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Some thoughts on Pastor Paula White’s prayer for President Trump

23 January 2017

Paula White, is pastor of the New Destiny Christian Center, she is also President Donald Trump’s spiritual adviser. Here is the text of her prayer at his inauguration.

We come to you, heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus with grateful hearts, thanking you for this great country that you have decreed to your people. We acknowledge we are a blessed nation with a rich history of faith and fortitude, with a future that is filled with promise and purpose.

 We recognize that every good and every perfect gift comes from you and the United States of America is your gift, for which we proclaim our gratitude.

As a nation, we now pray for our president, Donald John Trump, vice president, Michael Richard Pence, and their families. We ask that you would bestow upon our president the wisdom necessary to lead this great nation, the grace to unify us, and the strength to stand for what is honorable and right in your sight.

In Proverbs 21:1, you instruct us that our leader’s heart is in your hands. Gracious God, reveal unto our president the ability to know the will, your will, the confidence to lead us in justice and righteousness, and the compassion to yield to our better angels.

While we know there are many challenges before us, in every generation you have provided the strength and power to become that blessed nation. Guide us in discernment, Lord, and give us that strength to persevere and thrive.

Now bind and heal our wounds and divisions, and join our nation to your purpose. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, the psalmists declared.

Let your favor be upon this one nation under God. Let these United States of America be that beacon of hope to all people and nations under your dominion, a true hope for humankind.

Glory to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Haddon Willmer writes: There is much in this prayer which disquiets me. It is a complacent ‘America first’ prayer. Not being an American nor a Trump-fan, I find it hard to get past its nationalism to find a Christian prayer I can join in with.

Confession of sin is a key component of Christian prayer: there is not a hint of it here. The USA is simply ‘the gift of God’. It is called to be, and is confidently proud that it will be, a ‘beacon of hope to all people and nations… a true hope for humankind’. Without qualification, we ask God to give Donald Trump ‘the wisdom necessary to lead this great nation, the grace to unify us, and the strength to stand for what is honourable and right in your sight’. We have no sense, it seems, that if this prayer is real, we are here asking God for a massive miracle, bringing about a painful uprooting and an unimaginable remaking, a radical conversion for the Donald Trump we have come to know and have to live with for the next four years, at least. Could Donald Trump accept such a miracle? There is little evidence that he would. He certainly does not imagine it is necessary.

This prayer is made ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’. If those words mean anything at all, they remind us that our prayer goes through the filter of Jesus Christ, so that it fits faithfully with Jesus Christ. In his words and actions, in his self-giving and dying, Jesus calls us to repentance, humility, and truthfulness. He saw through the self-assured illusions of the Pharisee at prayer in the public glare and stood with the broken tax-collector, who could do only pray, God be merciful to me, a sinner (Luke 18.9-14).

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