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Georgia’s Governor, Baptists, Turn To God During Drought

Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network reported Wednesday’s half-inch rain across parts of Georgia was “certainly an answer to prayer.”

The showers came less than 24 hours after Gov. Sonny Perdue held an hour-long prayer vigil at the state Capitol, asking God’s help in relieving extreme drought conditions that threaten Atlanta’s drinking-water supply.

“Governor Perdue is a strong Baptist, as I understand, and he believes in the power of prayer,” Robertson said in a video clip. “I am just delighted to see a governor who said we’ve got to call to a higher power, because, after all, the Lord seems to be the one that controls the weather.”

The Georgia Baptist Convention declared Nov. 4 a day of prayer for rain.

“God can use our lack of water, which is one of the most basic life-sustaining commodities, to draw humanity to Himself,” said a resource by the convention’s ministry for prayer and spiritual awakening.

“The Bible reveals that God has often worked through weather to accomplish His greater spiritual purposes,” the Georgia Baptist resource continued. “When people face uncertainty, they face need; as they face need, they often turn to God. The drought is causing people to realize the potential uncertainties that may be brought to a reality without rain soon. As God’s people, we should seek God in prayer to determine what He is saying, and what we should do in the midst of this drought.”

A PDF bulletin insert offered five prayers to pray when praying for rain:
1. Acknowledge our need for God in everything.
2. Confess and repent of all sin.
3. Ask God what He is saying to us in the midst of the drought.
4. Ask God to send the rain that we so desperately need.
5. Commit to obey God in sharing His message of salvation with a lost world in the midst of the drought and into the future.

Others said Atlanta’s water crisis is less a matter of faith than works.

Between 1990 and 2000, Atlanta added more than 1 million people, and its water use climbed 30 percent to about 420 million gallons a day, according to the Associated Press. Now metropolitan Atlanta boasts roughly 5 million people and projects more than 2 million more by 2030, when water could climb past 700 million gallons a day.

Most of Atlanta’s water supply comes from two lakes. The main source, Lake Lanier, is a 38,000-acre reservoir that supplies more than 3 million residents with water. It is estimated to be less than three months from depletion.

The water emergency has set off feuds between Georgia and neighboring states over water rights and with south Georgia farmers who fear being forced to sacrifice crops to satisfy water-guzzling habits of Atlanta.

In September Georgia environmental protection director declared Level Four drought restrictions in 61 northern counties, including metropolitan Atlanta, essentially banning all outdoor watering.

Critics say Atlanta has been egregiously short-sighted in its water usage when prepared to major cities like Los Angeles, which have adopted water-conservation measures like incentives for installing high-efficiency toilets and low-flow shower heads and increasing monthly water bills for big users.

A recent study found Las Vegas to be sitting on “an oasis” of water and money savings, finding some sectors where up to 40 percent of water could be saved through improvements in water efficiency.

Water usage in Denver has declined 17 percent since 2000, thanks to a package of incentives, rebates, ordinances and sliding rates adopted during the last decade. Denver’s water board has 15 people working full-time on water conservation jobs, such as leak monitoring, and is the only utility with a public advertising campaign about water conservation.

At Tuesday’s prayer vigil in Georgia, Perdue admitted to reporters that Georgians have not done “all we could do in conservation” and said the drought was God’s attempt to “get our attention.”

“Hopefully we will be better conservators of the blessings God has given us as He gives us more rain,” Perdue said, according to Baptist Press.

Robertson applauded the governor’s piety.

“Good for him, and I hope Georgia gets a lot more rain,” Robertson said. “I don’t want them to get flooded out, but they sure need a great deal more. So don’t stop praying, our friends in Georgia.”

A 2004 Florida Baptist Convention guide for praying about the weather acknowledged: “Some of God’s ways in the weather are for blessing and bounty, some are part of His judgment on nations, and some are simply the consequences of living on a fallen earth with a fallen weather system.”

“All will one day be made new,” the guide continued. “Until then, we must deal with weather as it is, knowing that God uses the weather to refresh, to restore, to rebuke, to reveal Himself in some way, and to bring us to reflection, even to repentance. Sunny days and stormy days are all meant to bring us to a new level of trust and a fuller knowledge of Him as our loving and holy God and Father.”

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.