Pastor defends prayer for Trump, says aim was not to endorse policies

Pastor David Platt defended his prayer for President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' MORE on Monday, saying his aim was not to endorse the president's policies.

"I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision," Platt said in a statement about delivering the prayer at the McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Virginia, with Trump present on Sunday.


"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."

"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 added.

Trump made a brief unannounced visit to the church on Sunday. He stood alongside Platt, who noted that there had been calls from Christian leaders to pray for the president.

"We don’t want to do that just on this Sunday," Platt said. "We want to do that continually, day in and day out. So I want to ask us to bow our heads together now and pray for our president."

The pastor went on to offer a prayer for the president and other political leaders. Trump left without making any remarks on-stage.

Evangelist Franklin Graham and 250 other Christian leaders last week announced they were calling for a “Special Day of Prayer” to set aside time to lead their local congregations in praying for the president on Sunday.

Trump had retweeted several messages on Saturday night mentioning the planned day of prayer.