David Platt, the pastor of McLean Bible Church in Virginia, unintentionally made headlines over the weekend when President Donald Trump showed up at his church to receive prayer.
As a pastor who intentionally avoids political associations and rhetoric, Platt was somewhat uncomfortable with the situation, and aware of the potential criticisms that can result from a perceived association with a figure as polarizing as President Trump. Having been called upon to pray for the president on just a few moments' notice, Platt prayed a nonpartisan, biblically-grounded prayer for President Trump.
"We stand right now on behalf of our president and we pray for your grace and your mercy and your wisdom upon him," Platt began. "And 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 and 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."
Still, Platt knew that some in his large and diverse congregation would take issue with him having President Trump on stage for prayer, especially given that the prayer was followed by loud applause. So, Platt issued a statement to his church explaining his decision and the thoughts behind it.
Platt wrote in the statement that, near the end of his service, he was notified that President Trump would be there in minutes for prayer. He said once the president arrived and before going on stage, he had a brief conversation during which he shared the gospel. But he made no apologies for the decision to pray for the nation's leader:
That's why, as soon as I heard this request backstage, the passage from God's Word that came to my mind was 1 Timothy 2:1-6:"
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time."
Based on this text, I know that it is good, and pleasing in the sight of God, to pray for the president. So in that moment, I decided to take this unique opportunity for us as a church to pray over him together. My aim was in no way to endorse the president, his policies, or his party, but to obey God's command to pray for our president and other leaders to govern in the way this passage portrays.
Platt, concerned with unity within the body of his church, acknowledged those who might be upset that he prayed publicly for President Trump on stage:
I wanted to share all of this with you in part because I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision. This weighs heavy on my heart. I love every member of this church, and I only want to lead us with God's Word in a way that transcends political party and position, heals the hurts of racial division and injustice, and honors every man and woman made in the image of God. So while I am thankful that we had an opportunity to obey 1 Timothy 2 in a unique way today, I don't want to purposely ever do anything that undermines the unity we have in Christ.
Watch the prayer below:
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