BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (Christian Examiner) – Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal invites people from across America to join him Jan. 24 in "The Response: A Call To Prayer For A Nation In Crisis" at the Pete Maravich Center on the campus of Louisiana State University.
Seating is limited and registration is free, according to the website TheResponseLa.com. The Pete Maravich Assembly Center, named after an LSU basketball "legend" and built to house the LSU Tigers' basketball games, can seat a few more than 14,000.
"A Response" event in Texas in 2011, called by Gov. Rick Perry the year before he ran for the U.S. presidency, drew perhaps 40,000 participants. Jindal is widely anticipated to announce by next month if he is going to seek the presidency in 2016. He is nearing the end of his term limit as Louisiana's governor.
Jindal can name a number of major accomplishments during his soon-to-be-eight years as governor. He slimmed the size of government in part by reducing the number of state employees by 34 percent; transformed the Louisiana healthcare system through a system of new cutting-edge hospitals that are reducing patient wait times and increasing access to health services; and worked with the Legislature to create the Louisiana Scholarship Program.
This allows Louisiana's children to get out of failing schools and have the opportunity to get a great education in a school that fits their academic needs, said Shannon Bates, deputy communications director for Louisiana. Gov. Jindal also worked with the Legislature to further protect life. Louisiana now is ranked as the top pro-life state in the nation.
"There won't be any t-shirts sold, no dvds, no concessions," said David Lane, who helped organize both Texas and Louisiana events. Lane heads the American Renewal Project, which Lane started in 2001 to promote people of faith positively affecting public policy.
"This will be six hours of prayer and fasting, repentance and celebration," Lane said. "There will be water," he added.
Jindal, a Catholic, evangelical and Rhodes Scholar born in America to immigrants from India, makes no secret of his Christian faith. He promoted The Response on social media, spoke in a promotional video about it, and plans to be a main speaker from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, at The Response.
"What we really need in these United States is a spiritual revival," Jindal says on the YouTube video. "We've exhausted all the alternatives.
"It's time to turn back to God, to get the United States of America back on the right path," Jindal continued. "The Response is a call from Jesus to see a change in our nation."
The Response is a prayer meeting, not a political rally, said Shannon Bates, deputy communications director for Louisiana.
"Here's what we do know," Bates said. "Our nation is facing serious issues, but God is real, He is powerful and He answers prayer. ... One thing most people can agree on is that prayer is a positive thing."
Doug Stringer is spokesman for The Response in Louisiana, with its estimated half-million-dollar budget provided by American Renewal Project. Doug Brown is the organizer; Gary Miller is the mobilizer.
"We believe that America is in a state of crisis," Stringer said. "Not just politically, financially, or morally, but because we are a nation that has not honored God in our successes or humbly called on Him in our struggles. The Response: Louisiana is committed to prayer above politics, to seeing the church moved to stand for righteousness, and to pray for God's mercy for America."
According to the Bible, the answer to a nation in such crisis is to gather in humility and repentance and ask God to intervene, said Lane, a well-known and influential evangelical political activist.
"The Response will be another historic gathering of people from across the nation to pray and fast for America," Lane said. "People from all ages, denominations, ethnic and racial backgrounds will gather at the Pete Maravich Center.
"We want to see real change across our nation that only our God can perform," Lane said. "There is hope for America. It lies in Heaven, and we will find it on our knees."
Bishop E.W. Jackson of Virginia is featured on one of 25 video clips promoted on the event's website, each of which encourage people from across the nation to participate in The Response. Jackson, president of Stand—Staying True to America's National Destiny—as well as an American politician, Christian minister and attorney.
"It was an honor for me to be invited by Gov. Jindal to come to Louisiana to participate in this prayer rally, Jackson wrote on his Facebook page. "America's only hope is in a spiritual revival. The future of this nation is in the hands of God, not the hands of politicians. We must pray for revival in America!"
In the Old Testament book of Joel, chapter two, Lane explained, an ancient Hebrew prophet speaks to a nation in crisis and gives God's solution: gather together, repent of their sins, and pray to God to intervene on their behalf.
In that day the command was for everyone to stop what they were doing and gather for a sacred assembly to turn to God with all their hearts, "with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning" (Joel 2:12).
"Why," Lane asked, "did God desire fasting, weeping, and mourning—or, to put it differently, contrition and humility—from the people? A 'sacred assembly' (Joel 2:15) was a gathering for people to acknowledge that their nation had drifted away from its foundations in morality and faith. Because of this moral decline, the people were not prepared to face the external threats rising up against them. God wanted His people to understand that their internal threats (moral decline) were far greater than their external threats (economic crisis and military invasion).
"God ordained in that hour of history that prayer would serve as the only way of escape from the mounting trouble," Lane continued. "Why? Because only God had the power to solve both the internal moral decline and the external economic and military threats. All three were unsolvable by human means and human solutions – but God had a solution that could be found in His great mercy."
Register online for The Response: Louisiana. But the no-cost tickets do not guarantee seating, so organizers encourage people to arrive early.