The Rev. Franklin Graham has called for “a special day of prayer” next Sunday for President Trump, calling him the most persecuted president in the nation’s history and warning that America is on the brink of disaster.
The evangelist said Mr. Trump’s enemies are so hell-bent on destroying him that only God can save him.
“President Trump’s enemies continue to try everything to destroy him, his family and the presidency,” Mr. Graham wrote on Facebook. “In the history of our country, no president has been attacked as he has. I believe the only hope for him, and this nation, is God.”
In a video posted to Twitter announcing the event, Mr. Graham urged Christians to pray for Mr. Trump’s success.
“He’s our president and if he succeeds, we all benefit. But if his enemies are allowed to destroy him, and pull down the presidency, it will hurt our entire nation,” he said.
As of 6 p.m. Monday, Mr. Graham’s Facebook post had garnered more than 170,000 “like” or “love” reactions and shared almost 120,000 times.
“On June 2, we ask that pastors would lead their congregations in praying for the President, that Sunday schools and other groups would join together and pray, and that individuals and families across the country would have a special focus on praying for the President that day,” he wrote.
Mr. Graham, the son of famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, used apocalyptic language in his post, implying that the U.S. was standing at an abyss.
“This is a critical time for America. We’re on the edge of a precipice. Time is short. We need to pray for God to intervene. We need to ask God to protect, strengthen, encourage, and guide the President,” he wrote.
The call for June 2 to be a day of prayer for Mr. Trump was joined by more than 250 religious leaders, listed on a Webpage at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Among the signatories are Gary Bauer, president of American Values; James Dobson of the James Dobson Family Institute; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Jerry Falwell Jr. of Liberty University.
Not all the reaction was positive, however.
Andy Rowell, assistant professor of ministry leadership at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, noted that the prayer at the Billy Graham site “is no nonpartisan Christian prayer.
“The prayer is that God would protect, strengthen, and embolden Trump. The prayer lacks moral content so that it is essentially wishing him to prosper regardless if he is wicked or not. It is careful not to imply Trump has any weaknesses or flaws or that his purposes or means might be askew. There is only the slightest suggestion that God should ‘direct’ Trump. There is no prayer that Trump should then obey that,” he wrote.
He dismissed the call as “an event that promotes and flatters Donald Trump.”
One Facebook commenter joined the call, albeit in an extremely back-handed way.
“Praying that Trump and those who follow him will repent and try following Jesus instead. Praying that our nation will heal from Trumps attacks and that justice, law, decency and a respect or truth will return,” wrote David Everts.