From the Archive: Billy Graham’s Decision for Christ

August 16, 2023

Young Billy Graham

The moment that changed Billy Graham’s whole life was the moment on Nov. 1, 1934 when he made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ.

He describes the moment he decided to give his life to Christ during a Mordecai Ham revival in his autobiography, Just As I Am.

“As a teenager, what I needed to know for certain was that I was right with God. I could not help but admit to myself that I was purposeless and empty-hearted. Our family Bible reading, praying, psalm-singing, and churchgoing – all these had left me restless and resentful. I had even tried, guiltily, to think up ways of getting out of all those activities as much as I could. In a word, I was spiritually dead. And then it happened, sometime around my sixteenth birthday. On that night, Dr. Ham finished preaching and gave the Invitation to accept Christ. After all his tirades against sin, he gave us a gentle reminder: ‘But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8, KJV). His song leader, Mr. Ramsay, led us all in ‘Just As I Am’ – four verses. Then we started another song: ‘Almost Persuaded, Now to Believe.’ On the last verse of that second song, I responded. I walked down to the front, feeling as if I had lead weights attached to my feet, and stood in the space before the platform. That same night, perhaps three or four hundred other people were there at the front making spiritual commitments. The next night, my cousin Crook Stafford made his decision for Christ. My heart sank when I looked over at the lady standing next to me with tears running down her cheeks. I was not crying. I did not feel any special emotion of any kind just then. Maybe, I thought, I was not supposed to be there. Maybe my good intentions to be a real Christian wouldn’t last. Wondering if I was just making a fool of myself, I almost turned around and went back to my seat. As I stood in front of the platform, a tailor named J.D. Prevatt, who was a friend of our family with a deep love for souls, stepped up beside me, weeping. Putting his arms around me, he urged me to make my decision. At the same time, in his heavy European accent, he explained God’s plan for my salvation in a simple way. That explanation was addressed to my own mental understanding. It did not necessarily answer every question I had at the moment – and it certainly did not anticipate every question that would come to me in the months and years ahead – but it set forth simply the facts I needed to know in order to become God’s child.”

Billy Graham’s original Decision Card.
Billy Graham’s original Decision Card.

Billy Graham shared that in the moment he dedicated his life to God, it didn’t feel like this huge ordeal, but how it felt like a moment filled with peace and happiness. He further explains in his autobiography:

“I checked ‘Recommitment’ on the card I filled out. After, all I had been brought up to regard my baptism and confirmation as professions of faith too. The difference was that this time I was doing it on purpose, doing it with intention. For all my previous religious upbringing and church activity, I believe that that was the moment I made my real commitment to Jesus Christ. No bells went off inside me. No signs flashed across the tabernacle ceiling. No physical palpitations made me tremble. I wondered again if I was a hypocrite, not to be weeping or something. I simply felt at peace. Quiet, not delirious. Happy and peaceful.”

At the moment that Billy Graham, with purpose and intention, committed his whole life to Christ, the Lord began to work day by day shaping him into the person that he was called to be. And through time, the Lord opened many doors for Billy Graham to be a vessel to the nations.

Decision card in The Journey of Faith display

You can see the replica of Billy Graham’s card showing his decision for Christ in The Journey of Faith. Plan your visit today to learn more about the life and ministry of Billy Graham.

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