“Our job as Christians is to make the impact of Jesus Christ felt in every phase of life.”
Franklin Graham has crossed the nation this year on his Decision America Tour, reminding Christians of this responsibility. On Thursday, he stopped in his 41st state capital—Hartford, Connecticut—and urged Christians to become advocates for God.
As estimated 1,400 people cheered, whistled and clapped in support as Franklin Graham stressed that it’s time to elect Christian men and women who will bring this nation back under our sovereign God.
Victoria Triano couldn’t agree more.
“We need more dedicated Christians in the political field, people who are willing to stand and move on their faith,” Triano said.
“Sometimes you go, ‘Oh that’s politics,’ but my goodness, if we’re not willing to stand for what we believe and get in the arena, it will never change.”
And America needs to change, said Triano, who has been a member of the Southington Town Council for two decades. She’s a native of the Hartford County town and never envisioned she would do anything political. Her dad was the chief of police. Her mom was a homemaker. And what’s more, Triano planned to join a convent by her 18th birthday.
But God had other plans for her. She visited a church prior to joining the convent, where she heard the message of Jesus Christ for the first time. She was serving as a nun when she made good on a promise to that pastor. She read the Gospels, and a short time later, she accepted Christ. Her whole life changed.
Triano smiled on Thursday as she thought about how she accepted Christ and became permanently grounded in her new faith. She even helped lead her mother to accept Jesus while they watched Billy Graham on television one Saturday night.
In the last two decades, Triano has juggled her political role and her church involvement through prayer and staying connected in God’s Word.
Prayer, the core of the Decision America Tour, is what drew many vocal Christians to the State grounds on Thursday.
“America needs the Gospel more than anything else, and I think prayer is one of the most effective evangelistic tools that you can have,” said Gary Knighton, a pastor in Hartford. “It’s one thing if we’re putting our effort out there. It’s another thing when we call upon the Almighty God to do it.”
Knighton said he has personally seen the power of prayer. His son Benjamin weighed just 1 pound 13 ounces when he was born recently, but he was able to breathe on his own. Next week, Knighton anticipates Ben will get to come home. He’s up to 4 pounds.
David Bournival, of Waterbury, shares a similar story on the power of prayer. When Bournival’s daughter went for an ultrasound, the doctors couldn’t find a heartbeat. Bournival said he started praying. At the next visit, his granddaughter’s heart was beating strong.
“A lot of people try to dismiss that as they didn’t do a proper ultrasound the first time,” Bournival said, as his now 1-year-old granddaughter ran past. “No, God touched that baby.”
There’s power in prayer, Franklin Graham told the crowd.
“God hears prayer, and God can give America His favor,” Franklin said. “We need God’s favor.”
Triano, who attended a Billy Graham Crusade in New York in 2005, said she cleared her calendar when she heard Franklin Graham was coming to town. Prior to Thursday’s prayer rally, she sat on a bench on the third floor of the State Capitol, waiting to greet one senator who planned to attend.
“For Franklin Graham to come to Connecticut, I believe is a sign from God that we must stay strong and united. We must stay strong in the Holy Spirit, and we must be true to our convictions even though they might not be popular right now.
“So many times we won’t speak out, and that’s one of the things I love about Franklin Graham,” Triano said. “He is solidly planted without offense to anybody.”
And Triano appreciates that Franklin Graham urges people to place their trust in Almighty God, not the traditional political parties. As far as she’s concerned, if people align with Jesus, their party affiliation is a distant second.
“It’s really important for us to put those crazy barriers aside and seek God and do what our conscience, that has been called by the Holy Spirit, tells us,” she said. “I’m not talking about our natural conscience, but according to Scripture. Do what’s right and be courageous.”