What do I remember about Billy Graham? The Altar Calls.
Reverend Graham’s message was always the same: the sorrow of sin and the complete covering of it through Jesus’s sacrifice. He never wavered from this simple yet profound message.
As a child, I watched the crusades with my family whenever they were televised. At the end of every event, Reverend Graham completed his message with an altar call. I was always amazed to see hundreds of people pouring into the aisles to head to the altar for prayer.
I Miss the Altar Calls
There was something about those altar calls. Even as a child, I knew that the people flooding to the altar were making a decision that would forever change their lives both here … and in eternity.
You can never force Christianity on someone.
It is always a choice to follow Jesus. Reverend Billy Graham knew this.
Billy Graham never failed to provide listeners with an opportunity to make that decision. (Many times, however, I miss opportunities to share the gospel with someone I care about because I am too afraid to offend them in some way.)
I miss the feeling the electricity in the air whenever I watched the masses of people rushing into the aisles. I was extremely blessed to see Reverend Graham speak in Charlotte in 1996 with Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash leading worship. From my seat in the nosebleed section, the verses of Just As I Am (without One Plea) filled every corner of the stadium and then overflowed to the streets of Uptown Charlotte. I recall it felt like… home.
Why We Need Altar Calls
The gospel message is the same now as it was 2,000 years ago. It leads us to the most important decision that we will ever make: to accept Jesus as our Savior or to deny Him.
Choosing to delay that decision is actually making a choice, so choose wisely. There’s too much at stake not to be sure of where we’ll spend eternity.
Those crusades forever changed me, an 8-year-old girl who learned so much about God’s unconditional love and complete forgiveness in the Reverend’s messages. There’s something sweet about the gospel message. It opens the doors of our hearts to let in a great Light that can never be put out.
Where would I be now, had I not made my own decision? Certainly, my life would not be filled with the love that I’ve found in the years since. That much I know.
So thank you, Reverend Billy Graham. If you don’t mind, I’d like to honor your life by sharing your “sinner’s prayer”: