Eisenhower: The First President to Ask for Billy Graham’s Counsel

“Eisenhower was the first President that really asked my counsel,” said Mr. Graham.


During Billy’s early years in ministry, he slowly got more and more involved with governing authorities. Graham had prayed with President Truman in 1950, but it wasn’t until he met Eisenhower that he was asked to assume his unofficial role of “pastor to the presidents.”

Eisenhower had asked for Graham’s counsel at many points in his presidency. “I think one of the reasons I was elected was to help lead this country spiritually,” he told Graham. “We need a spiritual renewal.”

The president was encouraged by Graham to seek the Lord’s guidance. He prayed his own prayer at his inaugural address in 1953, and soon after assuming office proclaimed a national day of prayer. He kept in contact with Graham, and asked him to visit again in 1955. Graham said he prayed the whole drive, asking God to help him say the right thing. During their visit, the president addressed matters of faith.

“‘Billy, do you believe in Heaven?’ he asked.

‘Yes, sir, I do.’

‘Give me your reasons.’

With my New Testament open, I gave the President a guided tour through the Scriptures that spoke of the future life.”

—Billy Graham, “Just As I Am”

Years down the road, Graham met with Eisenhower at Walter Reed hospital a few months before the president passed away. Graham recalls the conversation in his autobiography, “Just As I Am”:

“As my scheduled twenty minutes with him extended to thirty, he asked the doctor and nurses to leave us. Propped up on pillows amidst intravenous tubes, he took my hand and looked into my eyes. ‘Billy, you’ve told me how to be sure my sins are forgiven and that I’m going to Heaven. Would you tell me again?’

I took out my New Testament and read to him the familiar Gospel verses, the precious promise of God about eternal life. Then, my hand still in his, I prayed briefly.

‘Thank you,’ he said. ‘I’m ready.'”

To see more stories on Graham during his early years in ministry, visit here.


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  1. John Carr says:

    Thanks for this as a reminder for me as I am nearing the age that Psalm 90:10 says we start fading away-80.
    John T. carr

  2. Travis Phillips says:

    I really wish we were living in a day again where president’s ask pastors for spiritual guidance as well as answers to the issues they face. I thank God also there were men like Billy who stepped up and said; thus saith the Lord.

  3. Anthony Fischer says:

    I just lost my wife, 53 years old, after 27 years of marriage. I just don’t know to deal with her loss.
    I pray she is in a better place.

    1. bglibrary says:

      We are so sorry to hear about your loss. Here are some resources that might help. May the words comfort and encourage you: https://billygraham.org/grow-your-faith/topics/crisis-situations/grief/

  4. Sharon says:

    Thank You for this story. My eyes watered up as I read it. It stirs my heart to know even a president wants to know how to get to heaven and he embraced it.

    1. Joyce Porter says:

      Is it any wonder many people today would like to go back to the 50’s when a President of the United States asked for spiritual guidance and wanted to know the way to be saved? I was saved at a Billy Graham movie and am so glad President Eisenhower was led to salvation by Billy Graham too!

  5. Lori says:

    Looking forward this year to celebrating Billy’s 100th year through stories shared here. God bless you, Franklin as you come to CA with the Gospel message. Praying for you also, Anne, with your vibrant speaking schedule. Blessings on all Graham family.

  6. Raja chintapalli says:

    Great testimony. I want exactly to say “I am ready” before I go.

  7. Renee M. Robles Burrell says:

    Thank you for your great service Mr. Graham, you
    will be greatly missed. With all of our Love to you
    and your family.

  8. Joe and Wanda McClung says:

    Wanda and I were so sorry to hear of Billy’s passing. What a man of God! We loved him. We spoke just the other night that we were glad Billy was still living. There will never be another like him. He has seen his Lord and also Ruth.

    Please express to the Graham family our sorrow and that we will be praying for them.

    Joe and Wanda McClung

  9. Mary Frances Holland says:

    I love that Billy Graham helped Oral Roberts dedicate Oral Roberts University. I appreciate Rev. Graham’s integrity and I am so thankful for his love and message of the gospel of Jesus Christ that will be passed on to generations!

  10. walter Jawors Jr. says:

    Thank You Billy your home now , and what you many others will see there true home with Jesus

  11. Sandra Wann says:

    In 1963, as a senior in high school, at a local Billy Graham sponsored crusade in my small town, I sang in the choir and fell in love with the hymn How Great Thou Art, and gave my heart and life to Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Although I grew up in a Christian home, and my parents were faithful this changed my life. I still serve my Master in my church, telling the stories of Jesus.

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