Pray for the President?
Franklin Graham, one of the “court evangelicals” (so named by John Fea), has declared that Sunday, June 2 be set aside as a day of prayer for President Trump. Specifically, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website states the following:
“We the undersigned are calling for June 2 to be a special Day of Prayer for the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, that God would protect, strengthen, embolden, and direct him.
We believe our nation is at a crossroads, at a dangerous precipice. The only one who can fix our country’s problems is God Himself, and we pray that God will bless our president and our nation for His glory.”
Wow. OK. 1 Timothy 2 does, indeed, enjoin us to pray for our leaders. (And I have to admit that I only get around to praying for the President a couple of times a week, so I’m not exactly a paragon of virtue here.) But, there are a few issues here that we need to look at.
In the Old Testament, there are a couple of times when the nation of Israel is called as a nation to repentance and prayer, but Israel was an actual nation called by God, not a secular nation with a bunch of religious people within it. In the New Testament, Jesus gave us some different recommendations about prayer. Specifically, in Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus says, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” This makes the whole “Day of Prayer” thing kind of suspicious to me.
It’s also disturbing that there were no days of prayer offered for President Obama. In fact, Graham was pretty down on Obama, suggesting that he wasn’t born in the United States, despite evidence to the contrary, and that he was actually Muslim, despite Obama’s frequent church attendance. You might think that someone so “ungodly” might get a few extra prayers from a prominent Evangelical leader like Graham, but I guess not.
I’m also concerned about Franklin Graham’s statements about President Trump. He claims on his Facebook page that no president before has been attacked as President Trump has. Well, you might want to check in with President Kennedy on that one. Actually, I think there has been plenty of vilification of previous presidents, although President Trump does invite particular scorn because of his outrageous statements and actions.
President Trump continues to act in a most ungodly fashion, bringing scorn on himself and our country. His policies on immigration, LGBT issues, and the environment (to name a few) are the opposite of what one would expect someone with a Christian conscience to proffer.
So, please pray for President Trump. And not just on Sunday, but every day of the week. But, pray that he would see the truth of God and begin to walk more closely with Jesus. Pray that his heart would be softened toward those his economic and political policies are hurting. Pray that love would become the basis of his presidency.