God is never surprised. The election of Donald Trump shocked the pundits and Washington elite and even surprised some of the candidate’s own voters—but it is God who cleared the way for him, whether he fully realizes that or not. That’s because, whichever person had been elected, the rise and fall of a nation’s leaders happens under the sovereignty of God, who is often working in larger ways and with a longer perspective than we can know. The Bible says, “Wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings” (Daniel 2:20–21, NKJV).
No one should think that electing Donald Trump will fix our country. America is still a sin-saturated and divided nation, and Trump himself is a leader with human flaws. Elections matter, and this one will have lasting consequences, but only God can heal and restore a nation—and that comes through committed, faithful prayer.
When the people of Israel asked for a king after centuries without one, God gave them one. But the Prophet Samuel reminded the people that ultimately they did not choose their national leaders: “Take note, the Lord has set a king over you” (1 Samuel 12:13). The new king was inexperienced in governing, and God made no promise that things would automatically turn out well for either the new king or the nation. Instead, Samuel presented the people with God’s pathway to success, placing responsibility on both the people and their leader.
“If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will , it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, … then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king” (1 Samuel 12:14–15, ESV).
After anointing the newly chosen ruler, Samuel made a personal commitment to his nation, the king, and the people. I hope you take his words personally to heart for our own country today:
“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23).
Will you make that same commitment to pray?
During the tumultuous national election of 1860, America was in political chaos. The man who emerged to become the next president had very limited Washington experience, was considered uncouth by a significant part of the electorate, and won the election without a majority of the popular vote. Abraham Lincoln became one of our most effective presidents, and several years into his presidency a well-known pastor in New York pinpointed the reason: “The prayers of God’s people made President Lincoln what he was to the nation.”
Donald Trump is, of course, a far different man than Lincoln, and the conflicts and issues in our country today are entirely different than in 1860. But we know that God can use any leader. We as God’s people can have a huge impact if we take our responsibility seriously and are diligent “always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Will you personally be part of that? Ask God to use this man He has allowed to be put in place, despite human shortcomings, to further His great purposes in the nation and the world. And pray also for the incoming vice president, Mike Pence, a man of faith who said he was “grateful to God for His amazing grace” in his speech right after the election.
The one sure path to national restoration is through . The Bible says, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19–20). Pray for America. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to change hearts, across our nation or anywhere in the world.
In the new year, I look forward to preaching the life-changing message of the Gospel at evangelistic events in cities like San Juan, Puerto Rico; Vancouver, Canada; and Oslo, Norway. I am also looking forward to preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ during multi-city tours in the U.S., starting in two states, Tennessee and Texas. I will tell you more about these tours soon. Our associate evangelists, including Robert Cunville and my son Will Graham, are scheduled to lead Crusade events in two dozen other cities in India, Thailand, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. Pray that God will open hearts to the Savior in each place.
So far this year, more than 1.3 million people across America and around the world have told us they made a as a result of God working through the ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. We thank Him and give Him the glory! As we press forward to the end of this year and into the next, we are grateful to you for your continuing partnership with us through your prayers and gifts.