One week before the first major test of the 2012 campaign, a Republican heavyweight who for now stands on the sidelines is making an appeal of a different sort.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be under the spotlight Saturday as he hosts “The Response: A call to prayer for a nation in crisis.”

“There is hope for America. It lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees,” Perry writes on the website for the event.

Perry is hosting the gathering along with the American Family Assn. Organizers this week said that “several thousand people” have registered to attend the event at Houston’s Reliant Stadium, capacity 71,500. Another thousand churches and individuals have indicated they will participate remotely, airing a simulcast in their hometowns.

The all-day event begins at 10 a.m. local time, with a program that includes spiritual leaders from across the country. According to the Houston Chronicle, Perry himself will make only brief remarks, read from Scripture, and offer a prayer during the seven-hour program.

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