I was recently involved in a heated conversation on Facebook between Christians who are angry with President Trump and those who defend him. Most of us have heard, or taken part in, similar conversations. As I have reflected on and prayed about what is going on in America, I have one point and two questions.
First, my point. We get the government we deserve. The Church is called to be “salt and light” in any and every culture in which we find ourselves. If we have ineffective government and anger within our nation, we must first look at ourselves, the Church, the body of Christ. The Church is not the barometer of our nation, measuring the spiritual climate. Rather, the Church is the thermostat, guiding the “spirit” of our nation. In my more than twenty-five years of working in national Christian ministries, I have not seen the Church as fractured as it is today.
The Church must lead the nation by doing away with the pointing finger and the malicious talk (Isaiah 58:9). We, the Church, must stop fighting for our particular point of view or position. We have to tone down the conversation. The Church should model respectful and loving discussion, especially about polarizing political issues. We must stop fighting for our opinions to win, and start promoting God’s opinion. To know God’s opinion, we have to ask Him. We cannot presume to know God’s heart before we ask Him.
As I have asked God about the strife I see in and out of the Church, I think of two questions to ask every Christian involved in these debates.
Question #1: Is God powerful enough to direct President Trump? If you or your friends have given up on President Trump, this is the question for you. Scripture provides a clear answer: “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Proverbs 21:1 NAS). There is no ruler, king, dictator, or president outside of the hand of God. God’s sovereignty reigns. So when we have a problem with President Trump, let’s understand that his authority comes from God. Let’s not “give up” on President Trump, let’s go to God about him. This leads to my second question.
Question #2: Do the Scriptures command us to pray for our President? The answer is clearly yes: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV) Paul urges us to pray for our leaders because our prayers make a difference. Our prayers are the primary way we can affect our culture and be “salt and light.” God invites us to shape history with him through prayer and intercession.
Our ministry supports a network of tens of thousands of intercessors. We know that there is no neutrality in spiritual issues. We are either working with God’s will or against it. I urge us all to obey God’s command to pray for our President—choosing to have faith in God to achieve His will through the President, whoever he is. When instead we choose prayerlessness, malicious talk, and pointing the finger, we cooperate with the adversary, rather than God.
These are critical times, with much at stake. The Church must be united in fervent prayer for our nation and its leader.