Virginia pastor explains sudden decision to pray for Trump, after some 'hurt' by it

President Donald Trump looks out at the crowd after being prayed for at McLean Bible Church, in Vienna, Va., Sunday June 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON – A Virginia pastor explained to his congregation why he decided to pray for President Donald Trump during an unexpected visit to his church on Sunday.

Pastor David Platt of McLean Bible Church in a statement posted on the church's website wrote Sunday that his prayer was not an endorsement of the Trump administration and its policies. 

"Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that we didn’t see coming, and we’re faced with a decision in a moment when we don’t have the liberty of deliberation, so we do our best to glorify God," he wrote. "Today, I found myself in one of those situations."

"My aim was in no way to endorse the president, his policies, or his party, but to obey God’s command to pray for our president and other leaders to govern in the way this passage portrays," Platt continued.

Platt wrote that as he was ending his sermon at the 1 p.m. service, he was called backstage and informed that the president was going to stop into the church. Trump wanted the church to pray for him, Platt said.

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White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere in a statement Sunday said that Trump was visiting with the pastor to "pray for the victims and community of Virginia Beach."

Trump, who wore khakis, a blue polo and a blazer, had spent the morning at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia.

The president on Saturday repeatedly retweeted reports and statements about Christian evangelist Franklin Graham's call for all pastors to pray for Trump on June 2.

"I don't believe any president in history of this nation has been attacked more than Donald Trump," Graham said in a video posted May 26. "He's our president and if he succeeds, then we all benefit. But if his enemies are allowed to destroy him, and pull down the presidency, it will hurt our entire nation."

In his statement, Platt pointed to 1 Timothy 2:1-6 as a reason to pray for the president, which states that "prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings" should be made for all people, including for "kings and all who are in high positions."

"Based on this text, I know that it is good, and pleasing in the sight of God, to pray for the president," Platt wrote. "So in that moment, I decided to take this unique opportunity for us as a church to pray over him together."

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Platt ahead of his prayer for the president, told his congregation on Sunday that the church counts "it an honor to pray for any leader in any position, any leader from any party, including our current president."

"We just talked about how what unites in this room, is not our ethnicity, not our background, and not our politics," he told his congregation. "What unites us in this room is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the word of God."

In his statement, Platt noted that Trump walked off the stage without making a comment after the prayer. The pastor said the service ended by "celebrating heroes among us, a couple who has spent the last 48 years spreading the gospel in remote places where it had never gone before they came."

"I wanted to share all of this with you in part because I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision," he 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," he wrote.

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