Billy Graham (1918-alive)
Often Billy had black
moments before golden moments. One of the
first was worrying over his first altar call
in 1938. All day Billy gnawed his fingernails,
sick with worry. He prayed all afternoon for
God's help. He was going to preach at a
store-front church in Venice, 60 miles south
His mood was so black he
told himself, "I'll have to quit preaching if
I fail. If I can't bring folks to Christ I'm
just making a lot of noise."
That night 100 people sat
in chairs to listen to him preach. Heart
pounding, he began. As he preached his courage
returned. He really felt as if the Holy Spirit
was helping him. Arms flailing and words
exploding like gunfire he delivered the
Gospel. But at the end of his sermon, when
Billy invited them down to the altar to accept
Christ, his mouth was as dry as sand.
"Now, friends, please come
forward if you want your life to change
tonight. Accept Christ as your Savior..."
He stood, hands clasped,
eyes down, sweating as he waited. Surely at
least one would come. Oh please, God, just
one. All he wanted was one. He waited.
What if no one came?
Slowly a man stood. Billy
tried not to stare. Was the man coming to the
altar? Or was he simply leaving the church?
The man hesitated. Sin and desperation were so
hard to acknowledge publicly. The man slowly
turned to the altar. Yes! He was coming
forward. Praise the Lord!
Another stood up. Could it be true that she
was coming to Christ too? Or was she leaving?
She came forward. Oh, yes. Praise the Lord.
Soon they were rising and
coming forward so fast Billy could no longer
count. He wanted to weep. He wasn't worthy of
this. 'Oh, rebuke me, God,' he prayed. This
was not due to Billy's sermon. This was not
due to his personal charm. God forgive him for
thinking that. Sinners came to Christ because
the Holy Spirit was working through Billy.
Somehow God had blessed him, Billy Frank
Graham, with power of the Holy Spirit!
"Thirty-two came to the
altar," said one of the local churchmen later.
"In all my years I never saw that many come to
the altar in one meeting…"
[sources: Billy Graham: The Authorized
Biography by John Pollock,
1966, A Prophet With Honor: The Billy
Graham Story by William Martin,