There’s something about walking through the entryway of the Billy Graham Library with its iconic cross-shaped window towering overhead.
And Thursday, as people gathered at the Library in observance of the National Day of Prayer, entering at the foot of the cross seemed especially fitting.
This year, Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz serves as honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer—a title both Billy and Franklin Graham have held.
The Library event started with a recorded reading of this year’s national prayer. In it, Lotz urges a spirit of repentance and revival and that, “we choose to stop pointing our finger at the sins of others, and examine our own hearts and lives.”
“For the glory of Your Name hear our prayer, forgive our sin, and heal our land,” Lotz says in the prayer.
David Yerry, director of development for the Billy Graham Library, then read the Lord’s Prayer. Serving at BGEA for 19 years, he said one thing has remained constant in the ministry.
“Prayer was foundational to the core Billy Graham team,” Yerry said. “It’s really woven into the fibers of everything we do.”
Though the National Day of Prayer unites people across the U.S. to pray like attendees did at the Library, he noted that both individual and corporate prayer is important every day.
Billy Graham’s longtime friend and ministry partner Cliff Barrows once told Yerry how people would gather and kneel on sawdust covered floors before the 1949 Los Angeles Crusade.
“The floor would be wet with their tears,” Yerry said. “[Prayer] really is something we do.”
A Place for Prayer
Day in and day out, Library volunteers get to see the power of prayer.
“Occasionally you see someone that comes in here and fights with God, and as soon as they go through those doors and hear [Billy Graham preaching], ‘Yes there’s coming a great day of judgment!’ they open the door and come running out under conviction,” Library volunteer Cecil Pruette said.
“The best part is so many go through there, come into the prayer room and accept the Lord as their Savior. That’s what it’s all about,” he added.
Pruette, who’s been a volunteer since the Library opened in 2007, prays with a group of friends every Monday morning for revival across the nation.
“Prayer is vital in everybody’s life, especially a Christian’s life,” he explained. “Because you are praying not so much for yourself, but for others who may be outside their salvation.”
Pruette prayed as a young boy for God to make him “healthy, wealthy and wise.” Outside of eye problems, he says he’s in good health for a 76-year-old. And a day away from a return visit to Honduras, Pruette has been on more mission trips than years he’s lived—77.
“God has blessed me,” he said.
The focus of the 63rd annual National Day of Prayer observance is centered on Romans 15:6, “So that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Today is a great recognition, but we need to pray every day,” Pruette said. “If you have a friend, you talk to you your friend. God is our friend, and you have to talk to Him.”