I didn't agree with all of President Obama's policies when he was in the White House, but I prayed for him regularly because 1) he was my president for eight years, and 2) I'm a Christian, so I try to follow God's Word. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says believers should pray "for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty."
Since the 2016 election I've also prayed for President Trump. He's my president. I don't agree with everything he does or says (or everything he tweets), but I have his photo in my visual prayer list on my phone. I pray for him almost daily for wisdom, God's divine guidance and protection—and mostly for peace and justice to prevail in our nation during his term in office.
I got very sad last week when I heard people's vile reactions to the news that President Trump and his wife had tested positive for COVID-19. Responses on social media ranged from "I hope he dies" to "Trump is making the world worse by existing." Some people even wrote on Twitter that they hoped all of the president's cabinet members would get infected and die.
The online hatred was so severe that Twitter's monitors had to issue a warning that they would remove posts "that wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease against anyone." The situation reminded me of comedian Kathy Griffin, who was fired from CNN in 2017 after she posted a photo of herself holding up a mock severed head of President Trump.
I wasn't shocked by Kathy Griffin's shameless stunt. But I have been surprised to learn that many Christians actually refuse to pray for President Trump. When one Biden-supporting evangelical leader asked people to pray for Trump, regardless of his political positions, several Christians responded by saying "I think I'll pass" or "I just can't do that."
And a few even sounded happy that Trump had been infected, posting comments like, "Good. Maybe this will teach him that this virus is not a hoax," or "Maybe this will make him think about the 200,000 people he killed with this virus." I expect cold-hearted comments like that from unbelievers, but not from people who have experienced the love of God.
Thankfully our president seems to have had only a mild case of COVID-19, and he is already recovering. Mainstream journalists seem disappointed that he didn't end up on a ventilator. I think they really did want Trump to die. But is that the attitude Christians should have? We need to be reminded of Proverbs 24:17 (NIV), which says: "Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice."
If you have so much disgust in your heart for President Trump's character or his policies, remember that Jesus said we should even pray for our enemies (see Matt. 5:44). Jesus knew that when you pray for someone you hate, or show kindness to them, you cut out a malignant tumor of bitterness from your heart. Prayer doesn't just affect the person you are praying for; it changes you too.
I challenge you to pray for our president using the simple prayer below.
"Heavenly Father—I pray for our president, Donald Trump. We know he is not a perfect man, but You can use him to carry out Your will. Give him Your supernatural wisdom, Lord, just as you gave Solomon divine wisdom to lead Israel.
"Give President Trump a heart of mercy and compassion, Lord, so he will care for the poor, the marginalized, immigrants and minorities. May his policies result in justice and righteousness for all the people of our nation. Surround him with wise and godly advisors. Give our president the grace to listen to wise counsel. And deliver him from those who secretly plot to harm him or deceive him.
"Deliver our president from the pride that tempts all people who are in positions of great power. Bless him with humility. May he always speak the truth. Set a guard over his mouth so he will control his tongue when he is angry. And give him the spirit of a peacemaker, so he can help the nations of the world live in harmony.
"Most of all, we pray that President Trump will trust in the Lord. Just as King Josiah turned to the Lord and honored God's Word in the sight of all, may our president honor you in all that he does. Psalm 33:12a says: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." May our president know You personally, and may he point our nation to follow You. Amen."
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
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