Published: Aug 24, 2011 5:04 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Can Florida thank God and former Gov. Charlie Crist for Hurricane Irene's shift away from the state?
    
Each year as governor, Crist either personally placed or had a friend place prayers in Jerusalem's Western Wall asking God to protect Florida from hurricanes. No major hurricanes hit the state.
    
Now out of office, Crist is continuing the tradition. He asked Patrick Murphy, a Democrat hoping to challenge Republican Congressman Allen West, for help during Murphy's trip to Israel.
    
Crist said Wednesday, "I said 'You can do me and Florida a big favor if you can take a prayer to the wall and ask God to protect beautiful Florida.'"
    
Initial forecasts had the entire state potentially in Irene's path, but it's now predicted to swing east of Florida.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)