The idea is so simple it might just work.
Make a list of people in your life who need Jesus. Actually, forget making an entire list, just start with one name.
And—here’s the key to the whole concept—commit to pray for this person. And then start praying.
“I’m convinced a lot of people are concerned about family members or friends, but they never get around to praying for them,” said Steve Rhoads. “Complaining is not praying. Worrying is not praying.”
Rhoads is particularly passionate about reaching the nation for Christ this year, beginning with simple prayers, one by one, throughout the United States. That’s the first step in the nationwide outreach he heads called My Hope with Billy Graham, which in its first year culminated on Mr. Graham’s 95th birthday last November and led to more than 110,000 decisions for Christ.
Last year’s My Hope outreach included sharing a short film called The Cross, which featured the life-changing testimonies of young artists Lecrae and Lacey Sturm woven around a message from Mr. Graham. This year, the My Hope program is all about Heaven.
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The 2014 video, Heaven, which can be ordered here free of charge, will be similar to the 30-minute short film The Cross; it will feature inspiring real-life stories intertwined with never-before seen footage of Mr. Graham talking about heaven, filmed last year at his North Carolina mountain home.
Rhoads said this message will resonate with many.
“There’s hope in heaven,” said Rhoads, the vice president of My Hope at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “There’s something inside people that tells them ‘we’re not made for here,’ and this video may strike a chord with people who have never addressed the topic head on.”
Churches are encouraged to use the upcoming DVD and invite nonbelievers to hear this Gospel message, ultimately leading to an invitation to receive Christ into their lives.
“We’ll give you the materials, the tools, and you decide what works best,” Rhoads said. “What works best in rural Missouri isn’t necessarily what works in the south Bronx.”
Whether it’s in a church setting, a coffee shop, community center or a living room, Rhoads stresses there’s really just one request to the church.
“We just want them to do something,” he said. “At the very least, one time this fall, show this program and give people the opportunity to accept Christ.”
My Hope with Billy Graham is a five-year evangelistic commitment to the local church of the U.S. and Canada, where each November (around Billy Graham’s Nov. 7 birthday) churches can count on a fresh, engaging video program, featuring a compelling Gospel presentation.
And while a DVD may be the most convenient media option, the new My Hope programs will also be available through online streaming and YouTube. Last year’s The Cross program recently crossed the 1 million viewed mark on YouTube.
This year, with the leadership of five regional coordinators and 85 area coordinators, My Hope with Billy Graham’s mission is simply to connect with every church in America interested in evangelism.
And to encourage their congregations to begin by praying for one person. Really pray. The crying-out-to-God kind of praying.
“The Bible says if you call on God, He will answer, but it’s the one thing we refuse to do,” Rhoads said. “The only One who can open the heart of an unbeliever is God, so it makes sense to involve Him from the beginning.”
The reasons for a lack of prayer in church today, specifically as it involves reaching the lost, are many. But if Rhoads had to pinpoint one?
“I don’t think people really believe in prayer. That if we ask, He will really answer. That God really hears our cries,” he said. “But in Exodus 3, God said to Moses, I’ve seen their affliction and heard their cries and I have come down to deliver them.”
Find out more information on My Hope with Billy Graham in the United States.
Churches in the UK are also rallying around My Hope with Billy Graham in 2014.
My Hope History: More than 300,000 churches in over 50 countries have been a part of My Hope, with over 10 million recorded decisions for Christ.