Praying for Revival, 80 Years Ago

By   •   May 30, 2014

Billy Graham's father, W. Frank Graham (BGEA photo archive)
In May of 1934 at the dairy farm of Billy Graham's father, W. Frank Graham, a group of businessmen gathered and prayed for God to raise up an evangelist from Charlotte to spread the Gospel.
In May of 1934, Billy Graham was in this barn doing his after-school chores, while on the same property, his father W. Frank Graham and a group of businessmen prayed for God to raise up an evangelist from Charlotte, N.C., to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Eighty years ago this month, a group of businessmen gathered under a grove of shade trees at the edge of a pasture for a prayer meeting. They had met several times before at different locations around their hometown of Charlotte, N.C.—always outdoors—to pray for revival in their city, revival across their state, and revival to the ends of the earth.

My grandfather W. Frank Graham was part of the prayer group, and on this occasion in May 1934, he hosted the gathering on his dairy farm. That day a paper salesman named Vernon Patterson suggested they add a bold new prayer, that God would raise up someone from Charlotte who would take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

My father, Billy Graham, who was only 15 years old, was at that moment in the barn (right) doing his after-school chores. The men were gathered at the end of the far pasture on what the family called “the second ridge”— a long, low hill beyond a small stream. None of those who prayed were thinking of young Billy, who had not yet even given his heart to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. And my father, pitching hay to the mules, was daydreaming about a career as a professional baseball player. He did not learn of the pasture prayer until years later.

God answered that prayer in ways beyond anything anyone could have imagined, and—with many others joining in the praying and the work through the years—He has continued to answer it to this day.

“A mystery and wonder of prayer,” my father once said, “is that God often waits until someone asks.” Are you praying bold prayers of your own? Which friends or loved ones are you lifting up to God, who desires to rescue the lost? What cities or nations are you praying for? Ask boldly.

Franklin Graham