Praying for the President

Published 2:37 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2019

tried to find the quote about not talking about politics and religion at the dinner table. I couldn’t find it.

I bring that up because of Franklin Graham’s request last week for churches all over the nation to pray for President Trump.

Franklin Graham has been an international leader of faith for decades. Of course, a child of the late, great Billy Graham, perhaps the best known preacher of the twentieth century, would have a “leg up” on recognition.

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At the same time, the microscope under which a child of Father Billy would grow up has to be very intense. I think Franklin has done a marvelous job in following his father as leader of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and leading his own organization, Samaritan’s Purse.

As a pastor, I wanted to heed Franklin Graham’s request to pray for the president. I think there is Biblical support for praying for “kings and all who are in high positions.” (1 Timothy 2:1-5)

Yet, there is a purpose in church that rises above politics. I have always been careful to keep my personal, political opinion separate from the purpose I hold as the shepherd of the flock. Not everyone feels the way I do and the church is founded, not upon some Democrat or Republican platform, but upon the work of Christ Jesus.

I believe that if I stated a political point of view over the faithful point of view, not only would I be derelict in my duty to teach and preach the love of Jesus Christ, first and foremost, but I would lose my opportunity to influence others toward God. So, most of the time, I stay away from politics in the pulpit.

I have listened to Franklin Graham many times as he, delicately, yet truthfully, spoke the Gospel and tried to speak to the nation he loves and has blessed him. I convinced myself that, as the Bible states in that 1 Timothy 2 passage, it is good and pleasing in the sight of God to “pray for all who are in high positions.”

Sunday’s prayer was not an endorsement of President Trump’s every action. The president of the United States acts on a level that is so much higher than anything most of us do. Is every act wise? No. Does a president ever make mistakes? Yes. Has President Trump acted in ways that I don’t like? Yes, and so did every president before him.

These days are different, though. Even though other presidents have been opposed in their policies by many, President Trump seems to bring out a level of opposition that is out of bounds. There are words used in opposing this president that would have been unacceptable for any president before him.

There is a personal hostility towards this president that, in my opinion, has no basis. I can accept disappointment in losing an election. There have been presidential elections that did not go my way. But to spend the four years of a presidential term seeking to overturn it seems to be a waste of time.

Graham’s point in asking churches to pray for President Trump was valid because our nation needs to get on with the business at hand. There are so many important initiatives that need to be taken. These are for the good of the nation.

But, instead of getting on with the nation’s business, we are a divided people, blinded by a foe that is unseen and devilish. I believe that was Franklin Graham’s aim in praying for our president. It was not so much for him, but for the good of the nation, and I will pray for that any day and twice on Sunday.