Saturday in Houston marked the much talked about “The Response” event. Curious as to what the day’s event would be like, I decided to take a drive out to Reliant Stadium to check it out.
The Response, a day-long prayer rally funded by the American Family Association, was designed to be a day of prayer and an opportunity for believers in Jesus Christ to come together and pray for their families, themselves and their country.
Many detractors were still upset that a sitting governor would arguably use his office to promote such an event and protested outside of the Reliant Center on Saturday. But, on the inside, it was a much different story.
I walked in the room that afternoon and checked in at the media desk. No sooner had I stepped up to the desk, I was greeted with a warm response from a gentleman who didn’t know me personally, but still called me his brother. The moment, simple yet meaningful, made a significant impact on me. For me, if that experience was any indication of what I would see for the rest of the day, I knew the day was going to be pretty interesting.
In terms of attendance, over 20,000 filled Reliant Stadium. Parents, along with grandparents, youth, teens and people of all races and ethnicity came out to the event.
It lasted for nearly 9 hours, and I have to admit it wasn’t anything like I expected.
The mood inside the stadium was positive. There was a sense of fellowship, a spirit of unity and a level of peace. Many people found themselves in harmony with the message of repentance, belief and turning away from things that are chaotic in their lives and placing those challenges in the hands of a supernatural and all-powerful God.
(I also took the liberty of taking a few photos while I was there, so folks can get a better idea of what took place on the inside. To see photos from the event click here.)
There was solemn prayer, a chorus of songs and a lifting of arms throughout the day. Many did so as a sign of gratitude and a personal relinquishing of their power to God.
Overall, The Response for me was, in a sense, like any prayer rally I have covered; yet, this one did carry with it the distinction of being one of the most controversial. Both sides — those for and opposed to this event — have been unrelenting on their positions of Gov. Perry’s role in this entire situation. In the coming days, we’ll hopefully hear more of what both parties have to say. At this juncture however, I think it’s safe to say passions on the topic of faith and politics are alive and well here in the great state of Texas.