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A pastor’s urgent plea — how Trump can lose in 2020

After the success of my op-ed “How Can You Follow Jesus and Support Donald Trump?” I decided to release this as part two (so to speak). 

(Photo: Shane Idleman)
(Photo: Shane Idleman)

The title above may be shocking and disheartening to many of us, but it's a reality check on what could happen. The 2020 election will be one of the most important elections in the history of America (as was Abraham Lincoln’s — who was a Republican fighting slavery). 

Most are not aware that President Trump barely won in many swing states, with margins as low as 1.2% in Florida and a very narrow 0.23% in Michigan. I hope you realize how narrow this is. The 2016 election caught Democrats off guard, but they won’t let that happen again. My concern is that the 2020 election will catch Republicans off guard this time. Complacency may lead to apathy when the economy is good and the president's approval rating is high. We can’t become comfortable thinking that Trump will easily take it again. God wants us to trust in Him, not in opinion polls and the economy.

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Be clear on this: amid voter fraud, ballot harvesting, and media giants railing against Trump, only a sovereign act of God can bring about a re-election. Also be sure that every trick in the book will be unleashed, from sandbagging to illegal voting. As we just saw in Iowa, the person counting the votes is more important than the voters. They will do whatever it takes to acquire victory — you can count on that. (For those interested in more information on this topic, I recommend Stephen Strang’s new book, "God, Trump, and the 2020 Election.")

Many are angry — very angry. A video released in January showed a man identified as a campaign organizer for Bernard Sanders saying “cities burn” if President Trump wins. He also predicted violence against police at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Where is the outcry? How is this OK? This is what is brewing beneath the surface. 

We as believers must be different but no less committed. Instead of burning cities, we should be on fire ourselves — on our knees in prayer, on our feet at the ballot box, and passionately supporting those candidates who will fight for the unborn and for the freedom to pray in schools and who are willing to stand for what is right. 

As I said in a 2019 op-ed, “America’s Microwave Christianity Must Change,” many churches have a form of “microwave” Christianity. Service times last just over an hour, prayer is glanced over, worship is designed to entertain the masses, and the Word is confined to a 12-minute sound bite neatly sandwiched between a funny anecdote and a softly spoken appeal to emotion with “every eye closed.” How many pastors are guilty of trying to avoid offending their audience and seeking to be motivational rather than convicting? If we truly want to see revival, the face of the present-day church needs to change, starting with the pulpits. Granted, there are wonderful churches, but as a whole, we have drifted significantly off course. For example, do you ever wonder how a Christian (let alone a pastor) can embrace gay marriage and encourage it? Listen to this Fox News interview I did to find out.

“People are bored,” they say, “so our services need to be more appealing.” They are not wrong in sensing the problem — but they have the wrong solution. Church is boring because the power of God has vanished from many congregations; there is a lack of desire in the pulpit as well as in the pew. Like Samson, they don’t realize that the Spirit of the Lord has departed (Judges 16:20). But there is hope. We can once again position ourselves to seek God: “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

To seek in this context means to “find what is missing.” The Hebrew word for seek has a very strong meaning. Imagine losing your child in a crowded mall. Your entire heart would be engaged. How would you spend your time? Where would your energy be concentrated? Have you ever sought the Lord in this way? Are you seeking Him this way now? 

Pastors and Christian leaders, we must again passionately seek God as if our nation and the future of our children depend on it — because they do. Where is the weeping? Where are the early morning prayer meetings? Where is the fasting? In 2016, I remember many nights of prayer and early morning worship services with zero gloating. I remember seeing desperate Christians cry out to God because of the hellish direction of our Republic. We seasoned our lips with humility as we earnestly fasted and prayed for God to intervene. We must recapture that again — and soon. Pride in our hearts can be deception (see Obadiah 1:3).  

Don’t get me wrong. Many are doing exceptional things, such as calling a million young adults to fasting, motivating pastors, and mobilizing communities by building a grassroots approach. Praise God for that, but we need revival. We need an awakening. No, politics won’t save America, but to implement change and help others, we must take action. Would you have remained silent in the 1800s over slavery? Of course not. We are blessed to be governed by the will of the people, hence, the political process. If we truly wish for our nation to seek God, we need the Lord to bring revival, to stir the hearts of the people again.

As I said before, men must lead the charge — stop the silly video games, get off Facebook, and kill your porn habit. You’re called to lead, love, and die, if necessary, for your family. We are the reason that the nation is deteriorating. We are the reason the family is breaking down. We must stop blaming everyone from God to the government and start taking responsibility. We must humble ourselves, initiate prayer meetings, and begin seeking the heart of God.

Leonard Ravenhill rightly noted that the Cinderella of the church of today is the prayer meeting. The prayer meeting, if she exists at all, is relegated to a dark corner somewhere in the church on an off night so that there is little expectation that anyone will pay her any attention. She goes about unnoticed, unloved, and uncelebrated, yet she is the one who keeps the house clean. It’s time for Cinderella to go to the ball — to get dressed for our King and seek His face for grace and mercy, to intercede on behalf of our nation. We must respond with humility and repent of our sins. We must be grateful and thankful because we are blessed beyond measure.

Pastors, it's time to stop worrying about who will be offended by your sermons (watch the sermon, “When The Weak Are Destroyed By The Powerful” here). It’s time to stop tip-toeing through the lilies of political correctness. It’s time to seek powerful sermons rather than popular ones. Some people will leave your church — it is true. Truth divides, and those seeking to have their itching ears tickled will move on to less convicting pastures. But the strength of the church is in her purity, not in her numbers. 

Start a prayer meeting and make it the heartbeat of the church. Even if only a handful of people show up, God is looking for faithfulness, not numbers. He doesn’t need the majority; He is the Majority. Prayer can no longer be a footnote at the end of a sermon — prayer must be the priority across the landscape. 

Remember, it only took 12 men empowered by God’s Spirit to change the world. We must return to prayer, real prayer that shakes heaven. Our gun safes are full, but our prayer closets are empty. The 2020 election is yours to lose. God help us. 

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, just North of Los Angeles. Shane's sermons, articles, books, and radio program can all be found at or Follow him on Facebook at:

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