Our country is hurting. We’re in trouble racially, economically, politically, and spiritually—and day after day the news across our nation reminds us of that.
Dallas, Texas, recently endured the deadliest day for law enforcement officers in America since 9/11—a sniper ambushed and shot 12 police officers. Five of them died. Days later, three police officers were shot to death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The killings came soon after two widely publicized shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota. Protests—sometimes violent—erupted across the country.
These are just examples of how broken our nation and society have become. Government cannot fix this. Elections will not solve this. Our only hope is God, who changes hearts and nations. Pray for America.
A group of crisis-trained chaplains from our Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT), selected for this deployment because of their law enforcement backgrounds, headed to Dallas the morning after the attack to offer support, comfort, and emotional and spiritual care to people affected by the tragedy. Other chaplains went to Baton Rouge.
Only weeks before, a chaplain team deployed to Orlando when the city suffered the most devastating terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11. A Muslim gunman began shooting inside a gay nightclub during the early hours of a Sunday morning, massacring 49 people and injuring 53 more. He himself called 911 during the killings to proclaim his allegiance to ISIS.
Experienced Billy Graham chaplains arrived there within hours and immediately started one-on-one ministry to family members, first responders, and others in the stunned community—listening, comforting, and sharing the love of Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3, NKJV), and over a period of two weeks, 40 of our chaplains participated in caring for hurting hearts in Orlando, encouraging and praying individually with more than 1,600 people affected by this huge tragedy.
A young man who personally knew some of the victims came with his family to a memorial site. His distress over the shooting had caused him to think more carefully about God, and he engaged two of our chaplains with questions about sin and forgiveness and about faith. The chaplains used Scripture to help answer the questions, explaining what God’s Son did for him on the cross and how he could be confident of forgiveness and eternal salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. The young man then asked eagerly if he, his family, and the chaplains could gather next to the memorial and pray together. In his own words, he repented of sin, thanked God for loving him personally, and committed to live his life in faith with Jesus as his Savior.
During the deployment, the governor of Florida and the FBI agent in charge of the investigation each stopped to thank our Billy Graham chaplains for being there. Another FBI agent, a believer, came by our mobile ministry center and asked if he could pray for the chaplain team that was praying for him.
One day members of the team noticed a man at a memorial site who was taking deep breaths as if to calm himself. They quietly prayed for him before walking over to ask, “How are you holding up?” He began to weep, saying how thankful he was that someone cared enough to ask. He was a professional photographer on assignment from a prominent media outlet, and the images of tragedy he was capturing had started to overwhelm him. Chaplains spent time with him, listening and encouraging. One of them asked if he would like to know how to find peace in his heart. He replied that he was a secular humanist and not interested in matters of faith.
Nevertheless, for the next 20 minutes he poured out questions about the Bible, church, God, and especially why the chaplains would so willingly invest themselves in other people’s troubles. The chaplains had the opportunity to share the Gospel clearly. The young man readily accepted prayer for himself and his family but was not ready to make a decision. Pray for him and the many others in Orlando who received comfort and heard the Good News, and ask God to nurture the seeds that were planted. Pray also for those who gave their hurting hearts to Jesus Christ, turning to Him in faith and repentance.
Just as God in His compassion can bind up broken hearts, He can also heal a broken nation. In our country this year, tens of thousands of concerned people have come to their state capitols to participate with us in prayer rallies as part of the Decision America Tour, with 15 states still to go. They come because they recognize how seriously America is in trouble. As a society we have become saturated in secular godlessness, and the political process will not solve that. Unless God intervenes to restore us, there is no hope.
The Prophet Hosea said, “Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up” (Hosea 6:1, NKJV). What Hosea said to his own people is also a word to us today. Restoration begins with repentance, whether for an individual or for a nation. We cannot ask for healing without that. So at each prayer rally, we join together in repenting of sin—the sins of our nation, the sins in our own families and our family heritage, and our personal sins. Then we pray for the nation and for its restoration.
August will be the busiest month of the tour, with prayer rallies in eight states on both sides of the country. If you live in or near one of those states, I hope you will come to the state capitol and participate. Bring others with you—family, friends, or a group from your church.
My son Will recently returned from Uganda where he preached the Gospel at an evangelistic Crusade there. He was invited by churches in the city of Mukono—they called it a Peace and Joy Celebration and many responded joyfully to the message of the Gospel. Will has a Crusade coming up later in Scotland and then another in Canada.
After the Decision America Tour is completed, I will lead a Crusade in Myanmar (formerly Burma). God is clearly at work in that country, where churches are growing in the midst of persecution. Please pray that God will draw many hearts to Himself.
Pray also about the elections coming up in America. Pray for our country, pray for the candidates, and pray about how God would have you vote. God has provided many open doors for us to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to people in a world that desperately needs Him—the hurt and hopelessness in people’s lives is so real, and the spiritual need in hearts is so urgent. We ask for your faithful prayers and gifts, which enable us to continue to do the life-changing work He has called us to do.