It is hard to fully comprehend the impact evangelist Billy Graham has had for the Kingdom. It is claimed that he has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history. He has led countless evangelistic crusades, has written numerous books, and has even been the personal pastor to a few U.S. presidents.
This month, Billy Graham celebrated his 99th birthday. He is reaching the end of his life—a life well lived. In this video, Graham describes three foundational life lessons that shaped his life and ministry.
First, follow in the steps of Jesus.
This is a call to live how Jesus lived. The Gospel is a communicated through our lips, but it is demonstrated through our lives. We are to imitate Christ (1 Pet. 2:21). But this cannot be done by sheer willpower. It cannot be done on our own strength (John 15:4). We live each day in the power of the Spirit. And when we do, the fruit of the Spirit will overflow from our lives.
Second, read the Bible every day.
Study it. Memorize it. Mediate upon it. Quote it. And study it again.
Let God’s word be your ultimate authority. Rivet it to your heart. Let it be your delight. Speaking of the man who is blessed by God, David says, “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night” (Psa. 1:2).
Third, go to your knees and pray until you and God have become intimate friends.
Prayer is hard. I think even the disciples knew it. In the Gospel of Luke, one of Jesus’ disciples comes to Him and says, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). This is the only time recorded where Jesus’ disciples ask Him to teach them how to do something. As far as we know, His disciples never asked Jesus to teach them how to preach, or how to walk on water, or how to turn water into wine. But they did ask Him to teach them how to pray.
Of course, they saw Jesus pray over and over again. They saw Him praying when they weren’t. It’s as if they knew that this was the key to everything else about Him. They saw something in Jesus they knew they couldn’t copy.
You can’t imitate a prayer life. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work.
It took me way too long to come to terms with the truth that soul-satisfying, joy-producing prayer cannot be learned in the same way we learn to add numbers. No, you cannot learn by watching others. You learn by doing.
It’s like learning how to skate. You can spend hours watching someone else skate. You can go online and read about it. But until you lace up a pair of skates and start actively skating, you will never become any good at it.
And so it is with praying. This is important: if you are waiting to become good at it before you start, then you will never start.
True, prayer is hard, but the rewards are great. Graham says, “I cannot describe to you the joy and the peace that He gives to you as a result of that daily routine that you have in prayer.”
Heed the wisdom of Billy Graham: Follow Jesus faithfully, read Scripture ferociously, and pray to God passionately.