More than 2,500 people gathered Jan. 5 in the ice and snow on the steps of the capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, to watch Franklin Graham kick off his 2016 Decision America Tour.
Graham, the eldest son of 97-year-old evangelist Billy Graham, heads both the Christian nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse, which lends hands and resources to disaster-stricken places around the world, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. It was the first stop of his 50-state prayer tour before the 2016 presidential election.
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association photo
“The most important thing we can do as Christians is pray,” Franklin Graham said in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 5.
Graham will not be supporting any specific candidates or parties, as he has in the past. In fact, he left the Republican party in late 2015 in favor of an independent status. He felt it was best not to align with either party so he could more effectively unite all Christians, regardless of political affiliations, to begin praying for the nation.
Instead, Graham’s goal is to encourage Christians to engage in politics, vote and pray. He told the crowd that an estimated 20 to 30 million Christians stayed home in the 2012 election. He wondered what our country would look like if city councils, school boards and mayor seats were filled by believers in the next two or three elections.
The Daily Signal quoted him saying, “No political party is going to be able to turn this around. I have no hope in the Democratic Party. I have zero hope in the Republican Party. I have no hope in [the] tea party or any other party. My only hope is in Almighty God and his [S]on, Jesus Christ. The most important thing we can do is pray. God hears prayer and God answers prayer.”
The prayer rally began with a time of worship and prayer, then Graham shared a 30-minute message where the gospel was shared and he exhorted Christians to honor God at home, in public and at the ballot box. It ended with an opportunity to make the Decision America Tour pledge – via text message or at Decision-AmericaTour.com – to both God and America.
Graham urged Christians to not only vote in next year’s elections but to run for office at every level of public office.
Graham’s next stop is New Hampshire, also an early nominating state, and then on to Louisiana. The date and location for his North Carolina visit has not yet been announced.
To get involved now, visit decisionamericatour.com/tour/north-carolina/ and join the North Carolina prayer team.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – This story was compiled by Emily Blake, editorial aide for the Biblical Recorder.)