This Saturday at the Value Voters Summit, President Trump rambled about “crazy Democrats” and their impeachment inquiry, among other things, before a rapt audience for well over an hour. But before he spoke, he was lifted up in prayer by Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was falsely imprisoned for two years in Turkey for his faith, according to the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN). To Trump’s right was Tony Perkins, who heads the anti-gay rights activist group known as the Family Research Council.
Trump reportedly helped free Brunson from captivity, and a special moment was set aside to honor Brunson with the “Cost of Discipleship Award.” Brunson began the ceremony with a prayer, asking God to impart his “Holy Spirit” and anoint Trump with “wisdom and understanding with your counsel” and “knowledge and fear of the Lord.”
“Accordingly, may President Trump not judge by what he sees with his eyes or decide by what he hears with his ears or lean on his own understanding, but may he recognize your prompting and move according to your guidance,” Brunson prayed.
“I ask that you give the president supernatural discernment to know who is trustworthy and who is not,” he continued. “Bring into the light all deception and intrigue, expose and reverse the plans of those who would harm President Trump and this nation. In the name of Jesus, I break off all voices and influences that do not come from you, father God. May your truth and peace surround and reign in the White House.”
Brunson’s prayer comes at a time when a slight crack is starting to show within Trump’s notoriously solid support from evangelicals. Over the past week, a growing chorus of Christian figures have sharply criticized Trump’s decision to draw back a contingent of US troops in northeast Syria. Just days before he stood on stage with Trump this Saturday, Tony Perkins tweeted that a Turkish invasion of the region “would pose a grave threat to the region’s Kurds and Christians, endangering the prospects of true religious freedom in the Middle East.”
Also speaking out was CBN founder and 700 Club host Pat Robertson, who said earlier this week that he was “absolutely appalled” that Trump betrayed “those democratic forces in northern Syria.”
“To say he’s an ally of America is nonsense. He is in for himself,” Robertson said referring to Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan. “And the president who allowed [Jamal Khashoggi] to be cut in pieces is now allowing the Christians and the Kurds to be massacred by the Turks, and I believe — and I want to say this with great solemnity — the President of the United States is in danger of losing the mandate of Heaven if he permits this to happen.”
In the run-up to and throughout Trump’s presidency, his evangelical supporters have touted him as a beacon in the fight against Christian persecution around the world. According to Christianity Today, the Turkish invasion has targeted a region that has large concentrations of Christians.
Watch Trump’s full speech below. Brunson and Perkins’ introduction and prayer with Trump is at the beginning.
[This article has been updated]
Featured image via screen grab