Washington (CNN) - It's likely not the response Rick Perry was expecting.
Earlier this year, the Texas Governor called on Christians across the U.S. to come to Houston for a prayer event aimed at bringing God's help to a "nation in crisis."
Organizers of the religious gathering, dubbed "The Response," say only 8,000 people have registered on-line to attend this Saturday's event at Houston's Reliant Stadium, a venue with a seating capacity of 71,000.
Eric Bearse, a "Response" spokesman and former speech-writer for the potential GOP presidential candidate, says attendance numbers are a non-issue.
"Not concerned whatsoever. We think it will be a powerful event whether it is 8,000 or 50,000. The only people concerned about numbers are press," Bearse said.
Perry, who is still considering whether to run for president, is identified as the event's "initiator" on the "Response" web site.
"We need God's help," Perry says in web video on the site's main page. The Texas governor goes on to call on Americans "to pray and fast like Jesus did."
The event has come under steady criticism in recent weeks as controversial statements made by some of the gathering's organizers and pastoral "endorsers" have surfaced on-line.
Bryan Fischer, a spokesman for one key "Response" organizer, the American Family Association, has referred to gay rights activists as "Nazis."
At a news conference last month, Perry said it was unfair to tie him to comments made by some of the event's planners.
Critics of "The Response" plan to hold their own gathering on Friday, one day before Perry's gathering.
Sponsored by the Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the "Family, Faith, and Freedom" counter-rally will feature "a wide range of religious and non-religious groups from the Houston community," according to a statement from the groups.
Both organizations accuse Perry of blurring the line separating church and state. "Government promotion of an exclusive Christian event implies that certain types of people care more about the well-being of our country than others… We don't see it that way" Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, said in the statement.