GREENVILLE, S.C. - Standing before a crowd of nearly a thousand people, Texas Gov. Rick Perry publicly offered up a prayer for the nation four days before the South Carolina primary, just as he did five months ago at a similar prayer rally in Houston, as he decided whether he'd enter the presidential race.
Perry read scripture and led prayer at a spin-off of the Response, the original event Perry helped organize at Reliant Stadium in August that drew more than 30,000 people. In a similar speech to the one he gave in August, the Texas governor spoke of a "personal God" one who is unaffiliated with politics or parties.
"His agenda's not a political agenda. He's smarter than that. He's smart enough, wise enough not to get involved with any political affiliation or any institution that man has made," Perry said. "He understands the imperfections of those. But he's calling all of us, Americans of all walks of life, to be here tonight to pray for this country. For us to seek him, to experience his love and his grace, his acceptance, experience a fulfilled life regardless of the circumstances that we may find ourselves in tonight."
Perry offered a prayer for President Obama and his family, along with a prayer that Americans will allow God to become the central figure in their lives.
"Father give us hope, give us hope in this country that through you that this country can prosper, that it can, it can be healed. Father we pray for our president. We pray for his family. We pray for the safety of his family. We pray that you light his way. We pray that you give him wisdom as he deals with the issues that he faces. We pray for the people of this country that, Father, they would get down on their knees and seek your redemption. That you lord will again become central in this country, in the decision makers, in everyone's life, Father, that we understand that without you we are nothing."
Perry, a self-described "man of faith," has often taken to church pulpits on the campaign trail to preach of the importance of returning faith to the public sphere. Citing passages from the Book of Joel and Second Chronicles, Perry discussed the impact God has upon him during times of trouble.
"Lord this, this walk that we're taking, the trials the tribulations, we, we would fall if you weren't there to hold us up, and we need you daily. We need you hourly. We need you by the minute and the second of our lives to, to, to completely and absolutely surrender, surrender to you, surrender to your will."
After hugging members of the band and faith leaders, Perry wiped a tear from his eye as he stepped off stage while the band sang, "What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus."