The activists working to get Ben Carson to run for president are gunning for a little divine intervention.
On Wednesday, the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee announced the formation of a prayer team that will have weekly conference calls to ask for God's blessing on their efforts to get the retired neurosurgeon and Fox News contributor to run in 2016.
“The first thing we list on our website that you can do to encourage Dr. Carson to run for president is to pray,” reads the prayer team's sign-up page. “He said last year that he would only run for president if God grabbed him by the collar and made him run.' Our hope is that our prayers will move the hand of God!”
But though the committee just announced the advent of its prayer team — an email to supporters from John Philip Sousa IV, the group’s chairman, encourages participants to pray 2 Chronicles 7:14 — it’s actually not that new.
Heather Ferguson, a minister with Treasures of Glory Ministries from San Diego who organizes the prayer team, said she and others have been having hourlong conference calls praying for Carson every Monday night from 6 to 7 p.m. Pacific time. She said she also sends out weekly emails with prayer requests related to the efforts to draft Carson.
Since the announcement, the prayer team has grown rapidly. Ferguson said that in seven hours after the email went out, the number of volunteers for the prayer team grew from 275 to nearly 2,000. And more than 150 people specifically RSVP’d for next Monday’s prayer conference call.
Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business manager, said that the efforts to convince Carson to run have influenced his thinking on the subject.
“They’re good people who are desperate for leadership and they think that Dr. Carson has the right prescription for America,” he said. “Dr. Carson is an unknown, he’s a long shot. Obviously he takes to heart the acknowledgment from people who really believe in him. He’s not close to making a decision about running for president, but he’s thinking about it. I will admit that he’s definitely thinking about it.”
Williams added that Carson has gotten “incredible support” on his current book tour.
“He just cannot ignore it,” he said. “He’s in the process of deciding, and he’s being influenced.”
Ferguson said Wednesday’s announcement wasn’t news to Carson. She said she told him about the prayer team when she attended his July 21 book signing in San Diego.
“He responded with gratitude and said that he can feel the prayers,” she said. “He just had a very genuine, relieved kind of look — ‘Thank you very much, appreciate that’ — that’s what was coming through his eyes.”
Carson took second at the Republican Leadership Conference's straw poll in May. He also took second at the Texas Republican convention's straw poll in June, topping Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. And this month, he won the Western Conservative Summit straw poll in Colorado.