A Tribute to Billy Graham
Billy Graham was a man of prayer.
In 1982, the Today show in New York City scheduled an interview with Reverend Billy Graham. When he arrived at the studio, one of the program's producers informed Graham's assistant that a private room had been set aside for the reverend for prayer before the broadcast. The assistant thanked the producer for the thoughtful gesture, but told him that Mr. Graham would not need the room. The producer was a bit shocked that a world-famous Christian leader would not wish to pray before being interviewed on live national television.
Graham's assistant responded, "Mr. Graham started praying when he got up this morning, he prayed while eating breakfast, he prayed on the way over in the car, and he'll probably be praying all the way through the interview."1
Billy Graham was a man of encouragement.
In 2002, famous singer Bono received an encouraging phone call from Billy Graham during an extremely busy tour season. In appreciation of Graham's gesture, Bono wrote a poem and flew to Graham's home in North Carolina to deliver it himself. Bono's poem, "The Journey from Father to Friend" reads:
“The journey from Father to friend
is all paternal loves end
It was sung in my teenage ears
In the voice of a preacher
loudly soft on my tears
I would never forget this
Or its lyric voice that gave my life
a meaning that wasn't there before
a child born in dung and straw
wish the Father's love and desire to explain
how we might get on with each other again …”2
Dr. Graham impacted the lives of others because he took the time to encourage.
Billy Graham was a friend to the aging.
“What does this have to do with growing old? Old is authentic. Old is genuine. Old is valuable. Some say old is even beautiful …. The older generation may have a hard time keeping up with the younger, but let's remember that as long as we are still breathing, we are leading the way.
The generations that follow are learning about growing old from us. Are we good examples? While we have all made mistakes and would like to turn back the clock to correct some things, we know this is not possible. But the lessons we have learned from our successes and failures can help those following behind. The impact we can potentially have on them can mean the difference between leaving good memories in our place or simply being out of sight, out of mind.”3
Dr. Graham has contributed so much to so many. He was just an evangelist. He was a man who loved God and tried to live as Jesus would have him live. May we be just like Billy who was just like Jesus.
Something to think about…
1Source: Harold Myra and Marshall Shelley, The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham (Zondervan, 2005)
2Source: Paul Pastor and Andrew Finch, PreachingToday.com
3Source: Billy Graham, Nearing Home (Thomas Nelson, 2011), pp. 20-21