Billy Graham is one of the men I respect most on this earth.
He is an American Christian evangelist. Back in the mid-forties he began preaching the gospel message to thousands in stadiums around the United States and thereafter around the world. In response to his simple, Bible-based gospel presentations, over the years millions of people have committed their lives to Christ, and have secured assurance of eternal life in Heaven with God.
It was one of his sermons that compelled my father to make his own simple commitment to Jesus Christ shortly before I was born. My father's decision that day gradually shaped how he lived throughout the rest of his life. At 83, he continues to live by Christian principles.
Born November 7, 1918, Graham has seen and experienced quite the kaleidoscope of world history and has seen great changes in transportation, war and peace efforts, technology, and morality.
This man of faith just turned 99 years old a few days ago. As he enters his 100th year, one of his most famous quotes continues to be, "My home is in Heaven. I'm just traveling through this world."
Health issues and simple concerns of old age are keeping him home these days. He no longer preaches to large stadiums. Minute by minute he simply enjoys spending time with Jesus, praying, reading the Bible, and enjoying visitors.
I cannot help but be challenged and inspired by this man. When he soon stands before the King of Kings, I know he will be welcomed with "Well done, my good and faithful servant."
At 95 years old, Billy Graham offered a prayer over our country. For whatever reason, it seems the media has kept its distance and has resisted trashing this man, even when prayers like this one hit the "world" squarely on the head.
This prayer was timely then, and is still timely today. Oh, that those of us whole-heartedly following the Lord would humble ourselves and pray in agreement:
"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done.
We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from sin and set us free. Amen!"
May this prayer take flight on Holy Spirit wings, sweeping over our nation anew, bringing fresh repentance and restoration to the Lord.
His heart is always for redemption, for us to turn fully back to Him.
Come with me, will you?