation to prayer and for aligning yourselves with such a call. People you and I love and trust have been drug through the mud by Rachel Maddow and others on the left. I apologize for this one, but you need to see that the attack is not just against Gov. Perry and those of us working on The Response. It's against the Lord. If you don’t want to see and hear Colbert’s vulgarity, disregard this. Watch the video only at your own risk and only if you cover your heart and mind because of the vulgarity:
May the Lord forgive us and have mercy on those who have no fear of God. Texas has been in extreme drought. Although there has been rain in several places across the state, wildfires still burn in many parts of the state. I wouldn't be the least surprised if it rains and breaks the drought and if the Lord places a rainbow over the gathering of believers humbling themselves before the Lord and confessing our reliance upon God alone in Reliant Stadium.
- How can I find transportation from my area? There are buses going from many cities – Lufkin, Tyler, Center, Del Rio, the Rio Grande Valley, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and many other places. I don’t have all the information. There is still room in San Antonio through Cornerstone Church. A $30 ticket much be purchased in advance. Call 210-490-1600 to set up a pick-up and payment time. In the Metroplex, contact Dr. Shirley Clark at Jabez Prayer Network at firstname.lastname@example.org or (972) 424-2074. Take your church vans, car pool and make the trip to Houston!
A huge thanks to all who have worked tirelessly to mobilize your area and to pray for The Response. So many of you have tapped your relationships and used your influence to encourage your networks to attend The Response. Every email and phone call is appreciated. I pray even now that plans will be changed to be in Houston. It’s a date with destiny.
- What are the most important three words for this national call to prayer? Just show up! By showing up in Houston, you will be making a statement: “I’m crossing denominational, racial and political lines to call upon God Almighty. My prayers may not be heard by the media or anyone else around me, but the Lord will hear. I’m turning my back on the controversy and accusations to turn my face to our Father, who is in heaven, to hallow His name and to ask the Lord to forgive us personally and corporately. May our demonstration of humility, worship and intercession bless the Lord and may He hear from heaven and forgive our sins.
Live streaming will be available at www.theresponseusa.com beginning at 9 am CT on August 6.
Alice Patterson - President Justice at the Gate
P.S. Here’s what a Jewish rabbi wrote in The Texas Jewish Post, Thursday, July 28 2011.
Be encouraged! Don’t feel threatened by Perry’s prayer day.
To the Editor,
On Aug. 6, 2011, Texas Governor Rick Perry will host “A Call To Prayer,” an all-day Christian fast and prayer service at Reliant Stadium in Houston, seeking Divine assistance for the health, security and prosperity of our nation. As a rabbi, I was touched by his public recognition of the limited role government can play in fixing problems rooted in the spirit, self-centered values and near-sighted vision. Free pills can’t fix soul-ills. Prayer and fasting—improving ourselves as a means to improve the world around us—is a basic tenet of the Judeo-Christian creed that has made America exceptional in deed, why it has selflessly helped nations in need. It is why America rebuilt Europe after WWII and why it has rebuilt parts of the Middle East as part of its war on radical Islamic terror. It is these values that secularists find most alarming. It is the spirit of this country, the Judeo-Christian value system which inspires the Heartland, that they seek to downplay, discourage and disengage.
Dear Governor, may God find favor in your prayer and may this nation be protected from threats within and without, achieving deliverance that only God can bring about.
Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt, Dallas