How President Trump’s Oval Office Prayer Circle Came to Be

Trump attends Sunday service at the International Church of Las Vegas in hopes of gaining religious support on October 30, 2016. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.)

On Tuesday, an indelible image began circulating on Twitter: a prayer circle in the Oval Office, with a tight close-up on the president’s shoulders (and unmistakable helmet of hair), ringed by religious leaders laying hands on his back. Vice President Mike Pence, whose evangelical roots are well-known, is just about the only person recognizable in the image. But how did Donald Trump, who once referred to communion as “my little wine“ and “my little cracker,“ wind up here?

This isn‘t the first time Trump has participated in public prayer as president—after he announced the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on January 31, he tweeted a photo of a prayer with Mike and Karen Pence, his sons, and other leaders, including the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s wife and son.

The latest image wasn’t shared by the president, but by Evangelical pastor Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne, who wrote that he and his wife, Dr. Adonica Howard-Browne, were asked to the White House to pray over the president.

“Yesterday was very surreal for @ahowardbrowne & I. 30 years ago we came from South Africa to America as missionaries. Yesterday I was asked by Pastor Paula White-Cain to pray over our 45th President—what a humbling moment standing in the Oval Office—Laying hands and praying for our President—Supernatural Wisdom, Guidance and Protection—who could ever even imagine—wow—we are going to see another great spiritual awakening.”

The Howard-Brownes, who have a weekly broadcast on Dish channel 269, first began as missionaries in South Africa before taking their work to America in the late 1980s. Rodney heads Revival Ministries International, for which the Howard-Brownes travel around the United States 46 weeks of the year, according to the organization’s Web site.

In March 2016, Rodney wrote a Facebook post titled “Donald Trump Is the New World Order’s Worst Nightmare,” on, where he detailed his choice to back Trump in the election as a check against a global conspiracy to destroy America:

“Trump does not censor his words—like politicians do—he says what he thinks—which appeals to people. I am not saying I agree with everything he has said, or that he knows everything he is signing up for, but I do believe that he will put knowledgeable people around him who share the same values as we patriotic Americans do.“

Now that Trump occupies the White House, the Howard-Brownes are clearly remaining in his corner. The evangelical duo was invited to the White House by Paula White-Cain, a Pentecostal Christian televangelist who serves as a spiritual adviser to the president.

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SOURCE: Vanity Fair
Hilary Weaver