President Trump watches a procession of choir members at a prayer service at Washington National Cathedral. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Opinion writer

When people of faith drop to their knees for nightly prayer, many, I suspect, find themselves struggling with the often preached injunction to pray for those in positions of public trust.

Are we, they may be asking, to pray for President Trump, the architect of un-American and un-Christian anti-immigrant measures grounded in paranoia and fear of the stranger? That description of Trump’s proposals was supplied by the Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral.

Are they to pray for people placed by Trump in positions of civil authority, such as nationalist Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist; Attorney General Jeff Sessions with his tarnished history on race; and truth-challenged and ethics-challenged sycophant Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president?

Pray for elected officials on Capitol Hill who will enable Trump and his Cabinet to do bad things to good people?

Are the faithful expected to commend Trump’s agenda to the Lord in prayer?

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, would seem to see things that way.

Praying for Trump is a Christian obligation, Moore argued in an opinion article in The Post on Inauguration Day. Moore urged the nation to pray that Trump’s presidency is a “great and good one” and that he flourishes in the civil arena. That, Moore said, will be good for everyone.

The view of that high-ranking Southern Baptist Convention leader is less than universal.

On Jan. 31, the Council of Bishops of the 200-year-old African Methodist Episcopal Church issued a battle cry against Trump to its more than 1 million members.

The AME bishops, convinced that Trump has polarized the country by sowing bitter divisions and fear, are not praying for the Almighty to grant Trump’s longings. They assessed his appointments, executive orders and memorandums on immigration, a Southern border wall, the Affordable Care Act and major government initiatives. They concluded that Trump’s policies are “clearly demonic acts.”

Rather than praying for Trump’s success, AME congregations are being mobilized to wrestle against what the council of bishops said — quoting the Apostle Paul — are “the rulers of the darkness . . . [and] spiritual wickedness in high places.” “High places,” they suggest, are within White House grounds. So, too, signs of “spiritual wickedness.”

I, for one, share the view of cathedral dean Hollerith that “our prayers should lead us to act in love for all those who would be marginalized or forgotten.”

Still, when it comes to prayer time, Trump is not off my screen.

The well-being of the White House occupant ought to be a national concern.

Only the president can authorize, initiate and mobilize military strikes on enemies, real or imagined. Only the president can use the nuclear codes.

So to my question that recurs at prayer time: Does Trump have the wisdom, discernment, self-control and mental stability required of a president of the United States?

I’ve touched on this before, but not with the depth of concern I now feel.

During the Republican primaries, many observers looked on with bemusement as Trump brutally savaged his hapless opponents.

But the Trump on display during the primaries turned out to be the same person during the general election, the transition and now his presidency. He still bullies, ridicules, threatens and lies.

He is a disturbing figure.

What do we have on our hands?

When Trump feels insulted, slighted or opposed, he simply goes off. No matter the stimulus.

A political opponent, a federal judge, a newspaper story, a beauty queen, a second-place finish in the popular vote, low Inauguration Day turnout, no matter. Anything less than Trump on top gives rise to a Trump emotional meltdown.

And it’s not just about winning. There’s his obvious craving for adulation, his need to vanquish and subjugate, his need to feed his fantasy of conqueror.

Hence, his jugular responses to the slightest provocations. Hence his dust-ups with the news media, with corporations that won’t do his bidding and his crankiness with foreign leaders who correctly size him up as an arrogant, loudmouthed lightweight saddled with an insufferable grandiosity.

Trump’s single-minded focus on himself, his dreadful narcissism, is deeply troubling, especially because he seems to be beyond anyone’s counsel. That could spell trouble for the country and the world.

Therefore, on behalf of our homeland, and for the sake of the nation, my humble prayer is that the president of the United States gets help.

Read more from Colbert King’s archive.