Franklin Graham’s Thanksgiving message: Pray for Obama
November 21st, 2012
12:11 PM ET

Franklin Graham’s Thanksgiving message: Pray for Obama

By Dan Merica, CNN
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Washington (CNN) – With the world facing “perilous times” and “anxiety stemming from economic challenges,” evangelical leader Franklin Graham is asking congregations to pray for President Barack Obama, even though Graham endorsed the president’s opponent in the 2012 election.

“Having just come through a divisive national election, I am urging pastors across this country to lead their congregations in praying daily for our president, Barack Obama …  for wisdom, Divine guidance, and that God would accomplish His will and purposes,” Graham said in a statement. “While politics is noticeably partisan, prayer must never be partisan. Americans need to come together, and people of faith should lead the way, by praying diligently for our leaders whether or not they agree with them or their policies.”

Graham - the president and CEO of the international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association - is the son of Billy Graham, the famed evangelist with many political ties. The elder Graham has met and prayed with every president since Harry Truman.

Though Franklin Graham decries political partisanship in his statement, he endorsed Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.

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After meeting with Romney at the elder Graham’s home in Montreat, North Carolina, Franklin Graham gave a full-throated endorsement of Romney in a USA Today opinion piece.  Billy Graham appeared in full-page ads in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other newspapers, calling on voters to cast a ballot for their faith.

"As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last,” reads the ad, which features Graham prominently. "I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God."

Many saw the ad as an endorsement of Romney due to its timing, but Franklin Graham insists the ad was not a formal endorsement of Romney, rather an endorsement of biblical values.

During an editorial meeting last week with CNN, Franklin Graham made the case that America was at a crossroads, especially economically. In the meeting, Graham said he thinks America’s economic doldrums could be God’s way of sending a message about the nation’s growing secularization - and about what Graham sees as its increasing immorality.

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Graham’s view is connected to his view of American exceptionalism, which revolves around the idea of a special relationship between God and the United States. “God has blessed the United States of America more than any other nation on this earth,” Graham said. “But we’ve turned our back on God as a nation and it’s sad, and I believe that his hand of blessing could slowly be removed from this country. We need to repent.”

Graham made the same sort of economic message in his call to prayer.

“When we look at the moral and economic decline of our nation and the international threats before us, it should be clear that we cannot solve these monumental problems without the help of Almighty God,” he said. “Our future may very well depend on our prayers.”

- CNN’s Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Billy Graham • Mitt Romney • Politics

soundoff (1,158 Responses)
  1. Kindness

    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    I Accepted Jesus christ as my lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners. Even once we are saved by christs merciful grace we will still experience adversity to mold us to adhering to the truth.
    We will slip... But not fall of the ship ...carrying us onward to perfection in christs grace.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from some other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith ....above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read romans or corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are by faith above reason in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
    And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
    The, looking in, I saw upon the floor
    Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
    “How many anvils have you had,” said I,
    “To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
    “Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
    “The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
    And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
    For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
    Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
    The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.

    Truth is..exclusive

    November 24, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Jesus freaker

      Read 'Jesus, Interupted' by Bart Ehrman.

      November 24, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Jesus Christ

      @ kindne...."Truth is...exclusive." Perhaps, but insanity obviously isn't.

      November 24, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  2. MaryM

    Time to tax these Churches and Preachers that think they can become political mouthpieces

    November 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • nope


      November 24, 2012 at 4:46 am |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    November 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  4. Atheism is healthy for children and other living things

    Mr. Graham would like back his seat in the WH like his daddy now that it is certain who will be in charge the next 4 years !

    November 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  5. Pravda

    Obama's questionable win, (150 counties, tens of thousands of voters voting solely for Obama, yeah right) and racist back voters (95% blacks voted for him) has fractured America even further than it was during his first 4 year term. Cudos to the Grahams in trying to return faith to America and praying for a president who most Christians can not stand. Maybe there will be healing and restoration in this land.

    November 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • End Religion

      @pravda: yours is a most preposterous position. There won't be healing until you STOP with the absurdly unnecessary and barbaric ideals of racism. There isn't a single questionable thing about Obama's win. There isn't even a "hanging chad" recount. Romney suffered a massive electoral loss.

      November 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Actions have consequences, @Pravda. You are reaping the consequences of the same mentality that fought to keep slavery legal and blacks segregated. The country was far more "fractured" during the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement than it is today. Let go of your fear and embrace reality. Blacks are not your enemy. They may looks different than you, but they are Americans. The Americans have spoken. Obama is President. Faith doesn't win elections. Prayer doesn't win elections. If you want to win an election, get off of your knees, stop your fantasizing about a super being magically changing votes and go out and convince people your candidate is the better choice.

      November 23, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  6. GodFreeNow

    I find this whole "praying for you" to be insulting. If you want to pray for me fine... Just keep it to yourself.

    This first became offensive to me when I lived through the earthquake and tsunami in Ja.pan. So many people offered support and financial help and it was wonderful. But then there was this group of people that were saying "pray for Ja.pan." Don't pray. Do something practical, like send money, or volunteer.

    Telling people you're praying for someone is just an excuse to not do anything of value. It makes you feel better about yourself and ease your conscience because you get to do something that doesn't put you out too much. It's like saying Happy Anniversary and not buying flowers.

    If you want to spend your time praying for someone, that's your business. Keep it that way.

    November 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  7. aaron

    Respect for the Grahams has vanished for many of us. They make their church political, uncult the Mormons, back Romney, then FG is praying for Obama after he wins. What an un-Christian crock.

    November 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • dove

      exactly when it suited him he said Mormonism was not a cult what next. Religious leaders should stay away from politics....Jesus said of the face on the coin render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's to God the things that are God's

      November 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Dr. Rodgers

      Portland, OR Aaron, I suggest that you realize that so-called Followers of the Lord Jesus have been battering each other for many certuries, sometimes with the intent to kill. That is why I decided, about l954, so cast off my sincere beliefs in Christianity. I have never and will never retrieve my decision which liberated me from the weight of this vicious nonsense! d

      I recall attending, at my father's demannd, the Billy Graham "revival services" just north of Salem. It was a lasting impression on a boy's mind to observe adults writhing in the sawdust in the main building and my father's earnest efforts to
      retrieve his "old time" conservative east Texan faith "in the Lord." It was agonizing to witness his passionate efforts to respond to the "altar call" Mr. Graham issued after a sermon punctuated with his fist pounding his copy of the bible!

      November 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  8. Miss Demeanor

    Many are called but few are chosen. Foisting the belief that an entire nation should be Christian is at odds with what Jesus had in mind. It is the dogma of a cult that focuses purely on body-counts. Their mission is the same as any CEO: let the profit motive (greed) be your guide. That is also why the cult is notorious for filling people with fear: "You do what we say (which unsurprisingly includes forking over 10% of what you earn) OR you'll be tormented for eternity... but you're free to choose." Coercing people with fear is not what Jesus intended. Going for the biggest numbers is the opposite of what he intended. This is a money-grubbing, power-abusing cult. They are free to practice their beliefs but making themselves the self-appointed "America's Preachers" would make our country's founders vomit.

    November 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • seen the light

      Agreed. Billy has always been a shameless self-promoter. Apparently the self-appointed "Presidential Pastor" (that Harry Truman saw through and sleazy politicians like Nixon used for political gain) has seen the light and admitted that perhaps he got too involved in politics. His son Franklin hasn't.Franklin has seen the money. Typical for a cult with the "biggest church in town" mentality...

      November 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Misty eyes

      Those self-appointed "America's Pastors" would make Jesus sick too. Raking in the big bucks, packing in the stadiums, telling everyone gawwwwwd intends for them to drive pimped-out limo's ... yeah, the J man would endorse that. Sure.

      November 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  9. eville11

    Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle

    November 23, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • eville11

      Graham just repeated Geaorge Washington's farewell speech.

      November 23, 2012 at 8:06 am |
  10. Elmer

    He now says that people who say men can become Gods (Mormons) are Christians- I think we need to pray for Franklin Graham, not Obama.

    November 23, 2012 at 5:32 am |
    • BU2B

      We need to stop talking to ourselves and pretending it's to "god".

      November 23, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Lionel

      Amen to that...

      November 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • CosmicC

      No, no, NO! How many times do I have to say this. His Noodly Goodness, the FSM, demands that we end appellations with "ramen", not "amen".

      November 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  11. robert

    I guess if you can't beat em, join em.

    November 23, 2012 at 4:20 am |
  12. scamtannehill

    The last thing Obama needs is that lush to pray for him. The only prayer he knows is "In God We Trust"
    His Anti Semite Daddy taught him that one.

    November 23, 2012 at 3:47 am |
  13. GodsPeople

    I'm praying the communist Kenyan muslim will be impeached and imprisoned for fraud.

    November 23, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • robert

      That's exactly the kind of ignorance, intolerance and bigotry we've come to expect from you god botherers. It's a joke when you christian types try to claim that you've got the inside track on morality when people like you demonstrate a complete lack of morality.

      November 23, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • Mirosal

      And just what kind of "fraud" would you indict him on?? Be specific.

      November 23, 2012 at 4:22 am |
    • Thatguy371

      Typical baseless, ignorant statement from yet another delusional rightie. The message of this article is one of tolerance... something Jesus taught... yet you can't seem to get past your insane level of intolerance. AND you have the audacity to claim you are one of 'Gods People'. Disgusting.

      November 23, 2012 at 5:03 am |
    • Vickie

      You shoul not call yourself Gods People, it should be Satan follower. God does not teach his people to hate one another.
      What fraud did the President commit? You people need to get over the fact that real intelligent people voted for the President and you ignorant fools did not .

      November 23, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Lionel

      I am praying that all the Republican haters and Bigots go to hell...

      November 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • JC

      You are ignorant of facts and believe whatever you have been fed from Faux news and the far right.

      November 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • its on you

      Glenda Beck incites hatred like this: "don't let muslim commies build a mosque in Tennessee, but do it with 'love' "... so if some over-zealous 'loving' minion commits a violent act, Glenda can claim he is innocent. Well, Glenda can make a fortune from these easily misled simple folks (his fault, not theirs) but the right-wing fundamentalist Patriotic Christian mob is like any other mob. Telling people that killin' communists or killin' 'ungodly islamists' is what gawwwwwwd wants America to do so they can unite their mob with hatred is an ageless tactic used by monsters like Hitler. It's on you Glenda.

      November 24, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • sam stone

      Aww, did you candidate lose? Are you having a hissy fit?

      November 26, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  14. David

    Jesus was a liberal who believed in helping the poor and when asked how to get to Heaven, he told the guy to sell all of his possesions and give the money to the poor. Definitely not a Republican.

    November 23, 2012 at 3:11 am |
    • galaxy101

      IHow many xtians do you know of that have actually given up their all their wealth and riches as instructed in their holy book ? I, myself, have never met one. Another clear cut basis of their hypocrisy.

      November 23, 2012 at 5:41 am |
    • Lionel

      @David – Right on, you hit it on the head.

      @galaxy – many folks have done it. We do not carry our riches with us when we die.

      November 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • dove

      oh my well said

      November 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  15. michael in houston

    Shut up Graham. You and your father both made clear who and what you are when you came out endorsing Romney. Both of you should have held your political tongue and said nothing. But you didn't. You are a right wing evangelical before you are anything else. Not to mention a huge disappointment to many of us who have supported your ministry for decades.

    November 23, 2012 at 3:07 am |
    • Thatguy371

      He's speaking a message of tolerance. Are you not bright enough to 'get it'? Apparently not.

      November 23, 2012 at 5:04 am |
    • Lionel

      @ThatGuy - you are one who does not get it. Where was Graham's prayers for Obama before the election? He clearly violated the separation of Church and State during the election and now he wants to pander up. So there...

      November 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Lionel

      I am no longer supporting the Samarian's purse charity. I did not know that these fools run it.

      They clearly violated the separation of church and state during the election.

      Their charity and tax-free exemption should be revoked.

      November 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  16. Earthling

    Praying will have no effect whatsoever. Imagination is just exactly that – imagination and nothing else. Try doing something here in the real world, like telling your secessionist friends to wake up and smell the coffee.

    November 23, 2012 at 3:06 am |
  17. RBSG


    November 23, 2012 at 2:25 am |
  18. Hereafter

    I have to admit it has been hard to pray for O as I can't see anything I can agree with him on, but I am glad we have men like Billy and Franklin Graham that do and remind us to stand up and do the right thing, the christ like thing. Praying for those that rule over us. Jesus said to pray even for our enemy, Paul had a hard time he lived during Nero's reign, I have no doubt he prayed for him. Not sure if it will help or change O but it will make/show us we are children of our Father.

    November 23, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Tris

      Don't you agree women should be paid equally for their labor? Don't you think education is worth saving? How about things like Medicare that help the aged; FEMA, unemployment benefits, Big Bird, universal health care – like other advanced nations have, how about preventing the auto industry from disappearing and the world economy from collapsing? How can you say you can't find anything Obama stands for that you agree with? I hope you're at least not one of those that think the earth is only 6k years old.

      November 23, 2012 at 2:03 am |
    • Dorothy

      I'm sure Obama prays for you and the likes of Billy and Franklin Graham even though he doesn't agree with your ilk of "christianity." He knows its the right thing to do even with their unfortunate interpretation of Holy Scripture.

      November 23, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • Tris

      So, if Jesus said to pray even for our enemy, how come you can't pray for Obama? Seems soft of hypocritical not to.

      November 23, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • Thatguy371

      It's simply ignorant to say you can't find anything to like in Obama. Read what Tris said, then say that. Obviously your view of reality is non-existent, since you are obviously getting your 'news' and 'opinions' from fictional sources. Maybe you need to ditch the rightie radio and Faux, wake up, and discover the way things really are?

      November 23, 2012 at 5:08 am |
    • Calypso

      Tris, when is the White House going to pay their female employees as well as their male employees?

      November 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  19. Tris

    There's nothing inherently wrong with religion; it's the followers that scare me. Especially those on the right. Look, if I pray really hard that the Dodgers win the Series, and you pray just a little for the Yankees, do you think god really cares? If I pray for Obama to succeed and you pray for him to fall on his butt, do you think god will listen to either of us? Get real; there is no god, just a belief – why do you think it's called a FAITH and not a FACT? The world would be far better off if religion ceased to exist; just do the right thing (at least most of the time) and we'd all be happier, more content and probably healthier, too.

    November 23, 2012 at 1:48 am |
  20. kb

    Religion was created to manipulate the masses. What happen to the separation between the church and goverment?

    November 23, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • Hereafter

      I thought that was the reason for the creation of politics.

      November 23, 2012 at 1:52 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.