Yes We Should Pray For Rulers, No This Is Not Terribly Accurate

Franklin Graham, the patron saint of Trump, called for Sunday to be a day prayer for the President, and because of that, this reprint has been making the rounds with Trump supporters. So let’s start with the fact that yes, we should pray for our president. The call to pray for world leaders in scripture is very clear. The article references 1 Timothy 2:1-4 in support of this, and rightly so. There is rationale her that is wrong however. From the article: ” If so many believers spent just a portion of the time praying for him that they spend complaining about and criticizing the president, there would be a lot more prayers being lifted up and much more good would be accomplished.” The first problem is that there is an assumption that those who criticize the POTUS do not pray for him, or at least not enough. While that well may be true of some, there are many faithful Christians who do pray for him, yet also criticize policies that are not in line with scripture, the American tradition, common sense, or a combination of all three. I could claim that if so many believers spent a portion of the time praying that they spend praising Trump, there would be a lot more prayers lifted, and that statement would be equally wrong in regard to a broad strokes statement that sounds good, but does not hold up under scrutiny.

The worst part about the above statement though is this: “and much more good would be accomplished.” Nothing indicates that somehow if we all pray more for Trump, there will be more good. That is just not how any of this works. Not even a little. There is this thing called free will. Our prayers are not going to trump (pun intended) that, or our representative system of government. If you are praying for the success of Trump’s policies, then you are doing it wrong. Our faith is, by necessity, political, but it should never be partisan. Rather, we should be praying that our leaders have Godly wisdom and direction and that ultimately God’s will, not Trump’s be done.

“The opposition to this president is very intense and much of it doesn’t even make a lot of sense – at least not in the natural.  The media, the opposing political party, the political party that he is in, – it appears that opposition is coming against him from almost every side.  It seems that there are those who don’t like him no matter what he does. But when you look at it for what it is, it makes a lot of sense.  From a spiritual perspective and from a spiritual warfare perspective, it makes plenty of sense.” This is simply slanderous. I mean, if you want to call me a tool of the adversary, at least have the courage to do it in a straightforward manner and not try to mask it. After all, what else can be true given the paragraph? Most of the opposition to Trump does make a whole lot of sense, thanks. To everything from tariffs, the dehumanizing language, the general arrogance and hubris, the continuation of unnecessary wars, and the threats of new ones, etc. Opposition to these things makes a great deal of sense to a great many people. Take his own party for instance. Any politician that claims to be fiscally conservative, should, rightly, oppose the massive spending being done. That makes sense. The over saturation of illegal immigrant crime, despite the reality that immigrants, legal and illegal, commit far less violent crime that native born Americans per capita, should be opposed by anyone who is interested in the truth. The opposition to Trump on policy makes an incredible amount of sense thanks. Here’s an interesting question though, why is it that you would want me to pray for Trump if you think that I am an agent of Satan because I find his demeanor rather disrespectful, his bearing overly prideful, and the majority of his policies, both foreign and domestic, to be seriously flawed?

Does POTUS Trump say all the “right things” about abortion? Sure he does. So has every other republican president since Reagan.  As to his appointment of judges that are pro-life, keep in mind that his last appointee called Roe settled law, and his first appointee is strong on religious freedoms and exemptions for reasons of faith,  has done nothing to indicate that he would over turn Roe. Sorry, but Roe is not likely to go away in full anytime soon. Frankly, conservatives pretty regularly complain that “the left” is trying to use activist judges to make law, but cheer when “their tribe” does the same thing. I am no fan of abortion and find it morally repugnant, but that does not change the reality of the situation. Trumps claims to love life however are over shadowed by his willingness to support the slaughter of innocents by the Saudi’s, rescinding the requirement that drone strikes report civilian causalities,  and the current unnecessary escalation of tensions with Iran, just to name a few. Regarding the use of drones, there have been 2,243 drone strikes in the first two years of the Trump presidency. There were 1,878 in former POTUS Obama’s eight years. By the way, I did not care for him either, so this is not some sort of partisan hit piece. You don’t love life, then increase the loss of it.

“He also seems to make decisions that are genuinely in the best interest of our nation as a whole (1 Kings 3:9). ” Sorry, but the only way Trump is similar to Solomon is perhaps in the harem that he has used. As for the decisions that are in the best interests of the nation in the long term, that is a matter for much debate, not a given. Again, this is partisan religion that has no place in the Christian faith. “He has officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital showing adherence to the words: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee” (Psalm 122:6). ” First of all, one can pray for the peace of Jerusalem with out the recognition of Jerusalem as the political capital of an earthly kingdom. One would think that to be a given. The second thing is that in doing this, there has not been peace in Israel. If anything, it escalated tensions, not diffuse them. Jerusalem is the holy city, of that there is no doubt, but Trump’s recognition had nothing to do with faith, and everything to do with courting evangelical voters. No amount of quoting Psalms out of context is going to change that, the reality that it violates UN Security council resolutions that the US voted for, etc. What Trump did was garner votes, and made the US a liar by violating the UN resolution, that we then complain other nations do. Trump made our foreign policy on of hypocrisy. “These are the kinds of accomplishments that make him very unpopular with the Devil and the kingdom of darkness.  So the onslaught of opposition continues. ” Take two in calling anyone who opposes Trump’s policies tools of Satan.

“Yet the work of the church is clear.  We are called to pray for our president and other leaders in authority.  We need to be consistent, fervent, and persevering in prayer.  The success of the president is directly connected to how faithfully the church is praying for him (see Exodus 17:8-13).” Just as Trump is not Solomon, he also isn’t Moses, or a prophet from God. The verse might have some use if we were at war with Amalek, but we aren’t so it’s pretty silly to invoke it here. Equally silly is to link it to prayer, as that is not what is done to keep Moses arms raised. Trump has not been commanded by God to conquer some promised land. Sorry, but it’s the truth.

This is not the Christian faith, this is a cult of personality that revolves around Trump. Of course a Christian can support Trump, just like a Christian can support other candidates and policies. Of course all Christians should pray for our leaders and world leaders, as well as our neighbors, etc. but we need to do so in the full context of the passage of 2 Timothy which is that the point of prayer is so that all may know of salvation in Jesus the Christ, not so that some partisan politician can be successful. We would all do well, in America at least, to seriously look at how we are supporting our preferred candidates, and how we are speaking about those who have different political views. Right now, no matter how much we pray, and who we pray for, this article is anything but holy, and so are the justifications it uses and the insinuations that it makes.

 

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6 Replies to “Yes We Should Pray For Rulers, No This Is Not Terribly Accurate”

  1. “Most of the opposition to Trump does make a whole lot of sense, thanks.”
    Everything is relative in politics. Your post deals with politics. Just out of curiosity, who would you support for President, out of the plethora of candidates? Just so I know where you’re coming from. Jesus isn’t available yet. Neither is David or Solomon.

  2. I could live with Bill Weld if I had to.
    I am listening closely to Tulsi Gabbard. She has some positions I like, just not sure yet if they outweigh the ones I do not like.
    I am hoping Justin Amash takes up the Libertarians on their offer to run. I would vote for him. At least he has a shred of integrity. Same for Rand Paul, though they are both different types.
    Steve Bullock is moderate enough a democrat that I could maybe support him.
    Those are the folks I am still listening to anyway. I don’t know that I would support any of them at this point except Amash or Paul because they all have a bit of a tendency to go to the party extremes to get elected.
    Some more than long shots I am listening to are Ben Leder, and Daniel Berhman.

  3. Thanks for stating some names. I have to admit I’m not familiar with most. Since this isn’t a political blog, I’ll refrain from debating any positions. No matter who gets in, I will guarantee they will find a way to screw things up. That’s the nature of politics. That, in a short summary, is why UMC is screwed up. They are playing politics, (activist politics – which is worse).

    1. “That, in a short summary, is why UMC is screwed up. They are playing politics, (activist politics – which is worse).”
      That will preach.

    2. I don’t mind an exchange of thoughts and ideas on political issues, I would only ask that we try to confine those thoughts and comments to Christian responses to the issues of the day and not just political vitriol.
      For example, I am going to jump out on a limb and say that we all want the hungry to be able to have food. Where we will often differ is the best way to make that happen. You have thoughts about that, as do I. In an exchange that is healthy, I would then think that what we are doing is explaining how our faith has played into that thought process and position.

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