John Piper, one of President Donald Trump's most vocal evangelical critics, has prayed that God would bring America's new leader out of darkness and into light and give him "a spirit of brokenness and humility" - but said that will "not be an easy transition for him."
Following the swearing-in ceremony on January 20th, Piper, founder of Desiring God and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary, offered up a powerful prayer for President Trump.
"I pray that you would break his heart, give him humility, show him what it feels like to be penitent and to admit he's done wrong - to confess he was wrong, ask forgiveness from you, and ask for forgiveness from the people that he's wounded or people that he's set a bad example for," Piper prayed, according to a transcript shared on his website. "He needs to be given the gift of faith and humility and repentance, and I pray that you would give it to him."
Piper, who made headlines in October when he called both Hillary Clinton and Trump "unqualified" and urged them to step down from their respective campaigns, went on to say that Christians would like to "have him as a brother." However, such a transition will not be easy for Trump due to his tremendous wealth, the theologian contended, quoting Matthew 19:23-24.
"But Lord, you are able," Piper said. "So, guard him from folly. Guard him from stupid decisions that would damage people, damage America, damage the church. Guard him. Superintend him and the congress in such a way that, beyond their explanation, things turn in a direction that makes for the kind of good that, even though it may not have faith in it, would have the form of faith in justice and love."
Piper also asked God to protect Trump from the deceptions of the devil and prayed that the church would not rely on government or on a Trump presidency.
"I pray for evangelical leaders not to celebrate Donald Trump's presidency with no apparent qualification, no tears, no brokenness, no sadness that he set such an awful example for this land," he prayed. "Open the eyes, I pray, of evangelical leaders who seem so triumphalist in this moment as to think their way has been brought about and now good things are coming because we can lean on the arm of the flesh the way so many seem to give the indication."
He concluded: "Make us willing, O God, to submit ourselves to the lordship of Jesus, not the lordship to any man who leads. We ask for your help. We humble ourselves under your mighty hand. In Jesus's name. Amen."
In an earlier blog post for DesiringGod.org, Piper argued that Trump is "morally unfit to lead our nation," but said Christians don't actually need qualified government.
"The Christian faith was born, and has flourished, under regimes less qualified to lead than Donald Trump. The murderous Herod (Matthew 2:16) and the Christian-killing Nero (Tacitus, Annals XV.44) did not thwart the spread of a faith whose King and power and charter are not from this world (John 18:36). The movement that Jesus Christ unleashed in the world, when he died and rose again, does not depend on qualified human government for its existence or power," he wrote.
Piper urged Christians to pray for Trump's repentance and saving faith; recognize God's providence over kings on earth; pray for all of our country's leaders; recognize that even non-Christian leaders can do good works, and continue to spread the Good News.