Pray for Trump

I read an article this morning that Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, is trying to organize a national “Pray for Trump” day this coming Sunday. According to Graham, Trump is surrounded by enemies and needs divine intervention at this point to protect him and bring him to whatever glorious endgame God must surely have in store for the man.

And I certainly believe there’s an endgame waiting for Trump. On that, Franklin Graham and I definitely agree, even if the temperature of that endgame might be up for debate. I’m also all for praying for the man. After all, the first scripture that came to mind when I read the challenge was Matthew 5:

38 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, An aeye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not aevil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right bcheekcturn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 aGive to him that asketh thee, and from him that would bborrow of thee turn not thou away.
43 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt alove thy bneighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, aLove your benemiescbless them that dcurse you, do egood to them that fhate you, and gpray for them which despitefully use you, and hpersecute you;
45 That ye amay be the bchildren of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth crain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye alove them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 aBe ye therefore bperfect, even as your cFather which is in heaven is dperfect.

There’s a narrative that’s being used by some religious groups that’s deeply disturbing to me, even as I once bought into it. Confession time: I remember in the days after 9/11, I felt that George Bush had been helped by God to win the 2000 election because of what lay in store for the country. That if Al Gore had been president at that time, things would have been much worse. (Go easy on me. I was 23, and in Utah.)

That’s not an idea that I plucked out of the ether. It’s an idea many Republicans believed then, and probably still believe. Within my own faith, we believe the Founding Fathers of America were inspired by God to create a new template of freedoms, and I continue to believe that, although I don’t buy into the almost sainthood status some within my faith would have us bestow on them. The Founding Fathers were still simply men, warts and all.

But sooner or later all this “God put ____________ into office” logic begins to break down. To hear the Republicans, they’d have God helping in some elections and sitting others out. He got Bush into office, but then took a couple of election cycles off, letting Obama (who some Republicans called the anti-Christ, and I am not making that up, sadly), have a turn in the Oval Office. But then He came back to help Trump get in. But while He pulled that stunt off without the help of a national day of prayer to get Trump elected, apparently things are bad enough now that we need to move the prayer needle back to Trump’s favor.

Of course, it’s a dangerous thing to dismiss the role of God in our lives. To toss out the potential for prayer to actually have a real impact on us personally. I remember one of my professors at BYU questioning how mass prayers really were supposed to work. As if God was up in heaven, waiting to pour out blessings or unleash the heavenly host to come to our aid, but He had to wait for the giant Prayer Meter to get to a certain point before He could. And if someone ended up dying, God snapped his fingers in disappointment and said, “Shoot. They were just five prayers shy of me being able to help.”

That sounds ridiculous, and I don’t believe it. Yet I also think there are times when the collective faith of the many opens up avenues not otherwise available. There’s a dissonance in those two ways of thinking, and it’s not a dissonance I’ve totally come to peace with yet. I tend to believe it’s because my understanding is limited to a strict cause/effect way of thinking. But that’s a thinking bounded by a fourth dimension (time) that’s always linear. Always moving from cause to effect. But if a being could be outside that linear restriction, could the effect ever come before the cause? Could it be planned for, not ahead of time, but outside of it?

And now we’ve reached a point I had no idea I was even headed in when I started this simple post about praying for Trump. So before I head further down that rabbit hole, I’m going to back up and leave the topic for another time.

Where was I?

Praying for Trump.

I’m baffled that so many religious people can continue to put so much faith in a man who is so clearly without morals. Who doesn’t just spit on every single one of the ten commandments, but smiles while he does it and assures you he isn’t, even as the spittle’s still wet. This, then, is the tool God is using to keep the country safe?

I don’t doubt God capable of working through even the most rusty and decrepit of tools. His work will eventually be complete, no matter what. But I can’t pray for Trump to continue down the path he’s on. I can’t believe it’s one God looks on favorably.

Will I pray for Trump? Sure. The way the Children of Israel prayed that God would soften Pharaoh’s heart. The way Christ prayed for the men who crucified Him. I will pray for Trump the way Paul exhorted Timothy:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
For akings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and bpeaceable clife in all godliness and dhonesty.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

Here’s hoping it does some good.

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