(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Billy Graham’s Christian journey began when he was a teenager. Since then, the evangelist and author has traveled around the world encouraging others to follow Christianity. Here, he uses Scripture and experiences from his own life to describe how individuals can successfully traverse the paths of life. According to Graham, birth marks the beginning of an individual’s journey, a journey initiated by God. All events between birth and death, no matter how small, are part of God’s plan for the individual’s happiness and sense of purpose. The journey is filled with both happy and difficult times, but God will support travelers who listen, obey, and put their complete faith and trust in him. Even if individuals have traveled the wrong path for most of their lives, God urges them to choose a new path, an often unpopular path that eventually leads to eternal life with him.

Graham states that there are several requirements for enduring the journey: spiritual maturity, discipleship, and effectual prayer. Spiritual maturity comes through faith, and faith increases when one spends time reading and reflecting on the infallible word of God. Discipleship requires both commitment and discipline. A disciple is one who learns from God’s still voice and from his words as recorded in the Bible. A disciple also follows and serves despite encountering numerous disappointments and hardships, for the disciple understands that spiritual conflict, the battle between good and evil, exists in our world. Christians can garner strength during difficult times by getting closer to God through prayer and meditation and through fellowship and worship with other Christians. Prayer allows Christians to express their needs as well as their thanks and praise to God and to confess wrongdoings. Grahams’s guidelines for learning to pray are “have the right attitude, seek God’s will in your prayers, bring everything to God in prayer, learn to pray at all times, and in all situations, trust God for the outcome, and learn to listen.”

The Holy Spirit speaks to Christians through prayer, convicts them of their sins, gives them new birth, and helps them become more like...

(The entire section is 885 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

Apel, William D. “The Lost World of Billy Graham.” Review of Religious Research 20, no. 2 (Spring, 1979): 138-149. Apel argues that Billy Graham’s cosmology, or knowledge of the nature of the universe, is largely influenced by revivalists, particularly Dwight L. Moody; notions of the American dream; and understandings of connections between existentialism and Christianity. Apel focuses on Graham’s belief in a hopeless world and Christ’s inevitable second coming.

Drummond, Lewis A. The Evangelist: The Worldwide Impact of Billy Graham. Nashville, Tenn.: Word, 2001. Drummond places Billy Graham’s ministry and his life in historical perspective while describing his invaluable legacy.

Eskridge, Larry. “’One Way’: Billy Graham, the Jesus Generation, and the Idea of an Evangelical Youth Culture.” Church History 67 (March, 1998): 83-106. Eskridge describes Graham’s influence on and participation in the Jesus Movement of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Using his dealings with his own rebellious son, Franklin Graham, Billy Graham tried to exert patience and understanding when ministering to American youth. He also found ways to use youth and popular culture in his ministry to help lead young adults to declare Jesus Christ as their savior.

Myra, Harold, and Marshall Shelley. The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2005. The authors maintain that Billy Graham, one of the few internationally known evangelists who have advised presidents and preached to billions, also has impressive business savvy. Graham served as chief executive officer of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for more than fifty years and established several Christian magazines, youth organizations, and humanitarian efforts. Myra and Shelley scrutinize Graham’s faith-based leadership qualities and practices so that others might use their findings to help them improve their own leadership potential.