Pastor David Platt prayed for President Donald Trump when he stopped by his Virginia church on Sunday and the content of his prayer suggests he may not be a huge fan of the president.
The White House said in a statement that: “President Donald J. Trump is visiting McLean Bible Church in Vienna, VA, to visit with the Pastor and pray for the victims and community of Virginia Beach.”
It was unclear how far in advance Trump’s team had planned for the president to appear on stage with Platt at the church. And while no mention is made of the victims impacted by the recent deadly shooting in Virginia Beach, the videos show that Platt prayed mostly for Trump to lead well.
He asked for God to give Trump, and all U.S. leaders, wisdom in his decision-making. The McLean Bible Church pastor also prayed for strength for Trump’s family. Trump, who identifies as a Presbyterian, stood with his head bowed and eyes closed and with his hands together, clasping a hat as Platt prayed.
In examining what appears to be Platt’s impromptu prayer for Trump, there are some interesting observations that come to light.
Here is a transcript of Platt’s prayer (via The Gospel Coalition):
O[h] God, we praise you as the one universal king over all. You are our leader and our Lord and we worship you. There is one God and one Savior — and it’s you, and your name is Jesus. And we exalt you, Jesus. We know we need your mercy. We need your grace. We need your help. We need your wisdom in our country. And so we stand right now on behalf of our president, and we pray for your grace and your mercy and your wisdom upon him.
God, we pray that he would know how much you love him — so much that you sent Jesus to die for his sins, our sins — so we pray that he would look to you. That he would trust in you, that he would lean on you. That he would govern and make decisions in ways that are good for justice, and good for righteousness, and good for equity, every good path.
Lord we pray, we pray, that you would give him all the grace he needs to govern in ways that we just saw in 1 Timothy 2 that lead to peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way. God we pray for your blessing in that way upon his family. We pray that you would give them strength. We pray that you would give them clarity. Wisdom, wisdom, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Please, O[h] God, give him wisdom and help him to lead our country alongside other leaders. We pray today for leaders in Congress. We pray for leaders in courts. We pray for leaders in national and state levels. Please, O[h] God, help us to look to you, help us to trust in your Word, help us to seek your wisdom, and live in ways that reflect your love and your grace, your righteousness and your justice. We pray for your blessings on our president toward that end.
In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.
Here are some observations:
- Platt makes it clear that he believes Jesus is the supreme leader, the “universal king over all” who alone should be worshipped. With his apparent narcissism, I would say this was a very good reminder for the president to hear. It may also be an effective word for Trump supporters and staff whose fawning over the president boarders on near-deification.
- Trump notoriously stated during his 2016 presidential campaign that he never asks God for forgiveness — a pretty shocking statement for someone who is supposedly a Christian. In his prayer, Platt reminds Trump that Jesus died for his sins. Obviously, Platt believes Trump (and all people) have sins that need to be forgiven.
- In relation to observation no. 2, it appears Platt may not be among Trump’s staunchly supportive White Evangelical block that insists the president is a Christian. Pastor Paula White, for example, reportedly led Trump to Christ. White, head of Trump’s evangelical advisory board, also described the president as a “baby Christian.” According to disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker, Trump has been saved several times. If Trump is indeed a born-again believer, Platt’s mention of the gospel should be a helpful reminder.
- Platt prays that God would help Trump govern in a way that leads “to peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way.” Frankly, “peaceful” and “quiet” aren’t words commonly associated with Trump, who uses his Twitter account to routinely blast critics and the “fake news” media. In fact, some critics who view Trump’s behavior as downright embarrassing have used the term “undignified” to describe his actions. This isn’t taking into account Trump allegedly confessing to sexual assault, practicing adultery, giving bribes, and colluding with foreign agents to win the presidency.
- Platt reminds Trump that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” In fact, Platt quotes Proverbs 1:7 when he says “Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” For a president who routinely flouts instructions from advisors and has a habit of firing staff he disagrees with, this is advice Trump definitely needed to hear. Some of Trump’s demands have been so unwise or illegal, that White House staff just ignore them.
- Related to point no. 5, Platt is all about bipartisan efforts. The McLean Bible Church pastor asks God to “give him wisdom and help him to lead our country alongside other leaders.” It seems Platt doesn’t believe the president can lead on his own, or that any single party has all of the answers. This view likely contradicts Trump’s personal opinion.
- Finally, despite what appears to be appeals specific to Trump’s open flaws, Platt keeps his prayer pretty apolitical. He doesn’t advocate for “Republicans” or “Democrats” and makes no mention of Trump’s supposed “enemies.” He also doesn’t ask for standard blessings on Trump. In fact, Platt asks God to bless Trump so that he looks to Him, trusts in His Word, “seek(s) Your wisdom, and live(s) in ways that reflect Your love and Your grace, Your righteousness and Your justice.”
Despite all of these points, Platt has stated that he believes all Christians have a duty to pray for leaders, even those they might view as unsavory. In carrying out his duty to pray for the president, did Platt end up saying a subversive prayer?