To pay tribute to Billy Graham’s life I am reposting these articles I wrote back in 2013, having to do with his prayer life. Enjoy.
This is my review of Billy Graham’s autobiography in terms of his prayers. In this fourth part we will review some points of prayer while Billy was in Europe and India, while at the same time getting sharp criticism from some in America.
1955 – 1957
- On his way to Glasgow by train, Billy Graham recounted that photographers and reporters were a nuisance. Before he went to bed he got on his knees and prayed about the press conference the next day, and also about the upcoming meetings in Glasgow. (p. 248)
- When Billy Graham preached at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall in 1955, he felt a strong closeness with the audience, which he felt was the Holy Spirit. At the same time he didn’t have his hopes up too high that people would respond well to an invitation. Scottish church leaders actually had advised him not to give an invitation, since they said the Scots were far too reserved to publicly come forward. Well, as it happened, when the invitation was given, as Billy put it, “not a soul moved.” Billy bowed his head in prayer, and, as he said, “When I looked up, people were streaming down the aisles, some with tears in their eyes.” The Holy Spirit had broken through to them—with the help of Billy’s prayers. (p. 249)
- While in Great Britain in 1955 Billy Graham spoke at a number of colleges and universities. When he spoke at Cambridge he felt especially inadequate, sensing that he lacked the intellect needed to present the gospel to the students there. But, with encouragement from Professor C. S. Lewis, and with much praying on his knees the meeting went well. Hundreds of students committed their lives to Christ. (pp. 258-259)
- As Billy Graham was traveling to India to preach he began praying that God would show him how to approach a people who knew nothing about God or the Bible. As they flew over Israel it came to him. When he spoke to them he said, “I am not here to tell you about an American or a Britain or a European…I am here to tell you about a Man who was born right here in your part of the world, in Asia.” (p. 265)
- One of the things that has deeply saddened Billy Graham is the hurtful criticisms of leading fundamentalists. Billy recalled that he and Ruth prayed over it frequently. This critical spirit of the fundamentalists (they would say, of Billy’s compromises with the world) to me is particularly sad because it shows not their holiness but their lack of love and their hypocritical self-righteousness. I think God is grieved. (p. 303)