In 1988, Rev. Billy Graham gave the benediction at both the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention. Today, as the Democratic National Convention opens in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we are sharing the words from Rev. Graham, 32 years ago at the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia:
Our Father and our God, we pause in the middle of this great political convention to acknowledge our dependence upon You and to seek your wisdom and direction in all that is done during these days.
We thank You for what You have given us as a nation and as a people.
We thank You for all the ideals that made America great.
We thank You for our spiritual roots. We recall with gratitude the words from the Bible which are inscribed on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and all the inhabitants thereof.”
We also thank You for our political system and for this convention which illustrates the process of democracy at work.
Our Father, you’ve given us so much but with it you have given us great responsibilities as you have stated in the Scriptures: For to whomever much is given of him much shall be required.
We remember the words of President Kennedy in his speech on that fateful day in Dallas that he was going to give. He was going to quote Jesus Christ who said, “For what shall it profit a man or a nation if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul.”
We’ve been guilty of bowing down to the false gods of materialism and sensual pleasure. We’re in danger of losing our souls.
We pray for a moral and spiritual awakening that will sweep from coast to coast. May we seek above all else the Kingdom of God and this awakening could begin in this convention as we turn in repentance and faith to You.
We realize that political solutions alone can never solve the complex problems that our world faces. We look upon a world in desperate need economically, morally and spiritually. We see wars in many parts of the world and famine and crime and corruption and greed. We’re battling against the invasion of new terrifying diseases such as AIDS and Lyme and above all, drugs.
O God, forgive us and deliver us.
We pray for those who live on the knife-edge of survival because of starvation, poverty, illiteracy and disease. We pray for all those who are the victims of injustice, terrorism, violence, persecution and ignorance.
We pray especially for those who will be nominated for president and vice president of the United States. We pray for the American people and their leaders during the coming weeks of the campaign and the election. We pray that though this process the people of your choice will be elected.
Teach us that there can be no true liberty without integrity; no equality without equity; no true judgment without social justice; no courage without compassion; no peace without repentance and no future without faith.
And as Kate Smith so beautifully sang for so many years, we pray now God bless America, God bless America, God bless America.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Will you join us in praying for the attendees and participants in the 2020 Democratic National Convention; for the law enforcement, first responders, essential services, and community members as they prepare for events surrounding the convention; and for peace in the city of Milwaukee for the duration of the convention?