Written by Minister James Rathman
Facing 35 years in a Turkish jail, Pastor Andrew Brunson was suddenly freed and sitting in the White House with his wife and praying for President Trump. Held captive for two years, the pastor was liberated Saturday and informing the Commander in Chief that he and his family pray for him often.
Sitting in the Oval Office, Pastor Andrew asked President Trump if he would like for him to pray right then for him.The president replied, "Well, I need it probably more than anyone else in this room, so that would be very nice, thank you."
Brunson prayed; "In Lord God, I ask that you pour out your Holy Spirit on President Trump. That you give him supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him. I ask that you give him wisdom on how to lead this country into righteousness. I ask that you give him perseverance and endurance and courage to stand for truth. I ask that you protect him from slander from enemies, from those who would undermine. I ask that you make him a great leader for this country. Fill him with your wisdom and strength and perseverance, and we bless him. May he be a great blessing to our country. In Jesus' name, we bless you. Amen."
Brunson's wife, Norine, followed in prayer, adding: "I pray that the spirit of the Lord rest on the president. The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit counsel and might, spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord. Amen."
Trump asked if he could ask Norine one question thereafter her prayer: "Who did you vote for?" Norine confirmed that she had voted for Trump, and Brunson chimed in, "I would like to say that I sent in an absentee ballot from prison." The reporters, congressional leaders, and State Department leaders all broke into resounding laughter.
Brunson had been facing controversial charges of terrorism and espionage. In July, after his two year prison stint, he was remanded to house arrest and banned from leaving the country. President Trump had strongly criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his country's handling of the case, and charged that the Turkish courts were imprisoning an innocent man.
Persecution watchdog groups around the world, along with Brunson, insisted that he was innocent, and argued that he was being punished for his Christian faith. President Erdogan insisted that Brunson had to be tried for his alleged involvement in terrorist schemes. The dispute between the two countries led to some economic penalties for Turkey.
Including Brunson, the Trump administration has so far secured the release of 19 Americans held captive worldwide. Trump told Pastor Brunson, "From a Turkish prison to the White House in 24 hours — that's not bad."
Brunson had pastured a Protestant church in the city of Izmir for 25 years, and was arrested in October of 2016 and charged with providing assistance to groups the Turkish government accused of being involved in a failed coup.