President Donald Trump made an unscheduled, last-minute appearance at a northern Virginia church on Sunday. The president appeared in order to visit with the pastor, and to take part in prayer for the victims of Friday’s deadly mass shooting in Virginia Beach.
The president’s motorcade made the unannounced stop on the way back from a round of golf at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia.
Pastor of McLean Bible Church, David Platt, spent several minutes on stage praying for Trump during the visit, invoking scripture that encourages believers to pray for “wisdom” for leaders. Platt then reportedly explained to the congregation that “it is good, and pleasing in the sight of God, to pray for the president.”
The event made headlines shortly thereafter, and according to Platt, he discovered in the following days that not everyone in his congregation was happy that he had prayed for the president on stage. Platt indicated that some members of his congregation took his prayer for the president as an endorsement of Trump.
“I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision,” Platt said.
“This weighs heavy on my heart. I love every member of this church, and I only want to lead us with God’s Word in a way that transcends political party and position, heals the hurts of racial division and injustice, and honors every man and woman made in the image of God.”
Platt went on to explain that his decision to pray for the president was not meant to be an endorsement — or a show of support — for Trump’s policy stances. The pastor said that he only prayed in order to obey “God’s command.”
The religious leader then indicated that the decision to pray for the president was made in haste. According to The Washington Times, the pastor of the Virginia megachurch only had a “matter of minutes” to make the call, after White House officials asked if he would pray for the president.
The pastor said that after he was done praying, the president walked off stage “without comment,” and that the service wrapped up by celebrating church heroes — such as a couple who’ve spent the past 48 years as Christian missionaries.
Unlike other pastors who have prayed for Trump, Platt had reason to want to keep it nonpartisan. https://t.co/AEMPAPEZ1F
— Slate (@Slate) June 6, 2019
According to Fox News, several media outlets falsely reported that the pastor “apologized” for the prayer in the following days.
On the same day, as reported by The Inquisitr, evangelist Franklin Graham conducted a “Special Day of Prayer” for Trump. Graham was joined by hundreds of Christian faith leaders from across the country in praying to help protect the president from his political enemies.