This is not us trying to be The Onion. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has officially proclaimed Oct. 13 "Oilfield Prayer Day" to raise awareness for the state's declining oil industry. Here's her official signed proclamation.
Michael Vadon / State of Oklahoma Executive Department
The document states:
"Whereas Oklahoma is blessed with an abundance of oil and natural gas; and ... Christians acknowledge such natural resources are created by God ... Christians are invited to thank God for the blessings created by the oil and natural gas industry and to seek His wisdom and ask for protection."
A series of "Praying for the Patch" breakfasts will take place in other cities before culminating at the sixth annual Oilfield Prayer Breakfast on Oct. 13 in downtown Oklahoma City, an event that Fallin has made preliminary plans to attend.
Tom Beddow, coordinator of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma's Oil Patch Chaplains ministry, is one of the organizers of the Praying for the Patch initiative that was also created in partnership with the Oilfield Christian Fellowship.
The organizers have invited Oklahoma residents and churches to simultaneously pray for the state's energy industry, which directly or indirectly employs one-quarter of all job holders in the Sooner State.
"The oil field is hurting right now," Beddow told The Oklahoman. "We're asking churches all over Oklahoma to open their doors, put on a pot of coffee and pray for the oil field, and not only for the oil field but the state, because the economy of our state is so connected to the oil field."
According to The Oklahoman, Beddow is a former oil field welder who attends First Baptist Church of Ada. He wants churches to pray for people, schools, mental health agencies and other businesses and organizations affected by the energy industry's downturn.
“The faith community is experiencing the same economic disaster, and it seems to have the same need, the recovery from financial loss," Beddow also said, according to the
The Baptist Messenger. “Once again, the need goes much deeper. The greatest need of the faith community is to develop a broken-hearted compassion for the oilfield and related industries. This is the type of compassion described in Neh. 1:1-5. Real compassion results in a more dynamic prayer life, which, in turn, leads to action."
Jeff Hubbard, with the Oilfield Christian Fellowship in Oklahoma City, told The Oklahoman he supports the prayer initiative.
"We have a saying: The oil field trickles down to everyone," he said.
He added that the prayer breakfasts bring together energy industry workers of all stripes.
"You've got guys in coveralls and guys in suits and ties," said Hubbard, who is also a senior account manager at Schlumberger oil field equipment supplier and member of Crossings Community Church.
Oklahoma's economy has indeed fallen on hard times partly due to cheap oil triggering energy industry losses. Not only that, the state's oil and gas production has also been tied to the state's alarming swarm of earthquakes.
Last month, a record-breaking 5.8-magnitude earthquake rattled the the city of Pawnee. Geologists are investigating whether the earthquake—which occurred 25 miles north of the world's largest oil-storage complex in Cushing—was triggered by wastewater fluid injection from oil and gas production in the area.