How to Heal a Nation
A Letter From Billy Graham
July 19, 2011 - "It is only through Jesus Christ that lives, as well as nations, can be healed." — Billy Graham
It is pleasing to God 'that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives' (1 Timothy 2:1–2).
Every time I hear a report on how God is using the My Hope outreach in countries around the world, it thrills my heart. As this letter is being mailed, a wonderful effort is under way to take the Gospel across Haiti.
Believers in Haiti are praying for loved ones or friends who need to hear the Gospel, then inviting them into their homes to see or hear evangelistic broadcasts prepared by BGEA specifically for that culture. Two of the programs in Haiti include Gospel messages from me that were recorded earlier, and another has a message from Franklin on the Prodigal Son.
The programs are presented using TV, DVD, and radio, as well as a new kind of battery-powered video mini-projector for places without electricity. After a broadcast, hosts give their personal testimony and invite guests to “turn to God in repentance and … faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21, NIV).
Our team in Haiti tells me that more than 5,300 churches and tens of thousands of Christians are taking part. One of them, a man who had been praying for specific friends and neighbors, began witnessing before the broadcasts began and has already led seven people on his list to Christ.
Haiti is, in many ways, a land in desperation. Pray that the hope and power of the Gospel will change that nation.
Up Next: Portugal
Years ago, I was invited to hold a Crusade in Lisbon, Portugal, but due to political unrest at the time, those plans had to be canceled. Another opportunity for me to preach in Portugal never came—until now, through our My Hope television outreach.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and many churches in Portugal are well along in preparations for a nationwide My Hope outreach that will culminate in early December.
My Hope has been to 53 countries, and local churches from those countries have recorded millions of decisions for Christ as a result, but this will be the first time in Europe. I have received reports of a great sense of expectation and faith among Portuguese pastors for what God will do in their country.
Summer: A Time for Family
Our family recently marked the fourth anniversary of my wife Ruth’s death. Not a day goes by that I do not think about her. Ruth would be honored and pleased by a special exhibit this summer at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., focusing on her deep interest in young people, missionaries, prisoners, and people struggling with personal hurt. I am reminded of a little poem she wrote as a teenager—her heart never changed.
Summer is a time when many of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren are on vacation and come by more often to see me. Their visits are especially appreciated this year after a bout with pneumonia caused me to be hospitalized for several days and left me weakened. I’m doing much better now and am working to rebuild strength and stamina.
For some time I have been working on a book on the challenges and joys of growing older, from a Christian perspective. Nearing Home will be released in the fall, and it is my hope that the book will be an encouragement both to people entering retirement and people who—like me—are well into their later years.
My friend Louis Zamperini, an Olympic champion and WWII hero, came to see me recently. I’ve known him for 60 years, and we had a wonderful time together. The next day he traveled to the Library where he autographed copies of Unbroken, a book about his amazing life story.
The book, which reached No. 1 not long ago on the New York Times best-seller list, includes a vivid account of how his life was instantly transformed by the power of the Gospel during our 1949 Crusade in Los Angeles. Men like Louis are a moving reminder of why we do what we do in this ministry—tell people everywhere how Jesus Christ can change their lives.
Prayer for the Ministry
Franklin is leading evangelistic events in Denver and Milwaukee in August. Pray for him and also for Christians who are inviting friends and neighbors to hear the Gospel. I preached at Crusades in both cities in years past and am asking God to move in a great way this summer.
When you pray, remember our nation’s leaders. America is facing many crises, and the responsibilities of national leadership can be overwhelming. The Bible says it is pleasing to God “that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives” (1 Timothy 2:1–2).
If God enables you, consider a gift to BGEA this month. Although age and health limit my own activities, BGEA remains fully and urgently engaged in proclaiming the Gospel because we know that it is only through Jesus Christ that lives, as well as nations, can be healed.
May God bless you,
P.S. - Don Wilton, who is my pastor and a great encouragement to me, has written a book filled with insight about the prayer Jesus prayed the night before He died. When you send a gift to BGEA this month, we’ll send a copy of When God Prayed as our thank-you.
Pray for My Hope Haiti
Support Christians in Haiti as they open their homes to people who need the Gospel, this July 21-23. Please consider supporting this effort with a financial gift too.