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Graham daughter: Prayer, not politics

Author and speaker Anne Graham Lotz in Washington, D.C., on May 4, 2016. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

WASHINGTON (RNS) Author and speaker Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, has been named chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force.

The announcement on Thursday (May 5) means that three of the most well-known evangelical women will have led the organization, which promotes the annual event.

Lotz follows Shirley Dobson, who served in the role for 25 years, and the late Vonette Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru) with her late husband, Bill Bright.

“I feel very burdened to get people on their knees and to pray for our nation,” Lotz said at the Capitol Hill event marking the annual prayer day. “I have a burning in my heart to get people to pray.”

Lotz, 67, author of the new book, “The Daniel Prayer,” talked with Religion News Service about her faith and her family, including the recent loss of her husband of almost 50 years.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: Do you see you and your brother, Franklin Graham, as having a different emphasis on prayer for the nation ahead of the upcoming election?

A: I think he will say that he believes prayer is what will make the difference. I think he has more confidence in the political system than I do. Maybe confidence isn’t the right word, but more hope. I feel like we’re past that.

What we’re seeing right now, I believe, in our nation is confusion, fear, anger on every level. It really is evidence that God is backing way. We’re losing his favor, his blessing, and that is what grieves me, and the answer to that, if that’s so, is not a political solution, it’s not economics or military or education. The answer is — Joel 2 in the Bible says — to rend our hearts and return to God and cry out to him for his mercy. I think that’s where we are.


READ: Christians are ‘called to resist’ Trump


Q: Your husband of 49 years, Danny Lotz, died last August. How has your faith been affected by that?

A: It’s stronger. I love the Lord more, closer to him. I got married at 18. Danny’s been the center of my life since I was 17. So I’m single for the first time in 49 years and it’s very different. In fact, it’s made me aware of single people because you’re not alone but you’re on your own. So what that’s caused me to do is just lean harder on the Lord.

My husband was in such poor health; it’s a blessing for him. We miss him, my children, we just grieve together. But as soon as the pain hits us we have to say, “Thank you, Lord,” because my husband is delivered from such a difficult situation. He was very tired. He wanted to go to heaven.

Q: You call for prayers of confession, saying Christians are often “practical atheists who say we believe in God but act and speak as though he doesn’t exist.” Do you think the church is pushing people away instead of drawing them in?

A: Yes and no. I think sometimes our churches turn people away because we seem so self-righteous and judgmental and yet they see some of us doing what they’re doing, but we go to church. I think others want to be so inclusive that they’re saying anything goes and they’ve departed from the truth of Scripture and they’re compromised, and so I think the church needs revival. I’ll pull it back to election year: Evangelicals are described not by the love we have for each other or the love we have for others. We’re described as a voting bloc. That grieves me that we would be known by our politics more than our identity with Jesus.


READ: Humanists push for a National Day of Reason


Q: How is your father doing?

A: I was just up there two weekends ago. He had on this gorgeous robin’s egg blue shirt and his eyes matched, and he still has his thick white hair. He knew who I was even when I walked in and called me by name and usually he wears a headset and I talk to him through a microphone because he’s very deaf. But I said, “Daddy, I’m going to give you a kiss” — because I didn’t want to startle him — and he said, “Oh, yes, at least three.” He held out his arms and so I kissed him three times, like you do in Europe. And he’s just precious. My husband wanted to go to heaven. My father seems to be more content. I ask people to pray for him. I know the Lord has just exactly the right moment when he’s going to take him and I think it has to do with probably the world situation. He’s going to use my father’s death to maybe once again preach the gospel to the whole world, or else we’ll all go up together. I’m expecting Jesus any minute.

About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.

33 Comments

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  • I will pray, on behalf of all nations on earth, for God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:444; Matthew 4:17) to soon come and for God’s will to be done, as in heaven, also upon earth.

    We humans so need the millennial rule of that heavenly government, instead of man’s rule, to bring true peace and blessings to all meek persons on the planet (Isaiah 11:1-9; Revelation 21:3,4).

  • That kingdom was established upon Christ ascension and He rules the millennial kingdom now. All that is lacking is His final return for the consumption of His coronation.

  • Everett,

    Yes, Jesus started ruling as King of God’s kingdom. According to Bible prophecies and chronology (if you want more details, let me know), Jesus had to wait a period of time after his ascension, or until 1914, for his kingdom to be established and begin his rule as such.

    1914 is also when the “last days” of a wicked era started (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21). Jesus said preaching the good news of his kingdom would need to take place throughout the earth before the end comes (Matthew 24:14).

    However, before his Kingdom would come an start its “millennial rule,” the “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21-22) needs to take place. Then Armageddon, or God’s war against his enemies, including all the Kings of the earth, must take place (Revelation 16:14,16; 19:17-19).

    Satan and his demons also need to be abyssed during those 1,000 years (Rev. 20:1-3). Satan is still influencing the world today (1 John 5:19).

    And, as prophecied by Daniel, God’s kingdom must crush and put an end to all human governments (Daniel 2:44), replacing them, as well as all the wicked ones (Isaiah 11:4), before its peaceful rule begins (Isaiah 9:6-7).

    A number of events have not yet taken place, including the prophecy about the coming “day of God.” At that time, when they say “peace and security!,” destruction will be upon them
    (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3). That needs to be fulfilled as well.

  • Hmmm, your go to bible translation wouldn’t be the New World translation would it?

  • but sometimes the answer is no, or do it yourself, or you have it completely wrong about me, you and everything.
    and a lot of the time, people don’t listen to those answers.

  • It could have happened anyway. There are many more times where it did nothing. People dying of sickness, poverty, abuse, and nothing done about it. If prayer worked, no one would have problems because people do get desperate enough to at least pray a little.

  • Everett,

    I am; however, I have actual copies of the New World Translation, the King James Version, and the New Living Translation, which I refer to as well.

    There are a multitude of other translations available on the internet that I can access.

  • Jesus declared “My kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus died to save the repentant person from their sins, not to end war, poverty, or illness. However, those who Jesus lives within tend to avoid war when possible, help the poor and work on medical improvements.

  • Yes, sometimes “no” is the answer, because God’s will comes first. Even the Apostle Paul declared that he sought in prayer 3 different times for the “thorn” in his side to be cured, but God did not cure it.

  • ” What we’re seeing right now…is confusion, fear, anger on every level. It really is evidence that God is backing way… ”

    Is God backing away?…of course not. I will never leave you or forsake you is a far far better way of thinking and talking.

    Fundamentalists often quote 2 Chron 7:14…….Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

    In other words, if these same fundamentalists will ‘turn from their wicked ways’ of loveless attitudes and comments about others, described in Matthew 5:46 and Luke 6:35……..If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?……But love those you don’t like, and DO GOOD TO THEM…and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is loving towards all kinds of people.

    And it can be said also —

    You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men…..Matthew 5:13

    Hateful, mean-spirited and scornful public rhetoric by angry, immature, conservative, fundamentalist Christians is constantly being ‘thrown out’ and ‘trampled on’ by all sorts of mature minded folks who simply know better.

  • He wanted us to bring the kingdom of God to earth, not to another place. They still thought of the universe as three-tiered. We know that’s not true now. They thought heaven was just above us. Jesus’ mission was to end those things on earth. Fundamentalist Christians love war and refuse some medical advances. Jesus doesn’t live in them.

  • Fran,

    Anything that claims to be heavenly government is always a con. How do feel about the most prominent one around right now, Iran? Sudan has just got through killing a million or so people in the name of their Godly revolution. How do you feel about them?

    You’re better off voting for somebody who can and will do things that serve you, rather than for the folks claiming they speak for some god. Really. Didn’t you listen in civics class?

    -dlj.

  • Can we at least be clear about the Campus Crusade for Christ? They are a hard right political faction travelling under the pretense of spreading a religion.

    A reminder that John Birch, who had nothing to do with the society named after him, was a blundering Kuomintang propagandist who probably really thought he was doing God’s work. Actually he was doing Chiang Kai Shek’s.

    -dlj.

  • David,

    God’s kingdom or heavenly government is the theme of the entire Bible from Genesis (Genesis 3:15) to Revelation (Rev. 21:3,4). The only cons I see are man’s governments, (usually corrupt, selfish and greedy) which don’t have the love, nor the power, to solve all of man’s problems on their own. Just look at human history/governing throughout the ages! I’ve been around for over 60 years and have seen their depressing results!

    Concerning man’s governments like Iran and Sudan, who have killed millions “in the name of religion,” (false religion at that!) even all those since the First World War and until now… God’s government will bring those dead in the memorial tombs back to life on earth throughout its upcoming millennial rule (John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15). That’s something NO human government can or ever will do! My “vote” will always go to God’s government, man’s only hope for the future! I have never voted for man’s governments and never will!

  • The kingdom of God is within, which is where the Holy Spirit lives, in those who have surrendered their all to Him. He will not bring the future kingdom on earth until the present world is destroyed with fire.

  • Seabeacon,

    Yahweh directed ancient Israel to take possession of the land he designated as their inheritance and to execute people whose depraved practices and defiance of him caused Yahweh to view them as no longer being fit to live (Deut. 7:1,2,5; 9:5; Lev. 18:24,25),

    Nevertheless, mercy was shown to Rahab and to the Gibeonites because they showed faith in Yahweh (Josh. 2:9-13; 9:24-27).

    In the Law Covenant, Yahweh laid down rules for warfare that he approved, stipulating exemptions and manner in which warfare was to be carried out. Such were truly holy wars of Yahweh; which is not true of carnal warfare of any nation now.

  • The Hebrews wanted monotheism and made worshiping the gods that people previously worshiped a crime. Theocracies never work. It breeds tyranny and violence. Ugh. Ordering people to kill every man, woman and child and killing people for touching the wrong thing is horrible. Yahweh the war deity only causes more wrath.

  • If God lives in you, you will have not doubt about that. If you do not know for certain, then likely not in you.

  • The Hebrews knew there was only one God they should serve, Yahweh or Jehovah (Psalm 83:18), who created all things. There were times they were faithful to him, as well as other times they were not. In those cases, he would send prophets, such as Elijah, so that they would turn back to him and be blessed (1 Kings, chapter 18).

    As to other nations, who served other gods, they proved to be immoral, cruel and bloodthirsty. Worship to Baal included male and female prostitutes, as well as offering children as sacrifices through fire. Others would hang people just by their hands, blind people with red-hot irons or bore out eyes with spears or daggers. Ugh! Not a very meek group of people!

    I am not a Hebrew or Jew, but I will always defend and honor Yahweh or Jehovah, the only true God, who is perfect in love, mercy and justice, and not false gods and idols who cannot even talk.

  • Knew? No, they still believed in other gods when it suited them. Whenever Moses left, the Hebrews resorted to Baal worship when they needed something Yahweh couldn’t provide. That’s why monotheism doesn’t work well. Gods have always had their specific purpose limited to just a few things. Yahweh was a war deity and Baal was a storm and fertility god. No one would use a war god for fertility and vice versa.

  • I see no scriptures that say if you not speak in tongues you are not saved. However, Paul clearly stated that by the end of the Apostolic age, tongues and other gifts would cease.

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