President Trump made a surprise visit to McLean Bible Church in McLean, VA this Sunday to pay his respects to victims' families in Virginia Beach. A few days earlier, 12 people were killed by a former colleague at a municipal building.
Pastor David Platt was giving his sermon when he was pulled backstage to be informed Trump was on his way to the church. As pastors do, he said a prayer for the surprise guest onstage. An appreciative Trump smiled, waved, and gave a thumbs up to the congregation as they applauded him.
President Trump makes an unannounced stop at McLean Bible Church in Vienna, VA. pic.twitter.com/qBZzDi96vl— The Hill (@thehill) June 2, 2019
Not everyone was clapping, however, because Platt was compelled to release a clarification on why he prayed for Trump. His prayer appears to have "hurt" some members of his congregation. He began by citing 1 Timothy 2:1-6, which reads in part that, "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people."
"Based on this text, I know that it is good, and pleasing in the sight of God, to pray for the president," Platt explained in his statement about his "Prayer 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."
I'll join the many observers who say there's nothing controversial about a pastor praying for a president - especially in the midst of tragedy. Prayer has no political affiliation. Even Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she regularly prays for President Trump because, she's explained, she wants him to succeed.
As Pastor David said in his prayer, what unites us "is not our politics."
"What unites us in this room is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the word of God."