In the Strange Land of Strange Prayers
At a Trump rally in Waterloo, Iowa, Pastor Joshua Graber from the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Vinton, IA, came out with his prayer which largely involved asking God to intervene to help Donald Trump defeat his enemies. Not something I have been able to find in my Bible, but this is christo-Trumpism.
“We pray that you will impart wisdom to our president as he goes forth to stand in our place. We ask that those who stand against him be put to silence. That those horrendous actions against him and his family be exposed and struck down.
When we leave this place, give us the courage to say no to evil … Give us the courage to stand with President Trump in the caucuses and the election to come. We ask for your guidance, wisdom and power. In Jesus’s almighty and powerful name, Amen.”
Strange Prayers Proliferate
In the genre of “Strange Prayers,” this is not a particularly egregious one. There have been so many prayers that are more horrific.
For instance, evangelicals, during President Obama’s two terms as president, were in love with the “imprecatory prayers” of the Psalter. They routinely prayed for God to kill President Obama. This might be referred to as “assassination by prayer for divine intervention.” How Christian pastors conceived God as a collaborator in an assassination of an American president exceeds imagination.
Back in 2016, then Senator David Perdue, in remarks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference, said: “I think we’re called to pray for our country, for our leaders, and yes, even our president. In his role as president, I think we should pray for Barack Obama. But I think we need to be very specific about how we pray. We should pray like Psalms 109:8 says. It says, “Let his days be few, and let another have his office.”
This verse from the psalter — sometimes labeled “the Obama Prayer”—has been circulating for years among conservatives.
In a statement, Perdue’s office clarified, “He in no way wishes harm to our president and everyone in the room understood that” and accused the media of “pushing a narrative to create controversy.”
There was a strange prayer at the “ReAwaken America” event in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Michael Flynn prayed: “Father God, we come to you in the name of Jesus. We’re asking you to open the eyes of President Trump’s understanding, that he will know the time of divine intervention. He will know how to implement divine intervention. And you will surround him, Father, with none of this deep-state trash, none of this RINO trash. You surround him, people that you pick, with your own mighty hand. In the name of Jesus.”
Representative Lauren Boebert, prior to be ejected from a performance of Beetlejuice in Denver, attended a prayer meeting at the Charis Christian Center in Colorado Springs. In her remarks she says, “I do want you to know that I pray for our President. Psalm 109:8 says, ‘May his days be few and another take his office.’ Hallelujah! Glory to God,” Boebert said, garnering applause from the crowd.
After the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth, conservative Texas pastor Robert Henderson of Waco’s Radiant Church said Sunday that Ginsburg died because he prayed for it to happen. Referring to Ginsburg as a “lion: for inexplicable reasons, Henderson said, we ‘need to ask for a judgment against the lion that has actually been devouring and intends to devour from the Supreme Court. We need to get a judgment against this lion that Paul said God shut the mouth of.’ So, I led us into that place.”
A Few Words for Pastor Graber
Pastor Graber, Mr. Trump is not “our” president. He isn’t anyone’s president. He lost the 2020 election. Now, he is president of “X” (previously Twitter), but not the United States of America.
You are right that Mr. Trump needs wisdom, but don’t count on him being receptive. He knows more about everything than anyone, including God. Perhaps Trump wants to rethink his remarks that he knows more about taxes and debt than anyone now that he has been convicted of fraud in the state of New York. He put his foot in his mouth when he said, “I know more about courts than any human being on Earth.” He has certainly appeared in several courts.
Pastor Graber, what is this nationalistic idolatry about Trump as “he goes forth to stand in our place”? Are you suggesting some sort of political substitutionary atonement with Donald Trump as the Lamb of God? You were kidding, right?
When you asked God to silence those who stand against Mr. Trump, exactly what did you have in mind?
I assume that the “horrendous actions against” Trump are the indictments and trials he now faces. I want to remind you that Trump committed fraud, told the lies, shared the secrets of our nation, and lead the insurrection on January 6. No one is taking horrendous actions against him. He is going to trial, at least four times. He has already been found guilty of fraud in New York. His Trump University has already paid $25 million in fines and been forced to shut down because of, yes, you got it, fraud.
You don’t need courage to stand with Trump, you need to rethink your support of a lying, fraud who cares only for himself.
Since you are a pastor, I offer you a verse of Scripture to take to heart before you pray another awful prayer in public: “Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”