Franklin Graham: My Father Still Prays for the Lost

By   •   July 25, 2014

Billy and Frankling Graham

Dear Friend,

Many people have asked how my father is doing. He is a little bit stronger, and his vitals continue to be good. It seems the heat of the summer has been good for him.

Sixty-five years ago this August was a pivotal time in my father’s life. In fact, my son Will Graham recently traveled to San Bernardino, California, to help commemorate, on behalf of my father and me, a decisive step of faith that occurred at Forest Home Conference Center that summer of 1949. My father was 30 years old and preaching around the country. Another young preacher he knew had been questioning whether the Bible was truly and entirely the authoritative Word of God.

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The issues this preacher raised began to trouble my father. Although he never doubted the truth of the Gospel, he wrestled over whether he could fully believe everything the Bible teaches. He even started wondering if his questions might cause him to give up preaching. He took his struggle with him when he traveled to California, where he was scheduled to speak at Forest Home in August and then begin a citywide tent Crusade in Los Angeles a few weeks later.

Late one night at Forest Home, discouraged and unable to sleep because of the burden that filled his mind, he got up and went out into the moonlight for a walk. In the nearby woods he came upon a tree stump, and he opened his Bible and laid it on the stump. Then he poured out the agony of his heart to God. He knew the matter had to be resolved one way or the other. Finally he knelt in the shadows by the stump with the Bible open before him and prayed, “Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I will believe this to be Your inspired Word.” At that moment, he later said, he felt the burden lift and sensed the freedom and power of the Holy Spirit in and around him.

In 1949 at Forest Home in California, a confused Billy Graham placed his Bible on a stump and cried out to God.

The same struggle stirs within many today. There are voices across our land that emphasize parts of the Word of God while minimizing Scriptures that make them uncomfortable. As I contemplate the havoc this creates within the church, I am reminded of an old Bible teacher, now in Heaven, who once told me that the best way to interpret Scripture is with other passages of Scripture. The Bible is true from cover to cover. “This Book … shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8, NKJV).

I am convinced that my father’s commitment by faith to the Word of God was the key to what happened next in his ministry. At the time, he was a young, relatively little-known evangelist. A few weeks later, when the Los Angeles tent Crusade got underway, God began to pour out blessings in ways no one could have imagined. The response to the Gospel exceeded anything my father and his small team had ever seen, and God used that Crusade to open a flood of opportunities to preach the glorious Good News of Jesus Christ in cities all over the nation and the world.

Sometimes I think about that stump my father laid his Bible on. Many people feel that their lives have become a lot like a stump—cut down—and there’s nothing they can do. But God can renew and use anyone who, in faith, holds fast to His Word. The Bible says, “There is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease” (Job 14:7). When you give yourself 100 percent to following God’s direction, there is no end to what He can do through you.

This summer I hope you can arrange an opportunity to get away from the distractions of daily life, spend some in-depth time in the Bible, and pour your heart out to the Lord in prayer—whether in repentance for sin, recommitment to obey His Word, or seeking renewal and fresh direction for your life. Remember also to thank Him for His faithfulness and to pray by name for the salvation of loved ones and friends who need Jesus Christ in their lives.

Forest Home was instrumental in Billy Graham’s early ministry.

My father can no longer take walks or kneel in the woods to pray. His eyesight has dimmed and his conversations are brief. But I can tell you that he kneels in spirit to the Lord as he prays for lost souls and looks forward to eternal fellowship with His Savior in Heaven someday. Because he will be 96 next November 7, his thoughts are constantly on Heaven, and we have captured these in a video that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is excited about airing this November through the nationwide My Hope 2014 outreach. It’s a powerful evangelistic film that weaves this new message from my father on Heaven around several real-life stories of how the Gospel changes hearts.

There are people you know and people all over America who do not yet understand that the only way to Heaven is through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. They need to hear this message, and we ask for your help to make that happen. Be sure your pastor and others in your church know about My Hope 2014 with Billy Graham.

May God richly bless you,

Franklin Graham


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  1. Mr iyamu says:

    Going for Bible school

  2. Tom Randolph says:

    A small gift, but I just thank you for the many resources you provide. Thank you for caring and all your love for the lost.

  3. Linda Jaeckels says:

    This is the evangelist Billy Graham’s life and love for the Lord I’ve always known. I’m so honored and pleased to have heard his love for the Gospel of God’s WORD! His dedication to evangelism teaching and getting out the message of GOD’S Word to live by daily as we walk our journey to eternal life is an example of Christ! Thanks for all you’ve given to me of Christ and to the world. Great job being a loving, giving and faithful servant!!! You and your ministry will always be imprinted on my heart and life. Thank you and your family once again!! “To God Be The Glory For All You Have Done”!! Linda

  4. Karen Hinman says:

    Your Dad has been on my heart so heavily for the past few weeks. I read an article a few weeks ago on how he came to Christ/Mordecai Ham and it was wonderful. I also heard the Newsboys talking about how your Dad inspired them so much when they met him that they then wrote “We Believe”. So each time I hear this song I say a prayer for your Dad. K-Love & Way-FM play it a lot, so many prayers are being prayed for him. May God bless Him each day he has left here on this old earth.

  5. Anthony Lilley says:

    I have just done a review of his latest book ‘The Reason for my hope’ for our church magazine and I just wanted to encourage you in the ministry. Memories of Harringay and Wembley 60 years ago are very fresh: I also had the privilege of meeting him in Jos, Nigeria in 1960.
    The days are very different now and more than ever the message of Hope needs to be preached. I am praying for the continuing ministry of the BGEA. Have you an office over here in England to which gifts could be sent?
    Every blessing,

  6. Michael Knauss says:

    What an amazing guy. I am 62 and am praying he continues as he ages I pray for Franklin also. I enjoy the classics what an inspiring guy thanks keeps me on the right path Mike …..

  7. Dorothy Vanderwaal says:

    I am eternally grateful to God for Billy Graham. The world has been blessed without measure, by Billy and I can’t wait to see the ocean of people in Heaven whose lives he has touched. Thank you Billy for your ministry and service to all whom God put in your path. Oh what a family we have in Heaven. Thank our Father God who planned for our family by giving us his Son to be our bridge from this earthly life into an eternal life with Him. Thank you Franklin for your love and obedience to God for continuing His message through your father’s ministry. God continue His blessings upon you and your father unto his glory.

  8. derek Culver says:

    From the Culver Family
    Our home church is Calvary chapel

  9. Carline Allen says:

    The BGEA is a very viable outreach for Christ. I only wish I could afford to support it monetarily.