Jun 13, 2020
|From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: Flag Day doesn’t get much attention these days and I wonder why Americans seem so indifferent to allegiance to our country. Yet I hear a lot of people – even politicians – say that we should pray for our country. Does it really make a difference? – F.D.
A: Prayers lifted to Almighty God can alter history. What a glorious thing it would be if millions of Americans would avail themselves to the greatest form of communication – prayer to the One who hears and knows the anguish of our hearts. We have not yet learned that mankind is more powerful on his knees than behind the most powerful weapons or devices known, when prayers are directed to the Lord God.
Our nation was founded by people who prayed. When our government was in the process of being formed, Benjamin Franklin addressed the chairman of the Constitutional Convention meeting at Philadelphia in 1787, saying, “I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, it is probable that an empire cannot rise without His aid.”
Millions of people pray only in times of danger or uncertainty. Sadly, many pray to gods that have no ears to hear and no eyes to see. The world is being carried on a rushing torrent of history that is sweeping out of control. There is but one power available to redeem the course of events, and that is the power of prayer by God-fearing, Christ-believing people.
We must not pray only for His direction; we must pray for His forgiveness for our willful disobedience. And then we must pray with grateful hearts for the blessings He has bestowed on the United States of America.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
(c)2020 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
When I was a young child growing up in the small farm town of Wellsville, Kansas, one of my fond memories was our community Flag Day Parade. There, obviously, were many US Flags displayed in many various ways throughout the town and within the parade itself. Even as a small child my heart swelled with pride to see the colors. Just as a side note, there were many of us kids riding our bicycles with pride in the parade, adorned with red, white and blue crepe paper streamers on our handlebars and woven in our wheel spokes with pride. In addition, we often also had playing cards making joyful noise as we slowly rode crisscross on the brick main street. Oh, those were good days; no real worries for this young boy.
My purpose in this writing is not to give historical data about our grand old flag, but rather just share some personal thoughts and perspectives related to this world renowned emblem.
My first real memory of our Flag stands out to me in the first grade of school in that same town. I loved that town and my times in that school; Wellsville Elementary School, grades 1 through 8. Wellsville did not have kindergarten until after I had finished first grade. My first grade teacher was Mrs. Kramer (not sure I am spelling that right; it has been a couple of years). Mrs. Kramer always started our day with prayer followed by the Flag Salute. (I remember the day we heard that the words, “Under God” were added in 1954). I sat near the front of the room so I had a clear view of the flag proudly displayed in the front corner. I grew to love those first two daily activities very much.
As a young man in the military, USAF, I volunteered to serve in Vietnam and was there 13 months in ’66 and’67. I remember the fear of the unknown I experienced, first in Tan Son Nhut Air Base, then in Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, and how that fear was calmed when I held our US Flag in my gaze in each location. There’s just something about that Flag.
There is something about that Flag.
Without drawing distinctions between nations and their flags, I simply want to say that in all the countries I have been blessed to be in during my lifetime, and there have been several, though their flags have been finely designed and somewhat impressive, the US Flag and her colors seem to have demanding powers. I have seen our Flag give rise to envy, joy, and yes, fear or terror, depending on who was looking at her display and the circumstance.
The power behind the design and colors, to me, seems to have had some divine influence. Am I saying God had something to do with our Flag? I am not sure I have the right to boldly proclaim such an idea, but in spite of all our nations mistakes and sins, that Flag has been a symbol of freedom to peoples all over the globe. Since Vietnam days, and again shortly after 9/11, there have been certain people groups within America who have dishonored and tried to destroy or eliminate this grand old lady, our Flag.
The evil one, Satan, the enemy of God and His image, God’s ordained family units, our God inspired Constitution, laws, and even our Flag, has done all he can to eradicate the world of all things even remotely related to God.
All I want to say is, all the battles within America, whether racial or political, and too many others to mention, are spiritual at their foundations. We are in a spiritual battle unlike anything we have experienced before, at least in my lifetime. The Church needs only to point her fingers and prayers at the demonic world rather than at each other. The outcome that most good citizens desire here is largely the Church’s responsibility. The Church must be revived, restored, renewed, refocused, and advancing against the spirits of darkness. The Church alive has the greatest power available in the Universe. Church, come on, finally be His Church. America and the world need us at our best in Him. Pray On!
Oh, and have a great Flag Day! America, be a blessing to God at last!