Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has called upon Christians all over America to make Sunday, June 2, a day of prayer for President Donald Trump. Let me share a few observations about Graham’s invitation.

» Praying for the president is a biblical command. In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, we are commanded, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

Paul is talking to Christians, to those who have an audience with a God who “removes kings and sets up kings” (Daniel 2:21), according to His will. Christians are commanded to pray for the president (“all who are in high positions”), not against him. We are to pray that the president makes wise, moral, God-honoring decisions that results in wise, moral, God-honoring lives lived out by the Christian citizens of the nation which he leads.

» Praying for the president is not the same thing as agreeing with him. The person praying for the president might not like all his policies. In President Trump’s case, it is likely that the person praying for him, even his supporters, won’t always like his crudeness or vulgarity. There is no stipulation, however, that indicates we only pray for those we support or like.

We must remember that Paul wrote his letter to Timothy during the reign of Nero, who led a horrible persecution against the Christian church; surely, Nero was greatly “disliked” by the majority of believers who were told to pray for him.

Christian, Jesus commanded you not only to forgive, but also to pray and to bless those who you have done you wrong personally. Certainly, he calls you to pray for political leaders with whom you disagree.

» Praying for one president while not another is hypocritical. The person who demands we all pray for President Trump but would not pray for President Obama, or for whoever becomes president next, shows himself to be a hypocrite, asking others to do something that he himself would not do (in this case, to pray for a president that that person does not like). The same is true of those who prayed faithfully for President Obama but will not pray for President Trump.

I was encouraged this morning to read an article Graham wrote in 2014 called, “Praying for Those in Authority is a Biblical Command.” President Obama was the president in 2014, and Graham was challenging all Christians to be praying for him, even though Graham didn’t support all of Obama’s policies.

» Praying for the president should be a regular practice. We pray regularly for our kids, spouses and churches. We should also pray regularly for our community, nation and president. Our president has one of the hardest jobs in the world; don’t you think he needs our prayers every day, not just every once in a while? If you haven’t been in the habit of praying for the president daily, let Sunday’s call to prayer be the start of a new routine.

» Praying for the president is common sense. I’ve never understood those who are hoping the president fails. Does the person who hates President Trump somehow believe that if he ends up being a bad president that all the sudden his supporters will turn on him and vote someone else in next election? If they believe that, they haven’t been paying attention.

We should all pray, every one of us, that the president will speak sensibly, act justly and govern rightly at every turn, with every step. To wish the leader of our country would make bad decisions and weaken our nation is foolishness; it won’t change things, and it goes against God’s commands.

Wondering what things you should be praying for concerning President Trump? I’d suggest you pray for his physical health. Pray that he makes wise decisions. Pray that he becomes a better listener of good advice. Pray that he thinks before he speaks (or tweets!).

Pray that he learns from past mistakes. Pray that he increases in knowledge, so that he can do his job even better. Pray that he walks with integrity. Pray that he never compromises truth. Pray that he learns what God expects of him and has the courage to do it. Pray that, if he hasn’t already, he comes to trust Jesus for his salvation.

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Mark Wingfield, pastor of First Baptist Church in Grottoes, is a columnist for The News Virginian. His column is published Saturdays.

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