In his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, President Donald Trump gave a heartwarming shoutout to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). He said Scalise’s recovery after the Congressional Baseball Game shooting last year proved the truth of Jesus’ words from scripture.
“And to my friend and everybody’s friend, Steve Scalise, we are so glad to have you with us today. Your presence reminds us of Jesus’ words, the book of Matthew, with God all things are possible. You are fantastic,” Trump declared.
Scalise returned to the United States Congress in September, after three months of recovering from being shot on June 14. On the day he returned, the congressman thanked God for answering his prayers.
“When I was laying out on that ball field, the first thing I did once I was down and I couldn’t do anything anymore, I just started to pray,” the congressman said. “I prayed for very specific things, and I will tell you pretty much every one of those prayers was answered — and they were some pretty challenging prayers.”
God “really did deliver for me and my family, and it just gives you that renewed faith in understanding that the power of prayer is just something that you cannot underestimate,” Scalise said, to thunderous applause.
“I’m definitely a living example that miracles really do happen,” the congressman declared.
For this reason, it was quite fitting that Trump mentioned Scalise’s recovery at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Interestingly, Jesus’ words about all things being possible with God came less in the context of answered prayer, however.
Trump was paraphrasing Matthew 19:26, in which Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” What is impossible with men? Salvation. Matthew 19:23-25:
Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus’ answer, that all things are possible with God, is a broad response to a very specific question. Trump quoting this verse in the context of answered prayer is acceptable — the president was connecting a modern miracle to Jesus’ declaration that God can do all things.
In the same speech, Trump referenced Ephesians 2:10, reinterpreting a verse about God’s salvation to praise American greatness. This was not in keeping with that verse and its context. That passage referred to Christians as “God’s handiwork” because they are saved by grace and therefore freed to go the good works God has prepared for them to do, without fearing about eternal salvation. Trump said all Americans, in their acts of service, showed “God’s handiwork,” which is emphatically not what that verse means.
While Trump also divorced Matthew 19:26 from context, it does stand alone as a blanket statement of God’s amazing power. If God can save people from their sins — and this is impossible with man — then He can certainly answer Steve Scalise’s prayers on the baseball practice field.
It is supremely fitting that the president of the United States, one of the most powerful men in the world, would acknowledge the power of God before a nationwide audience. But the tribute was also moving for another reason: it was in keeping with Scalise’s own statement that his prayers were answered.
Watch the president’s shoutout to Scalise below.
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