Pennsylvanians Vow to do ‘Whatever God Wants’ to Help Change America
By Cicely Gosier , Billy Graham Evangelistic Association On September 20, 2016
Speaking to a crowd of thousands in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, Franklin Graham urged those listening to "wake up" and take a bold stand for Christ.
By the busload.
That's how a good chunk of Thursday's Decision America prayer rally attendees got to the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg.
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The 44th stop of Franklin Graham's tour to every state capital drew an impressive crowd of 7,200, and there weren't many who came alone-or with less than 10 people for that matter.
Teri Black and her husband Don were among a group of 50 from the Pittsburgh area. The two own Cornerstone Television, a Christian TV network based in Pennsylvania, and felt God challenging them in a similar way as Franklin Graham.
Earlier this year, they posed four questions:
- Does prayer matter?
- Is fasting relevant?
- Should Christians vote?
- Is God done with America?
"The responses were phenomenal. So, we asked God, 'What can we do?'" Don recalled.
For them, the answer came in the form of their "In God We Trust" campaign. Similar to Franklin Graham's goal of uniting Christians to "pray, vote and engage" this election season through the Decision America Tour-Teri and Don have been challenging their viewers to "pray, fast and vote."
Their goal: to get 1 million Christians who didn't vote in the last presidential election to do so this time around.
"If we could motivate a million to consider going to vote and do it, and vote the way God told them to vote, we will consider this a supernatural campaign," Don said.
After attending Thursday's Decision America rally, the Cornerstone TV crew held a mini rally of their own under a few trees on the Capitol Lawn to specifically pray for their community and local needs.
"We need a spiritual revival," Teri said, referring to her concerns for Pennsylvania. "Politically, there's a disconnect of what our needs are versus what's actually happening. Our school systems are failing. We have rising crime ... It's similar to what's taking place everywhere [in America]."
"We need to have godly men and women in office," she continued. "We really need God, and we feel like God has really been put off."
A glimpse of hope came at Thursday's rally. One of the Blacks' ministry partners who attended the event with them shared her encounter with a viewer over the phone.
"She spoke with a lady who's 65 and never voted but is now committed to vote in the upcoming election," Don said. "When she went to go and try to register, she said the backup to register to vote in Pittsburgh is the biggest they've ever had.
"I think that's a good thing!" Don said.
"This is bigger than what I realized," Teri added, referring to what it was like being at the Decision America prayer rally. "We're making a stand. It's a spiritual breaking and unveiling that's happening."
Lord Send Me
Dale Stutler rode about three hours to the rally with a bus of 52 people. He, too, felt challenged by Franklin Graham's message in Harrisburg-especially his call for Christians to run for office and encourage others to do the same.
"Every one of you-you could probably run for something and win," Franklin Graham told the crowd. "Every level, you can do it!"
Dale, whose son wanted to get involved in politics at one point, hasn't always had a good view of the profession.
But after hearing Franklin Graham's words, "I said, 'Lord, I'm guilty,'" Dale admitted.
"When my son wanted to run, I told him, 'Oh no, you better think twice.' Now, I'm going to call him and apologize," Dale said.
"If God wants you in politics, get in politics," he continued, later adding that he'd even run for office if he felt the nudge.
Dale and his wife, Patricia, were missionaries in South Africa for decades before retiring in 2006.
"God allowed me to see a move of the Holy Spirit," he said with tears in his eyes. "I hope he'll allow me to see that in America, too."
With a passion for missions work still driving his worldview, Dale had mixed feelings about the Pennsylvania Decision America prayer rally.
"In a way, it's heartening that there are many who came to pray-they responded," he explained. "But it's also disheartening. There should be a million people here from this state. There should be more.
"This is too critical of a time in our nation to stand aside."
At 75, Dale still sees himself as someone God can use. From singing in the choir at two Billy Graham Crusades and reaching remote tribes in Africa to now teaching Sunday school at a senior citizen home and working with teens at his church-the will has always been there.
"I just feel I have to do something, or else, what kind of Christian am I?" he said.
So, what's next for Dale? "Whatever God wants me to do," he said with a smile.
"It has to begin somewhere. It has to begin with me."
(c) Billy Graham Evangelistic Association www.billygraham.org