Writing in Just As I Am, Billy Graham shared several stories that point to the important role his mother played in shaping his life.
“In many Crusades over the years,” he wrote, “I have devoted at least one message to the subject of the family. In my Depression-era growing-up years, I suppose we Grahams on our North Carolina dairy farm bore some resemblance to the fictional Walton family on television. It’s easy to feel nostalgic about simpler times, but they obviously were not easier times. Nor were they necessarily happier times.
“What we did have back then was family solidarity. We really cared about each other, and we liked to do things together. Jesus’ word picture of a hen gathering her brood under her wing fits my mother. She saw to it that we gathered frequently and regularly—and not just around the dinner table or in front of the radio for favorite broadcasts. She gathered us around herself and my father to listen to Bible stories, to join in family prayers, and to share a sense of the presence of God.”
On August 14, 1981, Morrow Graham quietly left this earth in her sleep and entered heaven.
“When word came,” Mr. Graham said, “I wept and yet rejoiced at the same time. Of all the people I have ever known, she had the greatest influence on me. I am sure one reason that the Lord has directed and safeguarded me, as well as Ruth and the children, through the years was the prayers of my mother and father.”
Speaking on Mother’s Day in 2003, Mr. Graham told the audience in San Diego that his mother was a farm woman. “She and my father didn’t have much education … but my mother was a woman of God. She always had devotions with us, she always prayed with us, she always loved us, and did so many things, as I look back now, out of the way. And she and my father, when I was in Bible school, they would go up to a room upstairs and kneel down every morning at 10 o’clock to pray for their son in Bible school.