Having a prayer team or a prayer partner is a good idea for everyone. Before Billy Graham accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, Billy’s dad was part of a weekly prayer meeting, known as the Christian businessmen in Charlotte. His father, William Franklin “Frank” Graham, Sr., was a dairy farmer. Frank invited the group to gather and pray on his property, under an orchard of shade trees, near the edge of the pasture.
At that meeting in May 1934 Vernon Patterson, a paper salesman, prayed that “God would raise up someone from Charlotte, North Carolina, who would take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.” Six months later, Billy attended a tent revival out of curiosity, six days before his 16th birthday. At the time, Billy explained he attended church weekly with his parents, but only out of necessity. He truly was not expecting to have any sort of conversion experience at the meeting.
In his book, Just As I Am, Billy explained that “Charlotte, North Carolina had the reputation of being one of the leading churchgoing cities in the United States,” yet during the time of the tent revivals, the city “began to tremble.” The pastor of those revivals was Dr. Mordecai Fowler Ham. Billy explained that Dr. Ham “did not mince words, either in the abstract or in its specific expressions in the local community. His candid denunciations of various evils got reported widely in the newspapers.” What many in that town were experiencing, including Billy, was that “Dr. Ham’s meetings opened [their] eyes to the truth.”
“I was under conviction from the time I hit the door.” He continued to explain that when the service had ended and most people had left, he had remained seated. “A couple of members came back to me and wanted to know if they could help me. I said, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m in bad shape.’ They said, ‘Come up and let us pray with you.’ They did, but I went on for about ten days and nights, unable to eat or sleep. I cared nothing for this world nor anything the world had to offer. I wanted something that the world couldn’t give, and I believed that I would know when I got it.”
When Billy Graham was saved by Jesus Christ, he recalls, “The spiritual struggle went on for days but finally came to an end. As my father told it: ‘One night, just as I turned off Park Road – the road I lived on – onto Worthington Avenue, God saved me. And my eyes were opened and old things passed away, and all things became new. I will never forget that moonlit night.”
Billy wasn’t the only person that realized something heavenly had happened. “When he walked into the meeting house, the preacher saw the change on his face, called him up front, put his arm around my father’s shoulders, and announced, ‘Here is a young man whom God has called to preach, I’m sure.”
Thank you for the Christian businessmen in Charlotte; specifically for the prayer meeting held in May 1934 with Frank Graham and Vernon Patterson. Thank you for the prayer Vernon spoke to raise up someone from his town to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Thank you for Dr. Ham and the unnamed people that prayed with Billy. Thank you Lord for Billy Graham and his curiosity to attend the tent revival in 1934. Thank you for all of the lives saved through Billy over the years and thank you for Billy’s family for sharing him with the world.
Father God, thank you for the power of prayer and the direct line of communication straight to you.
Lord Jesus, I pray that we will see revivals once again in our cities across the United States and around the globe. I pray that every door you are knocking on will be opened and you will enter into relationships with more people this month and year, than any year prior. Father, I long for the largest Christian revival to take place this year and I pray more people will gather together in prayer with me for this calling.
In Jesus’ name, we pray,
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