This summer, I called on believers across our country to unite in prayer for President Donald Trump.
I am so grateful that tens of thousands of people pledged to intercede for our president. More than 300 conservative Christian leaders joined in expressing their support and participation.
It wasn’t really a remarkable request. The Bible specifically commands—not suggests—us to pray fervently for our leaders. “I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
Christians for two millennia have obeyed that scriptural decree, and we know that God hears and answers the pleas of His people.
The response in many parts of the secular media, however, wasn’t just negative, it was quite inflammatory. Some accused me of using prayer for our president as a propaganda tool.
How ridiculous is that? Where were these critics when I urged prayer for President Obama in 2014 in the pages of this magazine?
Prayer for our president is a personal plea for the hand of God to bless, protect and strengthen our nation. It’s a request for the guidance and help of Almighty God as our country faces an onslaught of immorality from godless, progressive liberalism within, and clear and present dangers from evil powers abroad.
That’s the kind of request to a Sovereign God that would bless every man, woman and child across America. It’s the kind of petition that Christians have been offering to the Lord since they came here in search of religious freedom several centuries ago.
Amazingly, that wasn’t all that was said.
I was also accused of “weaponizing prayer” for political purposes. Well, I think that’s both decidedly wrong and strangely right.
Wrong because intercession for our president has nothing to do with politics. It doesn’t matter what party the chief executive is affiliated with. Republican or Democrat, I don’t care. He desperately needs God’s wisdom. Our job is to pray fervently for our leaders and support those whose policies best align with Biblical values.
And oddly right, in that prayer is most definitely a weapon—a mighty weapon wielded by believers in the Lord Jesus Christ against our most powerful adversary, the devil.
Hear what the Bible says.
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God [in prayer] and He will draw near to you” (James 4:7-8).
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil … praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:11, 18).
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
I have been reading in the Book of Revelation in recent weeks, and it’s so wonderful to affirm that regardless of what is happening in the world, we know without a doubt that in the end the Lamb wins!
Satan and his demonic hordes are permanently cast into the lake of fire to trouble us no more. Wicked rulers and kingdoms are completely undone upon the Lord’s return, destroyed by the coming King of kings and Lord of lords. The immoral, materialistic, hedonistic world system is replaced with the sovereign reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Interestingly, as I read how the Lamb alone is worthy to open the seals of judgment upon the world, I see that the prayers of God’s people offered through the ages are prominent. “The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8).
Then as the Lord Jesus Christ is about to open the seventh seal, there is silence in Heaven for about half an hour. The silence, I imagine, is because of the great impending devastation that is coming upon the earth.
“Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake” (Revelation 8:3-5).
As the end of the Great Tribulation nears, it is the prayers of God’s suffering people that have risen before the presence of Almighty God that are being answered. The cries of the martyrs underneath the altar slain for their testimony and asking for vengeance upon their enemies have been heard (Revelation 6:9-11).
Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher, said that “prayer is the slender nerve that moves the muscle of omnipotence.”
So beware, all those who belittle the power and majesty of prayer. It will be those exact prayers that will one day play a pivotal role in the Second Coming of the Savior as He establishes a new Heaven and a new Earth. Fire cast down upon the earth that burns one-third of the planet, and a mountain of fire that causes the oceans to become blood, and destroys one-third of all sea creatures and ships, is mixed with the prayers of the saints.
Be careful of those who say they are tired of hearing “our thoughts and prayers are with you.” There is nothing more comforting and strengthening than the prayers of God’s saints for those who suffer.
God hears. God answers.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.
Photo: Thomas J. Petrino