Today is the day Texas Governor Rick Perry called on Americans to pray and fast for our country. "The Response" (http://www.theresponseusa.com/) is going on as I type this and I have the Live Web Stream open on another page. The band and crowd are singing "Nothing But The Blood of Jesus." People from all over the country are there, raising their hands and their hearts to heaven, asking God to have mercy on our country. As Governor Perry stated when asked about the reason for the The Response: "America is in the midst of a historic crisis. We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. The youth of America are in grave peril economically, socially, and, most of all, morally. There are threats emerging within our nation and beyond our borders beyond our power to solve."
You may not believe in God. You may not believe in prayer. You may think such an event goes against the separation of Church and State. But you cannot dispute the truth of his words about America. About the world, really. So why, I ask, would anyone mind if Governor Perry and thousands of others pray for our country? If God isn't real, it's a waste of their time not yours. If God is real and hears their cries for mercy, you benefit from their belief and sacrifice.
Critics believe Governor Perry is only after the Republican nomination. At this point, only Governor Perry and maybe his wife know if that is true. He hasn't said if he'll run or not. But if he does and this was all a political move, does that matter?
Not to me and I'll tell you why.
This morning I read Isaiah 58. It's all about fasting and the motives of our hearts when we do "religious" things. In this chapter, God is speaking through the prophet Isaiah to His chosen people, the Israelites. Apparently the people have been fasting without pure motives. Verse 4 reads: "Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high."
Fasting is not about going without food just so you can give the appearance of being holy. God is not fooled by our acts! 1 Samuel 16:7 says God "looks at the heart" of a man, not what's on the outside. He will see if our hearts are sincere in our prayers and our fasting and our Bible reading and our whatever else we do in His name.
It's God's place to judge whether or not Gov. Perry is sincere in his prayers. Just as He will judge if I am or if you are. But whether or not Perry's motive was political, the 30,000+ people that showed up there to pray and fast are definitely not running for President. They are there to pray for a country that desperately needs it.
Isaiah 58:8-14 goes on to tell us what will happen when our prayers and fasting are sincere.
"THEN your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will appear. THEN your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. THEN you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I." (v. 8-9)
I will join Gov. Perry and the others in prayer for our country, for our President, for our leaders, for our people. I hope you will too.