Billy Graham: Prayers of Note
At Richard Nixon’s inauguration in 1969, Billy Graham prayed the following:
Our Father and our God, Thou hast said, “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord.” We recognize on this historic occasion that we are “a nation under God.” We thank Thee for this torch of faith handed to us by our forefathers. May we never let it be extinguished. Thou alone hast given us our prosperity, our freedom and our power. This faith in God is our heritage and our foundation!
Thou hast warned us in the Scriptures, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” As George Washington reminded us in his farewell address, morality and faith are the pillars of our society. We confess these pillars are being eroded in an increasingly materialistic and permissive society. The whole world is watching to see if the faith of our fathers will stand the trials and tests of the hour. Too long we have neglected Thy word and ignored Thy laws. Too long we have tried to solve our problems without reference to Thee. Too long we have tried to live by bread alone. We have sown to the wind and are now reaping a whirlwind of crime, division, and rebellion.
And now with the wages of our sins staring us in the face, we remember Thy words, “If my people who are called by my Name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Even though this was prayed over 50 years ago, it feels like it could have been just yesterday. Over the last five decades, things have progressively gotten worse.
The state of our nation’s morality begs the question, How? How did we end up where we are? A famous quote by John F. Kennedy says, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” For a Christian, it can be said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for Christians not to pray.”
Billy Graham said it in the prayer above, “Too long we have neglected Thy word and ignored Thy laws. Too long we have tried to solve our problems without reference to Thee. Too long we have tried to live by bread alone. We have sown to the wind and are now reaping a whirlwind of crime, division, and rebellion.” For too long, Christians have thought that bedtime prayers and going to church on Sunday is enough. But it’s not.
We must gird up our strength and come before God in earnestness and humility. “If my people, who are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Can’t you hear the intensity of God’s voice in that plea? He wants us to turn to Him in full dependence and desperation.
Billy Graham said that the whole world is watching to see if the faith of our fathers will stand the trials and tests of the hour. And God is watching to see if His people will fall on their knees and prevail in prayer for the country they love. Will they weep over the transgressions of their people? Will they carry the burden of the nation on their shoulders and lay it at the cross each day?
God is calling us to be a people that prevail in prayer on our knees for the soul of this nation. Will you answer His call?
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Five Timeless Inauguration Prayers from Billy Graham & Franklin Graham. Jan, 2021. https://billygraham.org/story/inauguration-prayers-billy-graham-franklin-graham/