Rev. Franklin Graham Leads Thousands in Prayer for Orlando Shooting Victims

Leading evangelist Franklin Graham speaks at a Decision American prayer rally held in Columbia, South Carolina on Feb. 9, 2016.
Leading evangelist Franklin Graham speaks at a Decision American prayer rally held in Columbia, South Carolina on Feb. 9, 2016. | (Photo: Facebook / Franklin Graham)

The Rev. Franklin Graham led thousands in a prayer for the victims of the recent nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida during one of his Decision America stops this week.

As announced on his Facebook page, the renowned religious leader and son of the Rev. Billy Graham led more than 5,800 people in prayer for victims of the mass shooting, which took place at the Pulse gay nightclub this past Sunday.

Forty-nine victims were killed in the shooting that was carried out by Islamic extremist Omar Mateen.

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Graham announced on his Facebook page that ahead of his Decision America tour stop in Springfield, Illinois on Tuesday, he and the audience "began by standing together in prayer for the #‎OrlandoShooting victims, the medical teams caring for them, and those who are grieving lost loved ones after this horrific attack."

"We prayed for our country's brokenness and we asked God to heal our nation," the evangelical leader added.

Graham has been touring the country as part of his Decision America tour, encouraging Christians to become involved in the voting process ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

As stated on the Decision America tour website, the purpose of the tour is to "hold prayer rallies, to preach the Gospel, and to challenge believers to take a stand and take action."

Graham's goal on the tour is to "[urge] Christians to vote, to live out their faith in every part of their lives, and to pray for our nation just as Nehemiah cried out to God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore hope to His people."

Earlier this week, Graham also called on President Barack Obama to label the recent shooting at the Orlando nightclub as an act of Islamic extremism, instead of just calling it an "act of terror."

"I appreciate President Barack Obama speaking to the nation yesterday in the wake of the Orlando massacre. He was right in saying that this tragic shooting was an act of terror and hate. But why didn't he say it was an act of radical Islamic terrorism?" Graham questioned.

"Mr. President, with all due respect, don't forget Fort Hood; don't forget the Boston Marathon; don't forget San Bernardino; and don't forget 9/11. What do they all have in common? They were all Islamic terrorists carrying out their treachery in the name of their religion," Graham added.

The evangelical leader followed up his message with another prayer for the victims of the shooting, writing on Monday: "While politicians point fingers, let's not forget the victims of the #‎OrlandoShooting who are clinging to life this morning and the doctors and nurses at Orlando Health caring for them."

"We will continue to learn more in the days ahead about the motives of the killer and what exactly took place, but today there are some precious lives that need our prayers along with the family members of 49 people who will be making plans to bury their loved ones in the next few days," Graham added.

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