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As he looked around at the situation in the country, Texas Governor Rick Perry decided it was time to call for prayer. Governor Perry scheduled a prayer event at Reliant Stadium in Houston, and invited everyone including the nation’s 49 other governors. In his invitation, Perry described the event in biblical terms saying, “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 United States in a day of prayer and fasting, like that described in the book of Joel.”

Though Perry said the event would be non-denominational and apolitical, only two of the nation’s governors responded immediately. Many others declined the invitation citing scheduling conflicts though one signed a proclamation supporting the event and others proclaimed days of prayer in their own states. A few declined saying they had not gotten around to looking at their schedules that far in advance. Mark Jones, a professor of government at Rice University said he wasn’t surprised by the response. He suggested the reasons could be political. Though Jones predicted the event will be well attended, he thought Republican candidates feared losing support from moderates, and added, “For a democrat there is nothing to be gained by attending, and politically its best for them to quietly decline.”

--2 of 49 governors accept invitation to Perry’s prayer rally, ; July 15, 2011. Illustration by Jim L. Wilson and Jim Sandell.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

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