Highest Public Distrust in Government in 70 Years

How do we pray and trust and obey in a nation so deeply divided?

PRAY FIRST for all Americans as we wrestle with trusting our leaders and our neighbors.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” – Matthew 5:43-45

A Legacy of Mistrust  

Political polarization has intensified over recent decades. While mudslinging and fearmongering have been consistent political tactics, the ability to amplify select topics is fueled by media echo chambers, ideological purity tests, and social media bubbles. This further pushes our nation towards tribalistic notions. Further, when politicians prioritize party over country, trust in government institutions suffers.  

Economic inequality exacerbates distrust when citizens perceive the system benefits those in power. They lose faith that the government cares and will serve and address the nation’s needs. The struggle for affordable healthcare, education, and housing amplifies this disillusionment, especially when lobbyists can peddle their wealth to influence law-making decisions and insulate themselves.  

According to a Pew Research Center study, the public trust in the federal government is nearing record lows. Fewer than 1 in 5 Americans say they trust leaders in Washington to do what is right for our country. This is among the lowest trust measures in nearly seven decades of polling.  

Erosion of Trust 

As unsettling as a lack of trust in the government, what comes as a shock is that these same polls reveal that Americans are increasingly suspicious of one another. There is distrust in the motivations of neighbors, friends, and family, and when going to vote, nearly 66% of Americans say they do not believe their fellow Americans will vote responsibly. 

Researchers have highlighted many factors contributing to this decline, including political polarization, media influence, historical marginalizations, socioeconomic inequalities, political fatigue, and religious groups abandoning their core beliefs in favor of political positions. 

Modern technology connects us globally, yet it increasingly isolates us locally. Social media companies want users stuck on their apps as much as possible, so their algorithms keep users in emotionally safe spaces that reinforce their belief structure and create echo chambers of like-minded opinions. Meanwhile, face-to-face interactions diminish, replaced by virtual encounters that lack nuance and empathy. Trust erodes when we view fellow citizens suspiciously and as enemies rather than neighbors.   

Even when people engage in public discourse, the norm is that both sides devolve into shouting matches. Neither side is trying to understand or explain, but dig in their respective heels and see who can be the loudest. When dialogue turns adversarial, trust evaporates. We forget that our shared humanity and identity in Christ transcends our feelings and party lines. 

Spiritual Warfare 

It is undeniable there is a spiritual dimension at play in all of this. Satan’s goal is to divert our attention from our Heavenly Father, and the best way to do that is to divide and distract. He exploits our fears, biases, and pride. He whispers lies that pit us against one another and seeks to blind us to our common purpose of worshiping and glorifying God. He has no interest in our success, only our downfall. He will divide us at all costs and fracture us into as many factions as possible. 

Sadly, this is happening within churches, too. Theological disagreements escalate into schisms. Denominations fracture over interpretations of Scripture, worship styles, and social issues. Satan delights when we fail to love one another across doctrinal lines or political aisles. We only feed the flames when we fail to pray for those we disagree with and see them as people loved by God. 

This echoes in broader society as a cultural battle rages. Red vs. blue, urban vs. rural, secular vs. religious–when everything is viewed through a lens of conflict, we can not be at peace. Satan fuels animosities and rejoices when we reject God’s words that we are all made in God’s image. 

The Christian Response 

Above all else, seek God. As believers, we are one Body, diverse yet interconnected through the blood of Christ. Embrace humility, recognizing that no denomination or individual has a monopoly on truth. Pray for strength and wisdom to seek common ground with others and focus on pillars of biblical truth rather than peripheral differences. 

Love unconditionally, for this is the Greatest Commandment. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors, even those we disagree with. Extend grace, listen empathetically, and prioritize relationships over ideology. Our solidarity in Christ should be a witness to the world. 

Pray for each other and our government leaders. In a spiritual war, prayer is our greatest weapon and defense. It is a powerful tool against division. Pray for fellow citizens, regardless of their beliefs. Pray for leaders to govern justly and seek wisdom. Pray for unity within the Church so that we may reflect Christ’s love. Pray for the salvation of others. 

Only God can heal our fractured nation. As we pray, we invite His redemptive work to start in our hearts and that He might intercede for reconciliation, understanding, and a renewed trust in both government and our fellow citizens.  

In this fractured world, as a Christian, lead the charge in being active, seeking healing and reconciliation, and bridging divides with love and prayer. As our nation launches into this vital election year, prayerfully encourage those around you, seek discernment into identifying the things that are meant to distract and confuse, and, in all things, enter into each day and conversation with prayer and thanksgiving. 


— Pray God to direct America’s elected officials to lead in way that foster trust and unity instead of division and fighting. But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.” Luke 11:17.
— Pray for the people across America to seek out their fellow citizens with humility, love, and understanding. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one (John 17:20-22)


  • Pray those in our government to seek ways to collaborate and solve the many complex issues facing the nation.
  • Pray for God’s hand to be on the nation this election season as we prepare to select those who will lead our nation.
  • Pray for pastors and local leaders to find ways to connect people within their sphere’s of influence, to seek God in all things and seek to do what is right.

Sources: Pew Research, New York Times, National Institutes of HealthSupreme Court, ERLC.com, ACLU.org,


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