The Governor Who Prayed for Rain

President-Elect Trump formally announced former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as his pick for Agriculture Secretary. The first headlines from mainstream media were about Sonny’s call for prayer for rain in 2007.

Sonny Perdue is a man of faith. He grew up on a farm. It is virtually unheard of to find a farmer who does not acknowledge reliance on divine Providence. Praying for good weather conditions is a part of life in a family and community dependent on agriculture.

Frankly it should be a part of life for everyone. That food on the grocery store shelves came from those families and communities who pray for rain.

It appears that the real purpose of the headlines is to present prayer and reliance on divine Providence as some kind of caricature to be mocked. After all, educated people who run our government could not possibly believe in this religious superstition. If they do, then that gives grounds for automatic disqualification.

This tells us something about the overall condition of our nation. Praying for rain during a drought should be newsworthy only in the sense of getting the word out for people to join in prayer. Yet, it is presented as a clarion call to mockers and doubters to come watch the sideshow.

I fully expect that Governor Perdue will be questioned about his call for prayer during the drought of 2007. Some Senator on the committee may ask with a mocking tone if that is his plan to run the Department of Agriculture. I humbly offer a few suggested responses.

A Response Based on History

Thank you, Senator. On July 4, we will celebrate the founding of our nation. In 1776, a group of patriots gathered in Philadelphia. They put their names on a document that ended with these words, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Senator, we need no less of a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence today.

A Response Based on the Bible

Thank you, Senator. I was taught the Bible when I came up. The truth I learned as a child is still true today. II Chronicles 7:13 and 14 describes a drought, tells what to do, and gives a promise. I chose to follow that command and invited those of like mind to join me.

A Response Based on Bureaucracy

Thank you, Senator. I am glad you asked. You referenced the prayer meeting in 2007. I had already been in office four years and had just returned from Washington where we met about the drought and water crisis in Georgia. During all my time as Governor and after intensive meetings in Washington, it was apparent that there was no bureaucracy in Atlanta or Washington who could begin to address the issue. I just escalated it to someone who could.

A Response Based on Personal Faith

Thank you Senator. I was raised on the farm. I do not know a farmer who does not pray for good conditions and protection for the produce that feeds our nation and the world. Yes, I will pray with farmers for rain when necessary. I will also pray with the family at a graveside who has lost a loved one. I will pray for the families who lost their homes to fire or to natural disasters. I will pray for the young couple who just experienced a miscarriage. I will pray for the person in hopeless despair. I will pray for the worker who just got laid off. I will pray for the one who just got a diagnosis of cancer. Senator, you may be surprised to know this, but I pray for you and our leaders. In short, yes, I pray. I pray for God’s blessings on our nation and I will pray for wisdom in carrying out the duties of Secretary of Agriculture.

Signature-Donald E. Cole

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