Today we will inaugurate a new president. Today, the people of the United States of America, will turn the keys of the White House over the Donald Trump.
This Inauguration Day is a complicated one. On the one hand, I truly celebrate and rejoice the tradition of peaceful transfers of power among our elected officials. I am thankful that our nation, unlike many nations in our world, will transition from one leader to another without bloodshed. We can be proud that our political system, when justly executed, limits the power of our leader, limits the terms of their political influence, and gives the people a voice through elections.
On the other hand, today we are Inaugurating an ungodly man. The nation spoke through our election system, and I will respect the results of the vote. But political popularity does not render President Trump a godly man. Trump has boasted about his immorality and rejected his need to repent; he has publicly mocked Image-bearers and has made a mockery of the Christian faith. Andy Naselli summarizes Trumps past and present actions, as well as his unrepentant spirit, this way:
- Trump publicly brags about committing adultery.
- Trump mocks and disrespects people—women, the disabled, even prisoners of war.
- Trump lacks a pro-life record. He is not a pro-lifer. He can’t even defend the pro-life position.
- Trump is a con artist (e.g., Trump University).
- Trump is a demagogue. He appeals to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.
- Trump is shamelessly proud. He recently boasted, “Nobody reads the Bible more than me.” Yet he says that he has never asked God or others to forgive him for anything.
– “Can you Vote for Trump with a Clear Conscience” by Andy Naselli, as seen in “How to Live Under and Unqualified President”, by John Piper
Though some Christians are hopeful that Trump is a “baby Christian”, I have seen no such fruit of God’s Spirit in his life, and I’m not particularly optimistic that we will.
So today we hold this tension in our bellies:
Today we inaugurate the president of the people’s choosing.
Today we inaugurate an ungodly man.
In the early hours of this morning, I sat in bed with my husband, Austin, and read through Proverbs 20. My heart was unmoving. As we shared prayer requests, reminding each other of friends we wanted to lift up in prayer, today’s inauguration sat like a lump in my throat. I didn’t want to mention it, because I knew that if I did I would be obligated to pray for it – and for President Trump.
Over the last several months, I have lived in a bit of ignorance. During the campaign season, I didn’t think Trump would stand a chance. When Evangelical leaders started endorsing him, I was confused and estranged from the conversation. When he won the election, I was shocked. But even now, even today as he is inaugurated as the President of the United Stated, I am still ignorantly surprised. Somehow, I foolishly through this day wouldn’t come.
And in my ignorance, I have not prayed. Blindly, I have shut my eyes to the fact that Trump will now lead our nation, and I have not prayed for him. Not once.
The book of Proverbs provided me a poignant reminder this morning of how godly leaders are to lead. Throughout the book of Proverbs, the nation’s leaders are called “kings”, and the author spills much ink on the topic. Thankfully, we don’t have a king in the United States; Trump’s power will be curbed and his time in leadership will be limited. Yet, we can (and should) pray that President Trump’s leadership embodies the wisdom of the book of Proverbs.
I asked myself this morning how the godly can pray for an ungodly leader, and the book of Proverbs answered:
Proverbs 8:14-16: We pray that he will lead with justice, and surround himself with just rulers.
Proverbs 14:34-35: We pray that he will be glad to appoint wise leaders, and feel great shame when he appoints foolish leaders.
Probers 16:11-13: We pray that he will love honesty and hate wrongdoing; that he will value those who will speak the truth (to him and to others).
Proverbs 20:27-28: We pray that his leadership will be embedded with love and faithfulness, shown to our nation and to other nations.
Proverbs 25:4-5: We pray that he will remove wicked leaders from power, and that he will rule – and will appoint leaders who will rule – with righteousness.
Proverbs 29:4: We pray that he will seek justice and bring justice to our nation, and that our nation will experience great stability only when we see justice done for all.
Proverbs 29:13-14: We pray that he would look on the poor with fairness, and remember that no act, legislation, meeting, or decision goes unnoticed by our God who loves the poor, always reminded that God will hold him to account for all he does.
I don’t know what the next four years will hold, but here is what we do know: God hears the prayers of His people. So, would you join me in praying for President Trump? Would you repent with me for not praying sooner, and for not praying for our leaders past? Would you commit with me to come before our God of grace and ask Him to show us the way forward in these complicated times in which we live under an ungodly leader?
Until our King comes with His Kingdom of goodness and righteousness, and establishes His holy reign – forever.
Randy Brunson says
Good morning Amy, your thoughts regarding the role of those believers who didn’t vote for Trump are some of the most reasoned thoughts I have read. Thank you for posting this.
Deanna Nelson says
I am writing in reference to your January 2017 election of Donald Trump. I pray you go see the movie “Trump Prophecy”. You will see even though not a perfect not, is a Cyrus in so many ways. President Trump has done more than any other President in my lifetime for Israel, Protecting our country, Evangelical prayer partners by his side. Pastor Brunson who pray over him, watch our President as he is being prayed for. I do not believe there would be another man to do what our President has done since he took office. He loves our country and he is making a difference. He is changing history with the Supreme Court Nominees. Please write a retraction of your 2017 letter. Thank you, God Bless you, Deanna
Cynthia D LAWSON says
I just found this article yesterday as we discussed the question addressed in its content. Thank you I was beginning to feel as if I was alone in my perceptions about President Trump which happen to align perfectly with yours. I love God and want to please Him. Thanks for your perspective. It is Biblical and it gives direction. I’m saddened by the unblical buy-in of the Evangelical church, many are confused by it and I fear it will hasten apostasy and increase lawlessness. Again, thanks, I know how to more specifically pray.
Randel Stubbs says
I leave this comment on Nov. 16, 2019 as I prepare to teach a class on ‘how Christians should vote and if every leader should be prayed for?’
We not only have an ungodly leader at the helm of the U.S. government but advisers and enablers around him who are complicit in his actions, behavior and policy for their political benefit.
He is not alone in governing in arrogance, ignorance, half truths and outright lies
Sometimes the rightful action is not prayers of complacency but for prayer of change and removal. If a person’s words, conduct, policy and behavior is repeatedly a distain for the poor, disregard for justice, distain for truth and hatred for one’s neighbor, then the person doesn’t have the necessary qualities to lead. Change and removal are mandatory to halt the hemorrhaging of the condition of our lives.
My prayer for ungodly leadership is for it to be exposed for the strain of satanic impulses that are. part of its condition.
christina sluka says
I appreciate your prayers. Perhaps it has been the prayers of the saints that has caused Donald Trump to have been the leading president in modern history to establish policies that are more in line with biblical values than any other president we have seen. Value for life-the unborn, for Israel-placing the US Embassy in Jerusalem and establishing support for Israel, stopping the billions of tarriffs we have been giving to China for importing goods that we are manufacturing on their soil that have built their military, and stopping WHO and other organizations that are in alignment with China and communism rather than free economy. Assist in policies that motivate African American and Hispanic peoples to get jobs and keep them also protecting religious liberties especially among the Christian. So may it be so for the next 4 years and even now before the election. May we continue to pray that God’s kingdom will come and will be done and that our current president and first lady would have strength from above to run the race set before them to receive the prize of the upward call of Jesus Christ.