In February 2022, evangelical leader Franklin Graham called on his followers to pray for Vladimir Putin. His tweet acknowledged that it might seem a “strange request” given that Russia was clearly about to invade Ukraine. But Graham asked that believers “pray that God would work in his heart so that war could be avoided at all cost.”
The backlash was fast and direct. Graham had not solicited prayers for Ukraine, some observers commented. And he had rarely called on believers to pray for U.S. President Joe Biden.