Trump Quietly Showed Up at David Platt’s Church and Asked for Prayer This Weekend

McLean Bible Church

When President Trump made an unannounced visit to McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Virginia, on Sunday, Pastor David Platt prayed what some are calling a “model prayer” for the chief executive. The pastor of the D.C.-area megachurch glorified God, proclaimed the gospel message, and asked for wisdom for Trump and other political leaders.

“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 [1 Timothy 2] portrays,” Platt wrote in a letter to his congregation.

Platt Was Suprised by the President’s Visit to McLean Bible Church

Platt acknowledged he was surprised by the President’s visit and indicated he was a little concerned about the message it would send to his parishioners to invite him on the stage. “I immediately thought about my longing to guard the integrity of the gospel in our church,” Platt explains. “I love that we have over 100 nations represented in our church family, including all kinds of people with varied personal histories and political opinions from varied socioeconomic situations,” he wrote. In the end, Platt took his cue from 1 Timothy 2:1-6, which instructs “supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people,” even “kings and all who are in high positions.”

Trump’s brief visit to McLean followed a golf outing at his nearby club. The president removed his golf hat while walking on stage, and after Platt prayed for him, Trump waved, mouthed the words “thank you,” and left without comment.

Although a White House spokesperson said Trump came to the church to “visit with the pastor and pray for the victims and community of Virginia Beach,” neither Trump nor Platt mentioned last Friday’s mass shooting. Virginia Beach is about 200 miles from Vienna.

Platt: Pray for the President “continually”

Platt, who served for four years as president of the Southern Baptist Church’s International Missions Board, acknowledged the call to pray for Trump on June 2. But he said, “We don’t want to do that just on this Sunday. We want to do that continually, day in and day out.”

With a Bible in one hand and the other on Trump’s back, Platt prayed:

O God, we praise you as the one universal king over all. You are our leader and our Lord and we worship you. There is one God and one Savior—and it’s you, and your name is Jesus. And we exalt you, Jesus. We know we need your mercy. We need your grace. We need your help. We need your wisdom in our country. And so we stand right now on behalf of our president, and we pray for your grace and your mercy and your wisdom upon him.

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. 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.

Lord we pray, we pray, that you would give him all the grace he needs to govern in ways that we just saw in 1 Timothy 2 that lead to peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way. God we pray for your blessing in that way upon his family. We pray that you would give them strength. We pray that you would give them clarity. Wisdom, wisdom, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Please, O God, give him wisdom and help him to lead our country alongside other leaders. We pray today for leaders in Congress. We pray for leaders in courts. We pray for leaders in national and state levels. Please, O God, help us to look to you, help us to trust in your Word, help us to seek your wisdom, and live in ways that reflect your love and your grace, your righteousness and your justice. We pray for your blessings on our president toward that end. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

Platt’s Prayer Unrelated to Graham’s Event

Evangelist Franklin Graham had declared June 2 as a “special day of prayer for the president,” saying no president in America’s history “has been attacked more than Donald Trump.” Graham emphasized the event was neither partisan nor an endorsement of the president. “It’s to just call on God give [Trump] wisdom,” he said, “because if he makes a good decision, it is good for all of us.”

More than 300 Christian leaders signed a statement supporting the event, but Platt wasn’t among them. Platt is a council member of The Gospel Coalition, “a fellowship of evangelical churches in the Reformed tradition deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures.”

In an article on the coalition’s website, Joe Carter writes, “If President Trump was hoping on Sunday to hear a Franklin Graham-style condemnation of his enemies, he was at the wrong church—and chose the wrong pastor.”

In response to Graham’s call for prayer, Trump tweeted: “We will all stick together and WIN! Thank you Franklin.”

* Note: David Platt was featured on the cover of Outreach Magazine and McLean Bible Church has been in the Outreach 100 Fastest Growing Churches. Subscribe today and get the next Outreach 100 issue sent to your mailbox.

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Stephanie Martin
Stephanie Martin, a freelance journalist, has worked in Christian publishing for 27 years. She’s active at her church in Lakewood, Colorado, where she lives with her husband and two teenage daughters.