In 1988, Billy Graham gave the benediction at both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention. While personalizing his message to each audience, he didn’t shy away from crying out to God.
Read his full prayers below:
Billy Graham’s Prayer at 1988 Republican National Convention (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Our Father and our God, at the end of this exciting and historic evening we pause to acknowledge our dependence on you and to ask for Your wisdom and direction in all the decisions of this convention.
We affirm the ancient words of Solomon that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10).
We thank You for the moral and spiritual heritage we have: as a nation. We thank You for all the ideals that have made America great. We thank You for the great freedoms we enjoy: the freedom to speak, to write, to worship, and to participate in the election of our leaders.
We thank You for the leadership that President Reagan has given us for the past seven and a half years. Especially do we thank You for his emphasis on spiritual matters. We thank You for the example that President and Mrs. Reagan have given in their personal lives. We also thank You for the leadership that Mrs. Reagan has given in the fight against drugs. We pray that when they leave the White House next January they will enjoy good health and Your blessings for many years, and may they continue to exert moral and spiritual influence.
While many problems have been solved during the past few years, yet there is still great need—drug related crime is a major problem, even in this city. We see pockets of poverty, injustice, and greed. We pray for all those who are suffering need and pain and despair tonight, whether they are in a tenement apartment in New York, or living in affluence in San Francisco, or in a hospital room. We know that without Your strength and Your help we cannot be the kind of people that we need to be in our troubled world. We remember in similar circumstances that David, the great king of Israel, wrote that we are not to be afraid of the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday (Psalm 91:5-6). But we cannot claim this promise until we have repented of having turned from You so often to go our selfish ways. We have so often left You to serve the false gods of money, pleasure and power. We recall President Eisenhower’s words from his first inaugural address, “Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world, must first come to pass in the heart of America.
Oh, God, we are America, and we know how much our hearts need to be right with You. We pray for a moral and spiritual renewal that could begin in each of us tonight and spread throughout the land.
We pray for Vice President Bush and his family as he is about to be nominated this week for president. We thank You for this closely knit family who all recognize You as their Heavenly Father.
We pray for the people of the United States during the campaign and election that Your will be done in the choice of leaders. May the people seek Your guidance in whom they should vote for. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have decided that all my words and acts may be according to His will.”
Help us to recognize that we not only elect the President of the United States, but the President of the free world. Help us to keep in mind that several billion people will be affected by this choice. Help us to recognize the tremendous responsibility we have to cast our vote, and that even one vote counts.
In the days to come, in a deep and wonderful way, Oh Lord, we pray that You would truly bless America.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).
All this we pray in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Billy Graham’s Prayer at 1988 Democratic National Convention (Atlanta, Georgia)
Our Father and our God, we pause in the middle of this great political convention to acknowledge our dependence upon You and to seek your wisdom and direction in all that is done during these days.
We thank You for what You have given us as a nation and as a people.
We thank You for all the ideals that made America great.
We thank You for our spiritual roots. We recall with gratitude the words from the Bible which are inscribed on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and all the inhabitants thereof.”
We also thank You for our political system and for this convention which illustrates the process of democracy at work.
Our Father, you’ve given us so much but with it you have given us great responsibilities as you have stated in the Scriptures: For to whomever much is given of him much shall be required.
We remember the words of President Kennedy in his speech on that fateful day in Dallas that he was going to give. He was going to quote Jesus Christ who said, “For what shall it profit a man or a nation if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
We’ve been guilty of bowing down to the false gods of materialism and sensual pleasure. We’re in danger of losing our souls.
We pray for a moral and spiritual awakening that will sweep from coast to coast. May we seek above all else the Kingdom of God and this awakening could begin in this convention as we turn in repentance and faith to You.
We realize that political solutions alone can never solve the complex problems that our world faces. We look upon a world in desperate need economically, morally and spiritually. We see wars in many parts of the world and famine and crime and corruption and greed. We’re battling against the invasion of new terrifying diseases such as AIDS and Lyme and above all, drugs.
O God, forgive us and deliver us.
We pray for those who live on the knife-edge of survival because of starvation, poverty, illiteracy and disease. We pray for all those who are the victims of injustice, terrorism, violence, persecution and ignorance.
We pray especially for those who will be nominated for president and vice president of the United States. We pray for the American people and their leaders during the coming weeks of the campaign and the election. We pray that though this process the people of your choice will be elected.
Teach us that there can be no true liberty without integrity; no equality without equity; no true judgment without social justice; no courage without compassion; no peace without repentance and no future without faith.
And as Kate Smith so beautifully sang for so many years, we pray now God bless America, God bless America, God bless America.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.