As of Wednesday, Oct. 12, that’s the amount of time left before America will elect a new president on Nov. 8. Franklin Graham, standing near the steps of the Virginia State House on Wednesday, implored Christians to make sure their voices are heard.
“I’m not here to tell you who to vote for,” Franklin Graham said during the Decision America Tour stop. “God will tell you that. But we’ve gotta vote.”
Franklin Graham has visited 49 of the 50 United States’ capitols this year during his nationwide campaign for God. On Wednesday, an estimated 8,200 people joined him under brilliant blue Virginia skies to pray for this nation.
Linda Laser, of Richmond, was one of the first to arrive at Wednesday’s prayer rally. She sat in a chair only yards from where Franklin Graham spoke, and she reminisced about how her mother accepted Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That changed the course of her family’s life.
Sitting on the Virginia State House lawn, Laser lamented the shift in today’s world as people get further and further from God.
“We all get sucked into society whether we realize it or not,” Laser said. “That’s the wrong thing. We need to be Jesus’ people. We need to be His army, not in a fighting, volatile way but an army as in keeping our resolve and keeping strong and speaking out and being heard.”
Several times during the prayer rally, Franklin Graham reminded Christians that America needs their voice. He used a quote from his father Billy Graham to stress the responsibility every believer has at election time.
“He said, ‘I think it’s the duty of every individual Christian at election [time] to study the issues, the candidates and then go to the polls and vote,’” Franklin shared, later adding:
“My father said, ‘I feel that we’re going to have to meet our political obligations as Christians and make our voice known if America is to be preserved with the type of Christian heritage which has given us the liberties that we enjoy today. For unless America turns back to God, repents of its sin and experiences a spiritual revival we will fail as a nation. I believe God honors leaders in high places who honor Him.’”
That goes for the president, everyday citizens serving on a local level and all other offices in-between. Every post is important, and it’s an opportunity for Christians to boldly live out their faith while shaping the foundations of this country.
Marcus Stanley, a minister of music well-known for his Facebook post to the Charleston, South Carolina, shooter, made a point to be there Wednesday to stand and pray for America. He prays daily with and for his school age children, but he is increasingly aware of how hard their worlds are becoming. The Biblical foundations there are eroding. Stanley said having someone with that Christian compass in political office could make all the difference.
“When you’re dealing with evils of the world, you have to have that sense of Biblical foundation,” Stanley said. “If you’re left to your own devices and you’re actually responding as a person that has no affiliation to the Bible, no standards, no morals, there is no limit to what you can do.
“It makes a difference to have a foundation with Christ.”
Of course it would be ideal to have that foundation at the presidential level, but Franklin Graham urged Virginians not to overlook the lower profile races. School boards can impact the type of literature students consume, for instance. Mayors can steer towns, local governments.
And don’t limit your impact to this year, Franklin Graham said. It’s too late to get on the upcoming ballot, but he reminded those in attendance that the Christian influence should stretch beyond the 2016 election season. And the game plan, after the 49th prayer rally is the same as it was after the first one held in January. People need to pray, vote and engage.
“Go back to your community,” Franklin Graham urged the Virginia crowd. “Be an advocate for God’s truth, for His righteousness. Let’s elect men and women to office who will lead this nation back to really being one nation under God that can truthfully say, once again, in God we trust.”