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. boomhower

    robk, would you like some cheese with that whine?

    April 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  2. M

    Because we all know praying helps, Maybe he should simply pray to God not to start the fires in the first place.

    April 22, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  3. Skeptuckian

    From the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/ensodisc.html): "La Niña will continue to have global impacts even as the episode weakens through the Northern Hemisphere spring. Expected La Niña ... Potential impacts in the United States include an enhanced chance for below-average precipitation across much of the South, while above-average precipitation is favored for the northern Plains. An increased chance of below-average temperatures is predicted across the northern tier of the country (excluding New England). A higher possibility of above-average temperatures is favored for much of the southern half of the contiguous U.S. (see 3-month seasonal outlook released on March 17th, 2011)."

    Long story short, this map (http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html) of the drought across the south will only get worse (Dust Bowl II anyone) over the coming months. It also doesn't help that Texas is over a shallow part of the Ogallala Aquifer which, due to unsustainable use, is running drier each year.

    My advice is that if you want prayers to work wait until June, your chances of succes will be much better. Prayers won't fill the Ogallala Aquifer, though.

    April 22, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  4. system You

    So if it doesn't rain, does that mean God favors liberal haven, the Northwest over Texas?

    April 22, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  5. MattyIce

    Take some of North Dakota's Water!

    April 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  6. AdamCO

    Just one set of hands working to put the fire out can do more than 1,000 hands clamped in prayer.

    April 22, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
  7. kevin

    in texas it rains oil, i mean oooohhhhhlllll

    April 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  8. Bman

    If you go around thinking you're bigger than everyone else. You might have a little trouble when your wildfires go wild.

    April 22, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  9. fernace

    Im a Txn who plans to pray that we will soon vote out of office the Repug hardcaseswho so far plan to decimate education, by closing schools& laying off teachers. Also, they are

    April 22, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • RobK

      Agreed. Texas used to be a solidly Democrat state and outside of benefitting from a few oil spikes, it's been all downhill since they started supporting GOP windbags.

      April 22, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
  10. Alex

    Pray for rain. It's the least your could do... literally.

    April 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  11. NYDude

    Golly gee... i thought everything was all beer and skittles in Texas and they were just a walking talking example of how all states should be. Look down your noses at the 'rust belt' and think because you sit on top of the oil industry that the rest of the nation will have to put up with the conservative christian bs that exudes from every pore of Texas. Well guess what ?
    The rust belt has something that the southwest needs....WATER. Lets see, years of having to listen to Texans dump on the rest of the country that "AINT TEXAS", Two idiot Bushes, hmmm oil at $4 a gallon....hmmm lets see... Water for texas ?
    $1,00o a gallon and you have to crawl on your stinking knees to New York and beg for it.

    April 22, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • RobK


      April 22, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Joe

      Watch out NY, the Texans' new plan is to poison your ground water with fracking.

      April 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  12. Ryan
    April 22, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
  13. Matt

    I, Matt, resident of Austin, do hereby proclaim the remainder of the year to be Days of Pointing and Laughing At Rick Perry.

    April 22, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Brad


      April 22, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Matt, thank you for giving me faith that there are still intelligent people in Texas.

      April 22, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  14. Muneef

    Suggest they should ask for Pastor Terry Jones to travel to Txs offering them his prayers. .?!?

    April 22, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Muneef

      [11:52] "O my people, seek forgiveness from your Lord, then repent to Him. He will then shower you with provisions from the sky, and augment your strength. Do not turn back into transgressors."
      [71:10] "I said, `Implore your Lord for forgiveness; He is Forgiving.

      [71:11] " `He will then shower you generously with rain.

      April 22, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
  15. Wolfhound

    Prayer: How to do nothing and still think you're helping.

    April 22, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  16. andybud

    "Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue successfully prayed for rain."

    Please provide scientific evidence that the prayers caused the rain, as opposed to, say, a cold front that was already making its way across the country.

    Otherwise, you should correct your misleading reporting.

    April 22, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  17. Jeff

    I wish Rick Perry would ask people to pray for the 100,000 teachers in Texas that lost their jobs because of him

    April 22, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  18. jv

    So, now what? Ask the Fed for help? Gov. Perry, you're such a welfare queen. I though you wanted to secede? Oh, I see. Now we're good.

    Wonder how much it would cost you too put these fires out if you open up the bidding. You know, let the markets determine how much you'd pay a company to come in put 'me out. Hey, there's plenty of land to burn in Texas, so you could take your time and let those market forces do their thing

    April 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • RobK

      I had the same thought exactly! Funny how these uber-rightwing bigmouths can talk the talk but never walk the walk.
      And btw, prayers aren't going to help. MOVE!

      April 22, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  19. 21k

    wonder if we'll find out it was started by some xtian nut burning qurans out in the dry hills?

    April 22, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  20. LouAz

    Timing has an awful lot to do with the outcome of a raindance. Anon
    Is the Tejas Gov using that Mayan Calendar ? He won'y have to worry too much longer.
    Voodoo ? Hoodoo ? Doodoo ! You betcha.

    April 22, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
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About this blog

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.