(Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)
In anticipation of a nationwide evangelism event this November to coincide with his 95th birthday, renowned preacher Billy Graham released a letter through his association this week in which he says that America needs a spiritual awakening more than ever before.
"If ever there was a time this country needed the intervention of God, it is now," writes Graham in the letter published on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website. "We can and should pray for America as a whole, but remember that when God sets out to change a nation, He begins by changing people. It starts with individuals."
Graham said that there are a lot of things that his health and strength no longer permit him to do, but that there are still many things he can do, "and one of them is pray." He writes that he is praying fervently for "a fresh spiritual awakening in America."
The "My Hope America with Billy Graham" project that will culminate in November with a video/TV special will feature new footage of Graham giving an evangelistic message. BGEA encourages participants to reach out to people they already know and engage in meaningful conversation and connections as a catalyst for sharing the hope and love found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
While one-on-one conversations will be the root of this relationship evangelism outreach, there will be special evangelistic programs available in a wide range of formats including TV, DVD and Internet that people can share to reinforce the message. The programs will feature life-changing testimonies and powerful messages from Billy Graham.
The first evangelistic program was released in March entitled Defining Moments. It features the stories of three individuals – illusionist Jim Munroe, NFL player David Tyree and musical artist Lacey Sturm – who found success in their careers yet were still searching for hope. The second program in the series – Lose to Gain – was released in June. It follows the stories of skateboarder Brian Sumner, comedian Michael Jr. and young professional Shannon Culpepper, each searching for something this world ultimately couldn't provide.
These programs, along with additional programs under development, and Graham's message, will serve as the evangelistic thrust behind the implementation of the project in November, says BGEA.
"Along with all the encouraging visits from grandchildren and great-grandchildren this summer, I've had a video camera crew helping me tape, from my home, the things I feel strongly that God is leading me to say to America," writes Graham. "Please pray that God will work in the completion of this program and that He will use it in a mighty way.
"You can invite people you know to watch the program with you in November. Ask God to touch their hearts as they watch. Thousands and thousands of believers in every part of the country are preparing to do that."
Graham encourages each Christian to make sure their pastor knows about the My Hope America project. More than 16,000 churches in all 50 states have signed up to participate so far. He also asks people to sign up for the outreach project as an individual.
"This is a huge undertaking, but we strongly believe the outreach and all needed materials should remain free of charge to those who participate," states Graham. "We are trusting God for the financial resources, and we are asking Him to lay it on your heart to help with a generous and sacrificial gift for My Hope America.
"Most of all, we ask for your prayers and participation so that the hope of the Gospel can touch not only people across the nation, but people you personally know and care about."
On the Web: http://myhopewithbillygraham.org/.