When shy, 16 year-old William Franklin Graham Jr. attended a revival meeting in 1934, he decided to commit his life to Christ. This spiritual awakening transformed William into Southern Baptist minister Billy Graham (1918-), the world's best-known evangelist.
With a reputation of undiminished faith, the charismatic Graham was born on this day in Charlotte, North Carolina. "It is not the body's posture, but the heart's attitude that counts when we pray," he said.
Graham's fiery 1949 Los Angeles and 1950 Atlanta gatherings cemented his national fame. As his reputation grew, Graham's crusades (the name he called his evangelistic meetings) around the world became standard television fare through the 1950s and 60s.
"Kindness is an essential part of Godís work and ours here on earth," he once said.
Graham's fame gave him unprecedented access to the U.S. Presidents. According to Life magazine, Truman did not like him. Graham encouraged Ike to run. He wasn't too close to Kennedy, but "got along great" with LBJ.
He was a 40-year friend to Nixon and golfed with Ford. He and Carter were "polite." And Graham was close with both Reagan and Bush.
About his influence over so many, God's ambassador told Life in 1994, "I am always afraid. Afraid that I may give the wrong word to someone and that it might affect their eternal destiny. I feel every time I go to that platform that I'm unworthy to be there."
Humility and grace from a man of great faith...
More Billy GRAHAM Quotations
With faith, the complex becomes simple.