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Praying for rain in Texas
Crews battle a wildfire threatning a home in Strawn, Texas, earlier this week.
April 22nd, 2011
04:39 PM ET

Praying for rain in Texas

By Emily Smith and Josh Rubin, CNN

Austin, Texas (CNN) - Texas’ water problems seem to have reached almost biblical proportions with a record drought, statewide wildfires and shrinking aquifers plaguing the Lone Star State.

On Monday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked for federal aid in containing the raging fires that have already claimed two lives. On Thursday, Perry turned to an even higher power by declaring the upcoming holiday weekend “Days of Prayer for Rain.”

The proclamation reads:

WHEREAS, throughout our history, both as a state and as individuals, Texans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up through prayer; it seems right and fitting that the people of Texas should join together in prayer to humbly seek an end to this devastating drought and these dangerous wildfires;

I, RICK PERRY, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas. I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on that day for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal and robust way of life.

Praying for rain is not a new phenomenon. Religions the world over have sent prayers for precipitation to their respective gods.

But does praying for rain work? In 2007, after a drier-than-usual summer, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue successfully prayed for rain. While Georgia did get some relief from its record drought, unfortunately there wasn’t enough of a deluge to stave off water rationing and restrictions. At least not that year anyway -– December 2009 saw record rainfall totals across the state, prompting some less-religious constituents to question the length of time it took God to answer their governor’s prayers.

This weekend in Texas, some parts are expected to remain dry and windy, but cooler temperatures and higher humidity in others parts are giving emergency crews some relief. CNN meteorologist Sean Morris said thunderstorms are expected in the region this weekend, but they may not be of much help –- rainfall is expected to be low, and the lightning could spark further wildfires.

Time will tell if the prayers of Gov. Perry and the people of Texas will be answered.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Environment • Politics • Prayer • Texas

soundoff (405 Responses)
  1. Trollface9

    I guess everything really IS bigger in Texas. Also Perry is an idiot and anybody who voted for him deserves the crappy leadership role and religious nonsense he brings to the job. Morons.

    April 22, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  2. Larry L

    Pray in one hand and crap in the other. See which one fills up first... It seems to me the Bible Belt has been getting hit way harder than more educated regions. Must not be praying/begging hard enough.

    April 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  3. guest

    Why do all the atheists, agnostics and otherwise feel the need to come out and comment in full force on the religion blogs? And with such hostility...

    It makes me feel the need to put out there that I do believe in God and in the power of prayer. I respece others' rights to disagree, but I want to show support for the believers. Don't let naysayers get you down.

    April 22, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Ituri

      The reason we come out is because proclaiming your intent to pray in the face of a real disaster is not only pointless, but counterproductive.

      When you get down to the facts, the real measurable facts, prayer does NOTHING. Even the happy feeling it gives a person is temporary. When mroe people have lost their homes and livelyhoods, how many will ask for prayer then? Far more likely they'll ask for a place to sleep thats safe, or a hot meal, because those are real benefits to having a society that cares for one another. Prayer is a cop out that serves no purpose but ones selfish desire to feel he's done something, when in fact he's done NOTHING.

      For a governor to incite prayer when he should have led state services to PREVENT THE FIRESTORM IN THE FIRST PLACE is not only useless, its outright neglect. A California governor that enacts prayer above fire prevention would be hung from the gallows before the smoldering was done.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Scott

      Atheists are like chihuahua's. They are the smallest group so they make up for it by attempting to make the most noise. Pray that they may see the truth, because they could not be more wrong.

      April 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Ituri

      Scott there would be a great example of how prayer does nothing at all. He can't counter my POINTS, so he makes some vapid comment about chihuahuas and seeing "the truth" through prayer.

      Of course, he means the bubble vision of his religions "truth," and he's not interested in any other version, since he LIKES his opinion so very very much.

      The fires coming! Quick, everyone bow down and worship god, so that he might decide which ones of you prayed hard enough and burn alive those who don't mean it hard enough! Great vision...

      April 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • runswithbeer

      SIMPLE "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; " The Governor of the State of Texas has used his position as Governor to OFFICIALLY PROSELYTIZE his religious beliefs. Pure and simple.

      April 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • MB26

      I don't object to people having faith, I object to incredibly stupid manifestations of faith. Like praying for Rain.

      April 22, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • Info

      @scott
      Actually scott Atheists are the 3rd largest at over 1.1. million 2nd is Islam 1.5 million and 1st is Christianity at 2.1 million

      by far not the smallest and growing more everyday, islam is too and Christianity is shrinking, please get your facts strait.

      April 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Scott

      What? I should grouse about religion on the golf bolog?

      April 22, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  4. Ituri

    Far better for a state with a KNOWN tendency toward dry, hot summers to PREPARE for such events, rather than wait for them to happen, then demand federal aid they earlir DISPARAGED while pretending prayer is going to save them.

    We don't pray for fire prevention in California. We hire firefighters, brave men and women who work year round, and plan even a year in advance, for the fire season to come. Because we KNOW its a risk and we KNOW how to mitigate that risk with real planning and prevention methods.

    So what does Texas do? Let everything grow and shrivel until the entire state is a tinderbox waiting for one opportunistic arsonist?

    April 22, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Chris in Austin

      I love most things about California, having been stationed there for 5 years, but you are a complete tool...how in the hell do you prepare for wildfires? And Cali is known for having some of the worst wildfires in the history of the U.S. Did you not prepare for those?

      Do you think our firefighters only work part of the year, idiot?

      April 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Ituri

      Hardly a tool. You prepare for them by YEAR ROUND sending out teams, evaluating the environment and weather trends, comparing past trends (firestorms in Cali come about every 3 to 4 years on average), future projections, and physical efforts to stop new burns from going out of control. By physical efforts, I mean clearing brush enmass, setting control burns, and training to quickly control new wild fires. We also have contractual agreements with the military in the state to get near-instant relief for overworked fire squads in the form of military trained fire relief, plus the added bonus of military grade equipment, such as dump planes that scoop water out of the Pacific.

      So how much of this does Texas do?

      April 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Chris in Austin

      I'm not sure...let me consult my "What Does Texas Do Year Round to Prevent Fires" manual. Oh, yep, it says right here that we do all of those things as well. Except, of course, to scoop the water from the Pacific.

      To think that we just sit here all year and then reactively respond to wildfires is asinine. After all, our state isn't bankrupt. We can actually afford to pay our firefighters!

      April 22, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Ituri

      So you ask a question you already know the answer to, then you make some irrelevant financial quip. Funny how you think you're helping your case.

      From what I've read, the Texas fire prevention system is antiquated and overrun with beaurocracy and bad policy. Also, there is that big puddle beneath you. You know, its called the Gulf of Mexico? Its got water too, last I checked.

      April 22, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Chris in Austin

      WOW, you can read a map...yes, the Gulf of Mexico is right here by Texas. That's why I said we didn't scoop water from the Pacific.

      I don't know what you've been reading – I'm guessing High Times – but our fire prevention system is certainly not antiquated, and we don't just sit around praying for fires not to happen.

      April 22, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Fred Jones

      Chris, I think Texas has a budget deficit of about 15 billion this year. So much for planning ahead.

      April 23, 2011 at 1:33 am |
  5. keeth in cali

    Let it burn.

    April 22, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Mark Miner

      Hey, Keeth, when Cali goes up in smoke once again, as it is wont to do, we will show more class towards the people of your state. Same thing with your earthquakes and mudslides. I feel sorry for the people of California who have to put up with people like you.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Chris in Austin

      This proud Texan was once stationed in Cali, and misses it pretty often. Contrary to popular belief, most Californians are awesome people. This guy is definitely the exception to the rule, and can't even spell Keith properly.

      April 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Chris124

      Keeth.. I sincerely hope your life, your family, your pets, your home, your livelihood.. are never threatened by fire (or any other natural danger). However, keep in mind that what goes around comes around. Be careful what you wish for.

      April 22, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Scott

      @ Mark Miner: Having lived in California all my life I can tell you it’s like a bowl of cereal. If you take away all the fruits and nuts all you have left is the flakes

      April 22, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  6. truth-seek

    By the way, for you true believers, I just checked my underwear and I have a skitter that looks just like the baby jesus. I'm selling it to the highest bidder!!!

    April 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  7. mikeA

    Sounds a bit like Australia, doesn't it. Scoffing at environmental protection, and declaring a pray for rain day so we can return to our "normal" way of life. We should have a statewide wash your car day instead. That will get it to rain!

    April 22, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  8. truth-seek

    What would the governor's prayers sound like? This grown man governor kneels beside his bed and says "please god, please, please, please stop these fires in this state. Please god, after all this is your chosen, favorite country and you won't possibly let anything all that bad happen to the US, of course. I know that the fires in texas are a minute problem compared to how bad things are for some people outside of texas, but please help texas, or at least don't mess with texas". What a total DA. I feel so sorry for us all that we put our trust in leaders that put their trust in a fictional character. It's dangerous that our elected leaders think that a man in the sky is going to help us. Grow up rick and grow up all of you DAs that think that some santa clause in the sky favors the US.

    April 22, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  9. Toby

    Once mankind gets it through its collective thick head that gods (ALL gods, goddesses, devils, angels, etc) are fictions, we can progress. Until then, we are stuck in the tomb of credulity and stupidity. Peace.

    April 22, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  10. SurRy

    Sometimes I am so embarrassed to be an American. Sigh.

    April 22, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Chris124

      Then go somewhere else. If you can't be a part of the solution, then you're part of the problem.

      April 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  11. rainbug

    These same Texans otherwise can't stand rain even for single day if there is no wild fires!!

    The summers are brutal here. Just couple of months back, when it snowed for just a single day,, every Texan claimed that they are tired of cold weather and can't wait for Summer..well ,wish granted ...you need to be careful of what you wish for..

    I am form Europe and we really enjoy occassional rain..

    April 22, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  12. Burbank

    I guess this is just more "junk science" global warming evidence??? Same with all the increasingly fierce, record breaking weather the earth over for the last 20 years?? This is not normal people! I'm 60 years old and have watched it change. Doing something about overpopulation and all the pollution it causes will probably end droughts like this a hell of a lot faster than praying for it to stop without doing anything to end the abuse of this wondeful planet of ours. Time to wake up!

    Probably no coincidnce that drill-baby-drill Texas is getting some in your face consequences of the impact of all that dirty energy right now. As the Christians like to say: The Lord helps those that help themselves. Try getting the lesson and doing something about it and you won't have to pray to God for mercy that ain't gonna happen because you are missing the point. How about taking responsibility for the mess we are creating??? What a novel idea! My! My!

    April 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Ituri

      Oh please, you embarrass yourself with that nonsense. One fire storm, no matter how bad, is no more evidence for global warming than a big blizzard is evidence against it. What a one-sided argument.

      And it couldn't possibly be that the MEDIA has changed in the past 60 years, could it. No, they couldn't be reporting quicker and more accurately, what with the invention of the TELEVISION, which brings every natural occurance to your family room on demand, rather than never hearing about even a 9.2 earthquake because you live in another continent like in the past.

      You cannot pretend any weather today is "worse" than its ever been, and there is no evidence to support that claim. When was the last hurricane in Florida if its "worse today?" Haven't been hit by one in 2 years now, shock of shocks. But you IGNORE that because the fires are so much more exciting.

      For 60 years old, you have a short attention span.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • runswithbeer

      "One fire storm" ??? try the worst drought in Texas history. And it's just Springtime my friends. We had record Texas heat yesterday. Can't wait for August. the Atlantic is ALREADY trying to spin up Tropical storms. It's just APRIL FOLKS. You should see all the cars dents by hail storms. The first 50 years of my life I saw maybe two cars dented up. There are at least 40 out in the parking lot. Those of us who grew up in Texas know it's a LOT hotter.

      April 22, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Ituri

      Oh my, its "hotter?" Break out the survival kits, boys!

      One drought, one hot summer, one fire storm. All ONE incident, none of which is associated with global warming. One hot summer, as I said, is no more proof of global warming than one raging winter is proof against it.

      Btw, the midwest had an AMAZING winter, nice and cold with tons of snow. All your moisture is up there, numbnuts. Weather patterns cause droughts. They happen naturally, and fairly often too. 2 years ago the MidWest was in a drought and nearly lost all their corn. Corn this year will be great in comparison. So I guess global warming just forgot about Indiana this year, right? Please, the excuses are rampant.

      Btw, our records are barely 50 years old in most cases, and those older observations were often flawed. So proclaiming we're beating some heat record in one locale, thats just kind of useless. Without a solid 200-400 years of observation, there would be NO WAY to use records to compare now to then, and that would be with GOOD record keeping standards, and even then it wouldn't be entirely conclusive.

      Pretending the Earth is spiraling some toilet because you happen to be in a drought is just selfish.

      April 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • Chris124

      @ runswithbeer... LOVE love love the user name! And you are so right in everything you said. Its very much hotter. As for everyone else: well, if you deny it then it must not be true / close your eyes and it will go away... in other words, ignorance it bliss.

      April 22, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  13. truth-seek

    Hey rick, did you include all of the poor, dying, innocent children that died last week all over the same planet you're on? There are some fires in your state but if god is going to help people that pray for help I think there would be more important issues that need his help. You are a total fool!!!

    April 22, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  14. Perry-the-hypocrite

    I can't believe Perry is asking for federal aid. He was the the biggest cry-baby about federal spending and seceding. And now Texas needs help, so federal dollars are OK. what a crock. The feds should tell him to pray harder.

    April 22, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Burbank

      LOL!

      April 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  15. michael smith

    Personally, I'm GLAD to know TEXAS IS BURNING. They're nothing but a PACK OF EVIL, HATEFUL people anyway. Perhaps the GOP should ask Mexico for assistance.

    I hope Texas burns to the ground.

    No pitty nor support from this Hispanic.

    April 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Mark Miner

      Well, gosh thank you Mikey!! We don't need your help or support anyway. Hopefully, if your community ever is in danger for a natural disaster, Texans would be willing to lend a hand. Sorry, you're so bent out of shape about the Lone Star State. BTW, pity has only one T.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • john

      wow. people are dying and you are happy? and you are calling THEM evil? strange world i live in.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Chris in Austin

      Remember the Alamo, Miguel!

      April 22, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Chris in Austin

      Are you still sore over that whoopin' we gave your peeps 150 years ago?

      April 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • coomback

      nor from this Alaskan either...

      April 22, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Chris in Austin

      Aren't y'all part of Canada? SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH...grownups are talking.

      April 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Chris124

      How about we put your @$$ back over the border in Juarez, Mexico then you tell us how hateful Texans are. You don't like it here, go home!

      April 22, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
  16. guest

    \

    April 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  17. truth-seek

    If there is a god he is definitely punishing texas. Quit praying and maybe he'll go on to something else. DAs

    April 22, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Chris124

      You're an idiot.

      April 22, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
  18. truth-seek

    If everyone would get out and help fight the fires instead of praying there would be no problem. Stupid stuff!!!

    April 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Firegirl

      Love it.

      April 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • john

      yeah, because everyone is sitting around NOT fighting the fires!? .. why would you post something so idiotic

      April 22, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  19. feckless

    "Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked for federal aid "

    HOW CAN YOU SAY YOU WILL SECEDE FROM THE UNION AND THEN ASK FOR FEDERAL AID?

    Let the Lonestar Republic pay for costs of their contribution to global climate change. I am sick of my tax dollars going to relieve regular "disasters" that always seem to be concentrated in the we hate paying taxes and the federal government states of the old Confederacy.

    HEY TEXAS GET OFF FEDERAL WELFARE AND BUY SOME FIRE INSURANCE.

    April 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • alnuth

      Oh please, that "secede" comment was just a publicity stunt and was only mentioned once. No Texan I know wants to actually secede. We're all damn proud to be Americans.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • runswithbeer

      alnuth,, Second that....

      April 22, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • BJ

      He didn't ask for federal aide. The Governors were all forced to take it. He, along with other Republican governors have tried to refuse. But because most of the "aide" goes toward Unions the WH and federal government have essentially given them NO CHOICE. At least try to get your facts straight and not just rely on the word of Obama or some liberal sources.

      April 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • JP

      BJ,
      Get your own facts straight. No governor is forced to take Federal aid. Perry is just a liar...and not a smart one at that.

      April 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Fred Jones

      alnuth. A lot of Americans are embarrassed that Texans are Americans

      April 23, 2011 at 1:17 am |
  20. truth-seek

    I there were a god he'd tell people that pray to quit begging. The only prayer that would make sense if there were a god would be "god, please help everyone in the world, and don't single me out to help me just because I'm asking you to help me. Please help everyone god". And god would be a fool if he were so stupid as to help people who beg for help. The human race is totally weird.

    April 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Scott

      Oh god, please alter the laws that you created in you infinite wisdom which control the universe for my convenience

      April 22, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.