Thousands Expected at 'The Response' Prayer Rally

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HOUSTON -- More than 8,000 Americans will respond Saturday to a call by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to gather in Houston's Reliant Stadium for a time of prayer and fasting for the nation.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez calls the event, dubbed "The Response," a national convocation.

"If this nation will repent, seek God then we will see and seek and find the solution that we need to (on) so many of these issues that we are confronting," Rodriguez said.

The event starts Saturday at 10 a.m. Eastern and will end at 5 p.m. with prayer for the nation's youth. Click The Response to see it live Aug. 6. The event is free.

The rally is unprecedented, not necessarily because of the size of the crowd expected, but because an elected leader, the governor of one of the largest states in the union, is leading the charge.

Ever conscious of the nation's economic woes, Perry told CBN News "I'm going to be praying for our country's economic prosperity."

"There's just so many people that can't take care of their family because government's over taxed, over regulated, over litigated and caused roadblocks to economic prosperity -- and I don't see any relief in sight," he said.
     
The Freedom from Religion Foundation recently filed a lawsuit to stop Perry from sponsoring the event. Although a judge threw the case out, criticism of the prayer rally has continued.

"I dare say he's used the time right here in this building to promote this thing and to advertise it," one protester said. "I can't imagine that he's just doing this at home, just at night, and on the weekends. He's got his staff working for him and so forth."
     
Perry has also been accused of using the event to catapult his expected bid for the Republican nomination for president - a charge he denies.

"This is me, just me, private citizen Rick Perry," he said. "As I take that stage, yeah, I'm going to be the governor or Texas, but this is about me and God."

Rodriguez agreed.

"It's not about the agenda of the donkey or the elephant," the reverend insisted. "This is a gathering of the agenda of the Lamb."

Those who can't attend The Response can watch it streaming online. People as far away as Indonesia have already said they plan to log in.

"We think it's gonna be a powerful event that will help us really get this country back on track again through the power of prayer,"  Response spokesman Eric Bearse said.

CBN News' Jennifer Wishon will have a report from The Response, U.S.A. on Monday's "The 700 Club."  Check local listings.  Also see her report on the CBNNewschannel.com and on CBNNews.com.    

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Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.