With less than two weeks remaining before Billy Grahams last evangelistic crusade in New York, Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) are asking for continued prayers for the internationally renowned evangelist.
Please continue to pray for my father, said Franklin Graham, the BGEAs Chief Executive Officer, in a recent statement released on Saturday. At 86 years of age, his desire is still to clearly and boldly communicate the Gospel.
After more than five decades spent preaching to 210 million people in 185 countries, the Rev. Billy Graham will travel to New York City for the June 24-26 Greater New York Crusade in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, which he recently said may be the last crusade he will ever hold.
According to the BGEA, more than 1,000 churches have been praying and working for months across the Big Apple to prepare for the crusade as organizers transform Flushing Meadows Corona Park into a giant stadium filled with 70,000 chairs and an overflow area for more than 50,000 people.
Preparing for the New York Crusade has been a monumental task, Franklin Graham said in his statement. New York is the most ethnically diverse city in the world. More than 130 languages are spoken within walking distance of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Logistics for such a meeting have presented special challenges.
We covet your prayers, Graham continued. Evangelism will not work apart from persistent prayer that prepares hearts to hear and receive the Gospel. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will move in a mighty way, for we know that He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8, NKJV). Your prayers are vital to our ministry and to the millions who need to hear the Gospel.
The June 24-26 meetings will be held on Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. Saturday programs will feature a youth-oriented "Concert of Hope," as part of the crusade's "Get Real"-themed effort to reach out to the more than two million young people aged 18 and under throughout metro New York.
According to the BGEA, the Greater New York Crusade will be Billy Graham's seventh campaign in the area, following meetings at Madison Square Garden in 1957 and 1969. His first was the most historic, as meetings initially planned to last for six weeks were extended to sixteen, attended by more than two million people, including individual meetings at Yankee Stadium, Wall Street, and a closing-night crowd of many thousands in Times Square.
Other previous crusades held by Graham in the New York City area include meetings at Shea Stadium in 1970, at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island in 1990, and at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and in Central Park in 1991.