Texas Governor Rick Perry has made national headlines for his call for a national day of prayer and fasting which was held at Houston’s Reliant Stadium and called The Response. Days of prayer and fasting have been called by our Founding fathers, Abraham Lincoln, Britain’s Parliament during WWII and Mahatma Gandhi. Therefore this Oregonian was curious on what would this modern call to fasting and prayer would look like?
From the very first moment you walked in Reliant Stadium you could tell that this was altogether unique event. The focus was on prayer and therefore no speakers were announced in advance and they were limited to seven minutes (a miracle within itself!). No merchandise, no books, no brochures, no vendor tables, no sponsors, no flyers, no flags and amazingly no request for donations!!!!! The” no frills” prayer event became a serious and unyielding seven hours of worship and prayer on four key topics (1) Personal repentance (2) Corporate Repentance (3) The First Commandment and (4) Prayer for Revival.
The event began with a bang. Some 30,000 people began praying and singing songs of personal repentance. You could instantly feel waves of tears, forgiveness, sincerity and heart pleas as the whole stadium sang the refrain “Lord have mercy” over and over again. It was truly powerful and difficult to explain in this article just how moving this time was for everyone around me. A man with half a hand took the podium and shared on how losing his fingers in an accident helped him realize that God does not spare our lives from hard times and how we need to repent for trying to force God into giving us everything we want in life. It was a great testimony.
Another speaker said something equally as profound when he said in effect, “We are not here to blame others. We are responsible for the conditions of our nation. ” It became a common theme as another speaker said “If we want to fix America. Fix the Church.”
Texas Governor Rick Perry read a few verses on prayer and fasting that defined the event and said that “God does not have a political agenda. He has a salvation agenda.” In organizing the event, Governor Rick Perry called upon other governors to participate and they did. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback spoke as well as Florida Governor Rick Scott who delivered his message by video.
The latter half of the day was much more muddled when compared to the flawless and powerfully focused first half. More the speakers seemed to veer off topic or go long. After four hours of non-stop worship and high velocity preaching, it was beginning to wear many people out who were already a little weak from fasting. There was simply no moment of silence or slow down in the event as it continued for another three hours. In a fresh approach to prayer, they had a line of younger generation people across from a line of seniors with each person praying for the other generation.
People were faithful to the end and there was a feeling among us all that we just participated in something real and remarkable. Over 1,000 sites across America held video links to The Response event. It was a historic, positive and a good model for others who wish to host gatherings calling people to pray and repent.
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