Oklahoma governor calls for ‘Oilfield Prayer Day’ as once prosperous sector falls into bad shape

Mary Fallin called for Christians to pray on 13 October for the 'blessings' of the industry, which has fallen into bad shape despite big tax breaks

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The governor of Oklahoma has called on residents to observe the "Oilfield Prayer Day" on 13 October to acknowledge the blessings of the oil industry and hope for its return to profit and production.

Mary Fallin urged for divine intervention and released a one-page proclamation, asking Christians to "thank God for the blessings created by the oil and natural gas industry and to seek His wisdom and ask for protection."

The order comes after Oklahoma has lost thousands of jobs in the sector, despite giving oil companies big tax breaks worth over $400 million.

“Oklahoma is blessed with an abundance of oil and natural gas, allowing the state to be a prosperous producer of these valuable resources,” the proclamation read. 

“Oklahoma recognises the incredible economic, community and faith-based impacts demonstrated across the state by oil and natural gas companies.”

The official day was sponsored by the Oilfield Christian Fellowship, which holds prayer meetings and publishes a newsletter for the sector’s Christian employees. The group’s Jeff Hubbard told the Oklahoman: “We have a saying: The oil field trickles down to everyone.”

The group wants to organise more regular prayer meetings for the oil patch and find tangible ways to help people who have lost their jobs.

But after pressure from local journalists, members of the religious community and officials, governor Fallin attempted to backtrack on Monday by making the measure include people of all faiths, as reported by the Associated Press.

“There are many people suffering right now who have lost their jobs in the energy sector,” she said. 

“There are a lot of families who have been hurt, and I think prayer is always a good thing for anyone.”

Even other Christians took issue with the measure, including retired minister Bruce Prescott, who filed a lawsuit to have a Ten Commandments monument removed from the state capitol building.

“That’s a minister’s responsibility,” he told the AP.

“There are a lot of things that could be prayed about in this state, and the oil field is not at the top of that list.”

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