My father grew up on a dairy farm in Charlotte, N.C. His brother, my uncle Melvin Graham, continued to run the farm for many decades while my father obeyed God’s call to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ around the world.
Charlotte has grown tremendously since those days and now ranks as the 20th largest city in America. In 2002, we moved the headquarters for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to the city, on a boulevard named for my father—Billy Graham Parkway.
So perhaps you can imagine my disbelief and dismay when the Charlotte City Council recently passed an ordinance requiring all public places and businesses in Charlotte to provide access to bathroom and locker room facilities based on “gender identity” rather than one’s biological gender.
The measure didn’t just squeak by; it was approved by a 7-4 vote. Like other cities that have passed similar laws, it means that anyone who “self-identifies” as a given gender can use the restroom they prefer. It sets the stage for pedophiles and predators, and it opens the door for all manner of evil.
This abhorrent act by local elected leaders lies at the very heart of why I am going to all 50 state capitals, calling on God’s people to pray for our country and become engaged in the political process at every level.
Think of what a difference it would have made in Charlotte if the members of that city council had been men and women who upheld biblical principles. And think of the impact godly leaders can have in communities across our nation. We need Christians on school boards and county commissions, and in city offices and statehouses.
In South Dakota—where I will be on May 24—the state legislature voted recently to require students to use public school restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their biological sex, not their gender identity. This is nothing more than pure common sense morality: boys in the boys’ shower, girls in the girls’ shower.
Despite the approval of both the state House and Senate, the governor vetoed the bill. I don’t know why this legislation that sought to protect young girls and boys was overridden, but if biblical wisdom and principles had prevailed, it would have been quickly enacted.
This is not the time for believers to disengage from the culture. Rather, it is an incredible opportunity for concerned Christians to be Gospel salt and light in practical, influential ways. Like the men of Issachar, we must be people who “understand our times” (1 Chronicles 12:32), who realize the clear and present danger of godless, immoral forces on our decaying culture.
This past decade has seen a violent, destructive descent into a moral abyss. Only a few years ago, we had more than 30 states pass traditional marriage referendums and amendments. That changed dramatically with the recent Supreme Court ruling affirming same-sex marriage, culminating in a rainbow-illumined White House and a press conference celebrating the new law.
Decision America Tour
I have no hope that either the Republican or Democratic Party will solve our problems. Although we need to do all we can to stem the tide of evil, ultimately our hope is in Almighty God alone. And that’s why at every Decision America stop, in every state capital, we cry out to God in prayer, and we ask that believers go back to their homes and call believers in their own communities to prayer for our nation.
Here’s how we can pray for God to act:
Pray by first confessing our own sins, and in godly sorrow and repentance turn away from them (2 Chronicles 7:14, Nehemiah 1:4-11).
Pray by remembering that there is only one Savior, and that our security, salvation and deliverance never comes from government or men, but only from Jesus (Acts 4:12).
Pray knowing that all authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to our Lord Jesus Christ, and that His plans can never be frustrated by earthly powers (Matthew 28:18, Psalm 33:10-12).
Pray that governing authorities on every level will fulfill their divinely appointed role of rewarding good and punishing evil (Romans 13:1-4).
Pray for those in authority to exercise their responsibilities in such a way that we can lead a quiet, peaceful, productive life (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
Pray for leaders who fear God and not men (Proverbs 29:25, Matthew 10:28).
Pray for leaders who publicly and privately exhibit godly character and wisdom (Psalm 78:72, Exodus 18:13-27).
Prayer is the absolute key to seeing God’s mighty hand move in our personal and national affairs. Throughout our history, God has sovereignly worked at critical junctures in our country to bring revival. Businesses, government and education were all profoundly affected, and extended seasons of moral renewal enveloped the nation.
I am encouraged when I see examples in the Old Testament of how God moved through righteous rulers like Josiah and Hezekiah to bring repentance and national revival to Israel. Those seasons most often occurred following periods when wicked tyrants ruled over the land, and citizens openly rebelled against God and His standards.
Charles Spurgeon said “prayer is the slender nerve that moves the muscle of omnipotence.”
Our hope for the future of this nation is in God alone. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).
Pray for us in the days and months to come as we proclaim Him across the land. Pray that God will hear and answer our pleas for Him to bless America with genuine repentance, revival and lasting renewal.