The proclamation cited the "dire conditions" across the state — including "higher than normal temperatures" and low rainfall and humidity — that have caused the loss of 400 homes to fires, killed two firefighters, harmed agriculture and reduced reservoir levels.
"I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on that day for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal and robust way of life," the proclamation states.
State-sanctioned prayer for rain is not unprecedented. Officials in Tom Green County, in West Texas, declared last Sunday an official day of prayer for rain. In Lubbock, city officials did the same in 2006. In 2007, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue led a prayer service for rain at the state capitol.
Whether the heavens will open up is another matter. In Midland, which has had barely one-tenth of an inch of rain since Oct. 1, meteorologist David Hennig with the National Weather Service said, "The short-term weather models are not promising as they continue to show systems remaining well to the north and westerly winds that keep Gulf moisture to our east."