The late evangelist Billy Graham has become just the fourth private citizen in history to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda so that the public can pay their last respects to a unique evangelist and preacher. The extended Graham family was in attendance at the Capitol today as prayer and worship took place around the coffin of the most influential minister in American history.
Interestingly, the hearse that carried Billy Graham to the U.S. Capitol did not fly an American flag, but instead proudly displayed two early 20th century Christian flags that symoblized the central elements of Christianity.
The red Latin cross is to represent the blood of Christ that was shed on the cross. The blue represents baptismal waters and the rebirth of the soul. Finally, the white represents the purity of Jesus.
Alongside House leader Mitch McConnell and speaker Paul Ryan, President Trump delivered some powerful remarks, reflecting on a life of faithful preaching and extraordinary influence.
“In the spring of 1944 Billy Graham’s father allowed a group of Charlotte businessmen to use a portion of the family’s dairy farm to gather for a day of prayer,” Trump remarked. “On that day, the men prayed for the city. They prayed that out of Charlotte, the Lord would raise up someone to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth.”
That man would turn out to be the Rev. Billy Graham.
“We are here today more than 80 years later, because that prayer was truly answered,” Trump continued. “Billy Graham was just 15 years old at the time. Just a few months later he accepted Jesus Christ as his lord and savior. That choice didn’t just change Billy’s life, it changed our lives, it changed our country and changed our entire world. The North Carolina farm boy walked out of those fields into a great and beautiful history.”
Trump continued, telling stories of Graham’s remarkable “revival” events that famously yielded tens of thousands of new converts. “Starting at a small Bible school in Florida, he soon led a nationwide revival. From a large tent in Los Angeles, to 100,000 people in a single day in Yankee stadium, to more than 2 million people in Madison Square Garden,” Trump said.
Today, in the center of this great Chamber lies Billy Graham – an Ambassador for Christ who reminded the world of the power of prayer and the gift of God’s grace. pic.twitter.com/5aMh8nFPJW
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2018
The President also has personal memories of Graham’s evangelistic crusades. “I remember my father said to me ‘C’mon son, c’mon Mom, let’s go see Billy Graham at Yankee stadium.’ It was something very special.”
“American’s came in droves to hear that great young preacher,” Trump added. “Fred Trump was a big fan, Fred Trump was my father.”
“All over the world, Rev. Graham shared the power of God’s word with over 200 million people,” the President declared at the historic occasion. “He took his message to the poorest places, to the downtrodden, and to the broken-hearted; to inmates in prison, to the overlooked and the neglected. He felt a great passion to those who were neglected.”
Trump went on to detail the very crux of Rev. Graham’s preaching:
“Everywhere he went, Rev. Graham delivered the same beautiful message: “God loves you,”” he said.
“We can only imagine the number of lives touched by the preaching and prayers of Billy Graham. The hearts he changed, the sorrows he eased, and the joy he brought to so many. The testimony is endless. Today, we give thanks for this extraordinary life.”
“Here in this room, we are reminded that America is a nation sustained by prayer,” the President said, his voice echoing through the United States Capitol rotunda.
Trump went on to call Billy Graham “legendary,” as he named many others who are enshrined in American history and remembered at the US Capitol: Martin Luther King, President Eisenhower, President Lincoln and others.
The President concluded by calling Billy Graham “an ambassador for Christ who reminded the world of the power of prayer, and the gift of God’s grace.”
“Today we honor him as only three private citizens before him have been so honored,” he said.
“All across this land, the Lord will raise up men and women like Billy Graham to spread a message of love and hope to every precious child of God. Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless America.”