GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
Interesting Answers To Prayer
By Keith L. Estes
In 1962 Billy Graham was beginning his South American crusade. Preparation had been made and one of the countries he was to enter was Paraguay. Unfortunately however, there was strong opposition from other sources in Paraguay. These opponents clearly had considerable influence, even trying to force the local press to boycott. In fact, the only person who showed up for the scheduled press conference was a radio technician who came to run a tape recorder; not a single reporter was there. The technician turned his tape recorder on, however, and Billy answered questions about the Crusade posed by members of the local committee. Two radio stations carried the interview later.
Those opposing the Crusade were organizing a massive counterdemonstration just a few blocks from the outdoor soccer stadium where the meetings were being held. That demonstration, designed for popular appeal-with everything from a parade of 15,000 students in the afternoon to a gigantic free music and folk-dancing festival-was scheduled to start at 7:00 P.M., half an hour before our closing rally was due to begin. Needless to say, this caused a great deal of consternation among the supporters of the Crusade. They all redoubled their prayers.
Lee, Grady, and Billy, who were rooming together in a hotel, had a lot of prayer about the meeting that night. Suddenly, without warning, a storm came up just out of nowhere. It was so fierce that it broke the glass doors in the hotel room, sending shattered pieces all over the room and forcing Billy and the others into the farthest corner to ride out the vicious winds.
The local Crusade committee had already blanketed the city with leaflets and posters advertising both the Crusade with Joe Blinco and the closing meeting, at which Billy was to speak. In response, the counterdemonstration printed several hundred thousand leaflets advertising their evening festival, to be dropped over the city from airplanes that afternoon. But just as the planes were being loaded, the storm, with hail and winds clocked at ninety miles an hour, perhaps including a tornado, unexpectedly hit the city of 300,000, uprooting trees and knocking out electrical power, it also scattered the people who were beginning to assemble and destroyed preparations at the festival site, damaging even the statue of the Virgin Mary that had been brought out of the cathedral for the parade. The planes themselves were damaged and would have been unable to take off even had the storm let up in time, and the leaflets were drenched beyond reclamation.
But by five o'clock the sun was out again, and as the time approached for the meeting, electrical power was restored to the arena. In spite of the fact that some roads were blocked by fallen trees, several thousand people came. The local committee felt that God had answered their prayers in a decisive and unmistakable way.
It was the first time that an evangelical meeting had been held on public property in Paraguay's five hundred years of history. The next day it was reported that the airport looked like a war zone. The government imposed a curfew on the city to prevent looting.
On another occasion in 1970, when President Johnson was out of office, he and Billy were driving all over his ranch, as usual, raising dust because of a long dry spell. "Billy," he said, "how about offering a little prayer for rain?" Billy took him seriously and prayed briefly. No sooner had he finished than a couple drops hit the windshield. In minutes it was raining so hard that the former President stopped the car and turned to him again. "Billy, we're “gonna” have a flood! I've got two pumps down in the river that are “gonna” wash away! See if you can't stop it!" Billy laughed and assured him it was out of his hands.
James 5:16 "The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
Reference: Just As I Am, By Billy Graham, Harper Collins Pub. 10 East 53rd St. New York, N.Y. 10022. Used by permission.