This is my review of Billy Graham’s autobiography in terms of his prayers. In this fifth part we will see why Billy had to stay on his knees in prayer, and how he grew in faith.
1957 – 1960
35. As you can imagine, being as popular as he was, the media was always hounding Billy Graham. But Billy was careful to be patient with them—and prayerful. When he was preaching in New York for the 1957 crusade he recalled, “I stayed on my knees about the media more than about any other single thing, including my sermons. Far more people would read the newspaper and magazine stories than would hear me preach in person. My prayer was that the Holy Spirit would guard our statements to the press and use the coverage to glorify Christ.” (p. 308)
36. Billy Graham was no superman. Sometimes after preaching for a number of days his strength would run out. This was the case when he preached in the New York crusades in 1957. As it happened, since the meetings ran at full capacity (and beyond) every night, the crusade committee decided to extend them from six weeks to nine weeks. Billy recalled that at the end of the six weeks he was physically depleted, plus he had run out of sermons! He wrote in His autobiography, “Some nights during those later weeks, I sat on the platform and prayed silently, ‘O God, You have to do it, I can’t do it. I just can’t do it.’ And yet when I stood up, all of a sudden the words would begin to come—God giving strength and spiritual power in a way that could not be explained in human terms.” (pp. 318-319)
37. Billy Graham was not always received well. When he was in Paraguay, South America, there was strong opposition to the crusade—in which a counterdemonstration was organized consisting of a parade of 15,000 students and a music festival. But it was quite obvious that God was all for the crusades and against those who apposed it. In response to their prayers God ordered a violent storm that hit the city, scattered the parade and destroyed preparations at the festival site. But wouldn’t you know: the crusade took place as scheduled—right on time! (pp. 373-374)
38. Billy Graham knew many political figures, but always thought it wise not to endorse them publically. In 1960, after writing an article about Nixon the Man that was going to appear in Life Magazine, for some reason Billy had second thoughts about it, as did Ruth and a number of other people. So he and Ruth got on their knees on the night it went to the press and asked God to stop the publication if it was not His will. God answered. The next morning Henry Luce, the publisher, phoned and said that he pulled the article. (p. 393)
39. If one is a regular, faithful intercessor, he will no doubt be in touch with what God is doing in the world, and is connected to the spiritual realm—both with angels and demons. And if this be the case, he will receive massages and warnings in the form of burdens. This was the case with Billy Graham in 1964 when Kennedy was president. He had received a strong burden that there was danger ahead for the president. He tried to contact him to warn him, but was unable to get through to him. He wanted to tell him, “Don’t go to Texas!” (p. 400)