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June 29, 2018
By Ray and Vicki Bentley with Anne Graham Lotz
The second annual Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast took place June 6-7, 2018. For the second year in a row government leaders and influential Christian leaders from all walks of society gathered in Israel’s capital city to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
A well-known religious and political figure, Orthodox Rabbi Yehuda Glick, gave an official greeting and welcome, stating, “I’m so excited that today we have Christians from 70 nations in Jerusalem, our capital, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem! We have been waiting for you for some 2,000 years! As the prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 2:2: Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.”
And many people did come to the mountain of the Lord…to Jerusalem…and His Word was clearly proclaimed to all.
Knesset Member Robert Ilatov (pictured below left) initiated and chaired this prayer movement. Mr. Ilatov was assisted in coordinating the event by Albert Veksler (pictured below right). God fully blessed with some 650 delegates from 70 nations.
The 2018 Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast became even more significant as Israel experienced a number of historic events: the 70th anniversary of the rebirth of the state of Israel and the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem were two that were widely celebrated. (Vicki Bentley pictured below at the new Embassy)
In attendance were Christian leaders, pastors, ministry directors and other workers. Representing numerous governments were kings, princes, lords, and ladies, U.S. representatives, plus members of various parliaments from both Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, Russia and more. It was a privilege to be invited – to experience and witness an unprecedented modern-day unity between Jews and Christians.
U.S Congresswoman Michele Bachmann co-chaired this year’s international prayer event with Robert Ilatov. She is a very passionate supporter of Israel and a lover of Jesus. She was warm, friendly, and encouraging to all who were gathered.
The 2018 Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast officially began in the Israeli Knesset on the morning of June 6th with introductions and greetings from Knesset members and rabbis, along with Christian leaders, such as Kentucky Governor Matt Blevin and Anne Graham Lotz.
Anne underscored the significance of the 70th year as revealed by the prophet Daniel. In his experience, the 70th year was a time of great blessing for Jerusalem when the prayers of a lifetime were answered. She then read a portion of Daniel’s own prayer that was answered in the 70th year of the Babylonian captivity.
Anne also seized the opportunity to passionately testify to what she believes – that Jesus is the Christ, the unique Son of God, the Savior of the world—and she raised the possibility that the prayers of generations could be answered in this 70th year, as He returns to set us free and take us Home.
The evening of June 6th was filled with an atmosphere of praise as Albert Veksler’s daughter led Spirit-inspired worship. She sang most of her songs in Hebrew, but no translation was needed as the sense of His presence filled the room.
The president of Israel, Rouven Rivlin, came personally to give his own warm greetings and blessing which conveyed the nation’s official recognition of the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast. Mr. Dale Ditto, from the United States, also read a personal letter from President Donald Trump who officially declared the support of the United States.
Various leaders from around the world were then called on to read Scripture—a royal prince, an African king, members of the European Parliament, US Congressmen, business men and others….
while pastors from many different denominations lined up to pray…
Anne was given the privilege of delivering the keynote address which seemed to ignite holy fire in each heart. She powerfully, prophetically challenged those present to follow the prophet Daniel’s example and pray until Heaven was moved and the nation was changed. The audience seemed spellbound, as no one moved or seemed to even breathe until she concluded. She later learned that two men of different religions who were not delegates stood in the doorway to overhear her message, but as a result placed their faith in Jesus as their Messiah, Savior and Lord.
Thursday morning, June 7th, it was evident that unity and intercession continued to build a warm fellowship and sense of shared community among those gathered. There was an atmosphere of excitement and expectancy as the delegates shared breakfast with notable rabbis and Jewish leaders.
One of the most powerful moments came when Steven Koury, an Arab pastor, and a Jewish Rabbi, Tuly Weisz, embraced on the platform, then walked off together.
In the midst of this celebration, Anne’s powerful message of the morning brought eternal focus and attention for everyone. She shared by personal testimony the need to pray with a repentant heart. She then called on those present to rend their hearts, not their garments, as she quoted the prophet Joel. She closed in prayer, leading those present to the throne of a holy God.
As she walked off the platform, the audience stayed seated in silence. The presence of the Holy Spirit was heavy in the room. And then unexpectedly, the leading orthodox Jewish rabbi stood to his feet. With everyone watching, he walked over, greeted her warmly, and publicly gave her his blessing.
Everyone who attended was interesting and had a story. The following are some glimpses into who the delegates were:
Brother Yun, aka The Heavenly Man, a Chinese Christian House Church Leader
The King of Ghana with his wife, Anne and her daughter Rachel-Ruth Wright.
An American soldier stationed in Qatar for whom Anne felt impressed to pray.
Vicki and Ray Bentley, Rachel-Ruth and Anne overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is the center of biblical prophecy. Everything centers on it, for it is the end goal of God’s prophetic plans for the world. I believe we are truly living in the days of the beginning of the fulfillment of the words of the prophet in Isaiah 62:6-7:
I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
Keep praying with us for the peace of Jerusalem!
June 15, 2018
This Father’s Day, memories are precious. I’m reflecting, not on the public figure Billy Graham, but on the one I called “Daddy.” The one who was always a farmer at heart. Who loved his dogs and his cat. Who followed the weather patterns almost as closely as he did world events. Who wore old blue jeans, comfortable sweaters, and a baseball cap. Who loved lukewarm coffee, sweet ice tea, one scoop of ice cream, and a plain hamburger from McDonald’s. Who was interested in everything and everyone, from the small to the great. Whose mind remembered details that even a computer would have trouble recalling.
Yet as I remember, I can’t help but also think of his message because he was immersed in it. Saturated in it. He was his message…a simple man who had responded to God’s love by placing his faith in Jesus, receiving the assurance that his sins were forgiven, that he would not perish, but would have everlasting life. Simple faith. Faith that now matters more than anything else.
For years, over his head as he preached was the banner that quoted the words of Jesus: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus completed that sentence by saying that no one comes to the Father but by Me. Based on what Jesus said, Daddy is safely with the Father. In Heaven. Daddy not only claimed Jesus as the only Way to God, he lived by the Truth publicly on platforms and privately behind closed doors and is now enjoying real Life.
I have often stated that I was raised by a single parent because ministry took my father away from our family—for weeks and months at a time. Daddy estimated that he was gone from home approximately 60 percent of his children’s growing-up years. Until Daddy started staying home to be with Mother during the last years of her life, I could count on one hand the Father’s Days I spent with him. Yet again and again I’ve also stated that giving him up was more than worthwhile because I have met people all over the world who have come to faith in Jesus Christ as a result of his ministry.
So, while he may be physically absent and his voice silent, I am confident that his message will continue to reverberate throughout the generations to come. I pray that thousands will take up his message like a baton being passed in a relay race and faithfully pass it on to others. Because Daddy’s message is God’s message. And it’s a message of genuine hope for the future, of love for the present, of forgiveness for the past. It’s a message, when received, that brings a fresh beginning, unshakable joy, unexplainable peace, eternal significance, meaning and purpose to life, and opens heaven’s door.
At Daddy’s funeral service, I publicly vowed that I would do my best to faithfully deliver that same message by preaching the Word, doing the work of an evangelist as I share the Gospel, and living my life so that five minutes before I see Jesus, I have no regrets. (2 Timothy 4:1-8) My gift to Daddy on this Father’s Day is to keep that vow. With that in mind, I recently had the privilege of speaking at the Israeli Knesset, and at the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast. To my knowledge, there were people of other religions who placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Messiah, Savior, and Lord.
So, the message which Daddy carried to the world that penetrated my own heart as a young girl continues to make impact. This Father’s Day, while my heart aches for the one I called Daddy, I’m celebrating with triumphant joy as I continue his legacy by passing the baton of Truth to as many people as I can.
This article can also be seen on www.BillyGraham.org : Anne on the First Father’s Day Without Her Dad – Billy Graham.
March 12, 2018
He makes me lie down… Psalm 23:2
Following the death of John the Baptist, Jesus knew His disciples needed quiet time to process what had taken place. He knew how difficult it was to minister to others while their own hearts were breaking. So He invited them to come away by themselves and get some rest. (Mark 6:31)
I, too, have heard the Lord whisper that same invitation to me in a unique way following my father’s move to Heaven and the swirl of events that were triggered by it. I received the call about my father at 7:40 a.m. ET on February 21. On Friday, February 23, my son drove me four hours to The Cove in Western North Carolina, where some of my family was gathering. My two daughters, their spouses and my three granddaughters followed. Early the next morning, we rode in a motorcade escorting Daddy from The Cove to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. Then my son drove me 3 hours back to my home. Tuesday I drove back to Charlotte in order to be on the plane early the next morning as family members accompanied Daddy to Washington, DC. We traveled by motorcade to the Nation’s Capitol, where Daddy was laid in honor in the Rotunda. Following a brief, meaningful ceremony, I stood for over 90 minutes greeting Cabinet officials, Senators, and Congressmen who came to show their respect and offer their condolences. That afternoon I stood for 3 hours to speak to anyone who came into the Rotunda, from US Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch and Justice Alito, to people whose identities I’ll never know, but whose tears flowed freely with mine. That night I went to the White House as the guest of the President and First Lady for a private family dinner. The next morning I traveled once again by motorcade to the Capitol as Daddy was removed by an honor guard, then we escorted him to the plane for what would be his last flight, and the return trip to Charlotte. He was taken once again by motorcade back to the Library. That night I attended a dinner for about two hundred extended family members, and also sat in on a program briefing for the funeral service. Early the next morning I found myself once again in a motorcade that took me to the Library to await the beginning of the noon-time service. Following the service, I stood in line to speak to people until no one else was left to greet in the tent. At 3:30 p.m. a processional was formed, and we walked with Daddy to the gravesite where after a brief service, he was finally laid to rest. I returned to the hotel, and the next morning drove the three hours back home.
To say I was beyond exhaustion physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, would not come close to describing my state of being. But the Lord knew I was poised to plunge into frantic activity in order to catch up on two weeks of work that had been paused. He knew that while I needed rest…quiet…isolation…I wouldn’t take it unless I was forced to take it. So Sunday afternoon I became ill. I assumed it was just total exhaustion, or the effects of the icy wind under the funeral tent, but later in the week I was diagnosed with the worst strain of the flu. For the past eight days I have been forced to lie down. To do nothing but rest. By myself. I know the Lord who is my Shepherd is the One who has made me lie down.
In my fevered state I have only been able to process a small portion of what I’ve experienced. Yet some things are clear. I do know that my father’s life…and death…promoted the Gospel, exalted Jesus Christ, and glorified God! I do know that in the three weeks since word of my father’s Homegoing was made public, the Gospel has been proclaimed worldwide over and over in every conceivable way by individuals, news media, ministries, entertainers, talk shows, churches…and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
On a personal level, I also know I couldn’t have made it through all of the above without your prayers! You, God’s people, have carried me through, not just somehow, but triumphantly! Thank you with all my heart!
I also know, after I have rested a while and recuperated from this illness, that there is one thing I will do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)
For the Glory of His Great Name,
February 22, 2018
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown… 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Until 7:30 a.m. on the morning of February 21st, when I received the news that Daddy had moved to Heaven, I had enjoyed watching the Olympics. Besides being thrilling to me, from time to time I have been able to catch life-lessons from the competition.
February 21, 2018
ANNE’S TRIBUTE TO HER FATHER
My Father’s legacy is one that encompasses the world…and engulfs my own life. When I think of him, I don’t think of Billy Graham, the public figure. I think of my Daddy. The one who was always a farmer at heart. Who loved his dogs and his cat. Who followed the weather patterns almost as closely as he did world events. Who wore old blue jeans, comfortable sweaters, and a baseball cap. Who loved lukewarm coffee, sweet ice tea, one scoop of ice cream, and a plain hamburger from McDonald’s. Who was interested in everything and everyone, from the small to the great. Whose mind remembered details that even a computer would have trouble recalling.
But when I think of him I also think of his message because he was immersed in it. Saturated in it. He was his message…a simple man who had responded to God’s love by placing his faith in Jesus, receiving the assurance that his sins were forgiven, that he would not perish, but would have everlasting life. Simple faith. Faith that now matters more than anything else.
For years, over his head as he preached was the banner that quoted the words of Jesus: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus completed that sentence by saying that no one comes to the Father but by Me. Based on what Jesus said, Daddy is safely with the Father. In Heaven. Daddy not only claimed Jesus as the only Way to God, he lived by the Truth publicly on platforms and privately behind closed doors, and is now enjoying real Life.
I have often stated that I was raised by a single parent because ministry took my father away from our family—for weeks and months at a time. Daddy estimated that he was gone from home approximately 60 percent of his children’s growing-up years. Now, he has left again. This time, he will not be coming back. At least, not until Jesus does, too.
While he may be physically absent and his voice silent, I am confident that his message will continue to reverberate throughout the generations to come. My prayer on this day of his move to Our Father’s House is that his death will be a rallying cry. That tens of thousands of pastors, teachers, evangelists, and ordinary men and women will rise up to take his place. That they will take up his message like a baton being passed in a relay race and faithfully pass it on to those with whom they come in contact. Because Daddy’s message is God’s message. And it’s a message of genuine hope for the future, of love for the present, of forgiveness for the past.
It’s a message, when received, that brings a fresh beginning, unshakable joy, unexplainable peace, eternal significance, meaning and purpose to life, and opens Heaven’s door.
It was this message, which Daddy carried to the world, that penetrated my own heart as a young girl and has created in me a personal, passionate resolve to communicate it myself to as many people as possible. And so, even as my tears seem to be unending, I silently rededicate my life to picking up and passing on the baton. Would you do the same?