Did Paula White pray for the reelection of President Trump at the opening of his massive campaign rally in Orlando?
Back in 2008, I heard of a prominent, black, mega-church pastor praying for the election of Barack Obama by name. In other words, he led his congregation in prayer that Senator Obama would become our next president. (Previously, he had prayed the same prayer for the presidential election of Al Gore.)
Did Paula White do the same thing last night? And is this how Christian leaders should pray? Should they pray partisan prayers?
As reported on The Hill, Rev. White’s prayer was quite targeted and bold.
First, she went after the “demonic networks,” saying, “Let every demonic network that has aligned itself against the purpose, against the calling of President Trump, let it be broken, let it be torn down in the name of Jesus.”
She continued, “I declare that President Trump will overcome every strategy from hell and every strategy from the enemy.
“I secure his calling, I secure his purpose, I secure his family, and we secure victory in the name which is above every name ... the name of Jesus Christ.”
At first glance, this would seem like a totally partisan prayer, including a specific prayer for Trump’s reelection. And to pray it in the name of Jesus would suggest that the Lord Himself is taking political sides. Jesus is now a Republican! (And yes, I’ve heard many a prayer that would suggest that Jesus was a Democrat!)
On the other hand, there are certainly times when the Lord does take political sides. He was surely against slavery and segregation in our past history, and I’m convinced He is against abortion in our day.
At the same time, that doesn’t mean God is siding with a political party or a person. As President Lincoln rightly replied when asked if he thought God was on his side, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.”
This is similar to the biblical account involving Joshua, the successor to Moses, as he was about to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. The first target was the city of Jericho, and the Lord had promised to deliver this city into Joshua’s hands.
We read in Joshua 5, “Once, when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing before him, drawn sword in hand.
“Joshua went up to him and asked him, ‘Are you one of us or of our enemies?’
“He replied, ‘No, I am captain of the LORD’S host. Now I have come!’
“Joshua threw himself face down to the ground and, prostrating himself, said to him, ‘What does my lord command his servant?’
“The captain of the LORD’S host answered Joshua, ‘Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:13–15, NJPS)
So, even when Joshua was about to march out to defeat the city of Jericho at God’s specific command, the captain of God’s angelic army was not on Joshua’s side (or Jericho’s side, obviously). Instead, Joshua needed to align himself with God, to be in harmony with him.
In short, we get on his side. He doesn’t get on our side.
As for White’s prayer for Trump, it could be read as an extremely partisan prayer. (The “demonic networks” will certainly have a field day with her words. On the other hand, they have hardly been godly in their dealings with the president.)
But it’s possible that White was not guaranteeing his reelection as much as saying, “God, we believe that you raised up Donald Trump to be our president, and therefore we stand against every satanic attack that comes against him in Jesus’ name. And we are declaring by faith that he will accomplish everything you have planned for him.”
Personally, I’m concerned with praying in a way that associates Jesus with a particular party or political leader. But in the end, the way a Christian leader prays is between him or her and God. If they feel that He is leading them to pray a particular way, even for the election of a specific person, that’s their business, and they will give account to Him, not to you or me.
From my perspective, though, I vote according to my convictions but then pray, “Father, Your will be done for our nation! You put the person in the White House that will be best for our nation in every sense of the word. You know what we need and You know what You want to do. So Father, I pray Your will would be done and your kingdom would come and that You would be glorified!”
For those already in office, I pray that that they will truly come to know the Lord and conduct themselves in a way that honors Him. And I pray that we will be able to spread the Lord’s message freely (as per 1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Beyond that, I don’t presume to know what His specific plan is.
He may choose to raise up an ungodly leader to judge the nation or to awaken the Church.
Or He may choose to raise up a godly leader to bless the nation or test the Church. (Will we put our trust in that leader or in the Lord?)
Without a doubt, the next 18 months will be some of the most divisive in our history.
Can all believers agree to pray, “Heavenly Father, Your will be done in the 2020 elections! And Your will be done in us! Conform us to the image and character of Jesus!”
Can we agree as Christians to pray like that with one united voice?