Here we are told that Pastor Andrew Brunson prayed with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House, before an audience of notables and legions of TV cameras that broadcasted the event to millions of viewers throughout the world. A touching event, no doubt, and one that will gladden the hearts of Trump’s evangelical base.
I watched the spectacle on CNN. What the article does not tell us is that the pastor beseeched the deity to grant wisdom to President Trump – not just natural wisdom, but “supernatural” wisdom.
Well. If I had to characterise Mr Trump’s mindset, I would have to credit it with practical intelligence, shrewdness, cleverness, craftiness, maybe even wiliness. When it comes to wisdom, I am much less sure. Most of us would be satisfied to see him demonstrate natural wisdom. Supernatural wisdom, especially coming from Trump’s very worldly brain, is asking too much. But if Trump’s future words and actions reveal evidence of such wisdom, we may then infer that Pastor Brunson’s prayer has borne fruit.
The pastor should be reminded, though, that Jesus, in advising his disciples how to pray, told them, “When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.” (Matthew 6:6.) He specifically warned them not to be “like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men”. (Matthew 6:5.) Far less did he say, “When you pray, you shall do it with major grandstanding and maximum flash, in the most exalted venue possible, such as the Oval Office of the White House, before an audience of notables and legions of TV cameras which shall broadcast your piety to millions of viewers throughout the world.”
If he had said that, we might applaud.
Ye Olde Theologian