Praying for Revival on the Jersey Shore
Will Graham Celebration Melds Area's Past and Future
May 18, 2011 - When Will Graham takes the stage at the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, N.J., this weekend, he’ll be echoing a bit of his family’s history.
by Janet Chismar
“The actual building that I’ll be preaching in,” Graham said in a recent interview, “my granddaddy preached there in 1955 when he was 36-years old. Now I am 36-years old and I will be preaching in the same building as he did, at the same age.”
The historic Tabernacle in Ocean Grove dates all the way back to the 1890s. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Ocean Grove itself, which was founded in 1869, is noted for its abundant examples of Victorian architecture.
In this area so rich in history, Graham hopes to also tap into its legacy of revival. The north shore of New Jersey is basically a center piece of American history, says Graham. “Every great revival that took place in our county—for the most part—came through the north shores of New Jersey.”
Graham is praying that God will bring another revival to the area as he delivers a timeless message still relevant in 2011.
“I want to share how people can have hope in Jesus Christ,” he says. “This is one area of the country that has been hardest hit by the recession— the north end has seen flooding— so a lot of people are looking for answers. They are looking for hope.”
Graham believes God has used events in the world today to draw people to Himself. “People are realizing there has to be more than what they see in the world around them,” he explains. “They are looking for purpose and meaning. I am going to share how they can have purpose and meaning, and have their guilt and shame taken away.”
Another unique part of this Celebration, says Graham, is the support and unity of local churches. The event, chaired locally by Dr. John Taylor in conjunction with more than 265 area churches, represents 25 denominations.
“I’ve never seen another place like this in the United States anywhere,” says Graham. “They’ve bent over backwards to help and provide anything they can. I’ve never seen so much support in my life!”
God is starting to work through the community already, Graham adds. “You see a unity in the body of believers, praying for one thing—that God will show up and bring people to repentance.”
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