Cliff Barrows: A Singing Faith

For more than 65 years, The Hour of Decision and Hour of Decision Online radio programs opened with the cheerful voice of Cliff Barrows.

Listen as Billy Graham Radio pays tribute to Mr. Barrows, who passed away on Nov. 15, 2016.

Mr. Barrows life and ministry are being celebrated at the Billy Graham Library through a special display “A Singing Faith” through January 31, 2017.

Cliff Barrows recording The Hour of Decision Radio Program, late 1950s.

This post was first published in 2013 to celebrate Cliff Barrows’ 90th birthday.

Rejoicing Always
After 90 active years, Barrows admits his body isn’t as resilient as it once was. It’s a reality faced by countless others as they navigate the difficult process of aging.

What sets Barrows apart is his joyful spirit. While many seniors allow growing old to steal their joy, Barrows will not be moved. A sense of deep gratitude permeates his spirit. He said it all goes back to believing, claiming, and continually reciting God’s promises.

“Expectancy is a great word,” Barrows said. “Expect great things from God.”

Barrows encourages seniors to read and think about Jesus’ promise of heaven, found in John 14:1-2.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (NKJV)

“And boy that brings great comfort,” Barrows said. “And that’s how believers, in the midst of grief, in the midst of loss, even the loss of a loved one, can know that Jesus is there. He said, ‘I will never leave thee or forsake thee.’”

While Barrows’ words are heavily seasoned with Scripture, he also finds much joy in music. Familiar hymns are continually on the tip of his tongue. Some, he recites. Others, he can’t help but sing out loud.

A candid capture from 1984 of Cliff Barrows (L), Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea (R) singing "This Little Light of Mine" as they sometimes did together. Watch a video of the trio singing.
A candid capture from 1984 of Cliff Barrows (L), Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea (R) singing “This Little Light of Mine” as they sometimes did together. Watch a video of the trio singing.

“There is joy in serving Jesus, every moment, every day,” he sang, before seamlessly transitioning to Scripture.

“The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

Then it’s back to music, as Barrows cheerfully recites another favorite song.

“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!” he exclaims. “A song brings joy to your heart. My mother taught me, and I thank God for her. She taught me to memorize the hymn book and the Psalms and repeat them over and over, and I do that at night.”

Psalm 42:11 is a favorite — one that keeps him from being discouraged when the going gets tough.

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God.” (NLT)


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  1. Alice Armstrong says:

    As a teenager in Greenville, SC, I greatly enjoyed the “Teen Squash” gatherings hosted by Cliff’s daughter Bonnie Barrows at their family’s home on Paris Mountain. In 1966/67, Bonnie was our Wade Hampton High School student body president. She was a wonderful leader and a source of inspiration to me. I especially loved watching the Billy Graham movies during those meetings. My father, Jim Armstrong, was a pastor whose first church was in Greenville. (He became a pastor as a result of his decision for Christ made during a crusade.) He passed away on Nov. 3, 2016. He was a joyful, spirit-filled man who also loved to sing. I like to picture him as part of that heavenly choir assembled to greet Cliff for his own homecoming later that month.

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