The Response: Rick Perry's Prayer Rally Ends with Eye on Young Christians to Lead a Third Great Awakening in America
Urban Christian News: After a long period of music, the band quieted and the crowd broke out into applause as Perry returned to the stage for a closing prayer.
He thanked everyone for attending and the organizers--specifically American Family Association head Don Wildmon--for putting on the rally, which they estimate drew 30,000 people to the stadium and 100,000 to The Response site to watch online.
"This is a day that people are going to discuss for years to come," the governor said. "My hope is that it will begin the renewal of our nation. I sincerely pray that our willingness to stand in the public square to acknowledge the God who made us will inspire others to open their minds and their hearts."
He repeated portions of his earlier remarks, reminding attendees to keep leaders and the military in prayer.
"As we go out of this place, I hope you continue to pray for our nation and our leaders... that God will pour out his wisdom to them," Perry said. "I want to take a special moment and ask you to pray for our military and our familily, especially and specifically the loved ones and the warrior brothers of those special forces lost in Afghanistan yesterday. Lift them up in our prayers."
In closing, he said, "God bless you and through you, may God continue to bless this great nation that we love."
The worship band played one more song, the hymn "I Exalt Thee," before the event ended and the crowd filed out.
4:00 p.m.: Young Christians to lead the Third Great Awakening
A portion of the day's prayer has been dedicated to praying for the next generation, for young believers to carry on the legacy of Christian leaders and make broader impact into their communities. They called it the Third Great Awakening.
A string of teens spoke at the mic, giving 30 second prayers asking God to rise up young people to spread Christianity and "shine a light" in middle schools and high schools.
The pastors praying also emphasized the return of prayer in schools. The crowd--in groups of two or three--prayed Christianity to go out in specific campuses by name.
James and Shirley Dobson, two of the biggest names in 20th-century American Christianity (known for their role in Focus on the Family), prayed on behalf of youth, as did Don Wildmon, of the American Family Association, the controversial Christian group who sponsored The Response.
He apologized for the fault of his generation and said, "We pray that you will give them the ability and the desire to begin to clean up the mess we left them."
Youth groups from across Texas drove in to Houston to attend the event, in buses filled with kids from Christian homes and new believers fresh out of Christian summer camp.
"I didn't expect it to be like this," said 14-year-old Josh Hutchison, who rededicated his life to Christ earlier this summer. "It's big, but you can feel that the people are warm, it's like a celebration. I have been praying about everything, about football, about my relationship with God."
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