Given the opportunity to assist the Rev. Billy Graham with his autobiography, “Just As I Am,” author Jerry Jenkins wanted readers to be uplifted and motivated by the memoir. Through his travels with Graham, he himself became inspired by a man who lived his life sold out for Jesus Christ. Sitting in Graham’s office, Jenkins struck up a conversation with the evangelist, noting how people often view him as a protestant pope. Upon hearing these words, Graham reacted in a way that left the writer utterly speechless.
“[Graham] said, ‘When I think of the number of times that I have failed the Lord, I feel this low,’” Jenkins recalled. “And he reached out of his chair and put his hand flat on the floor.”
Jenkins, co-author of the best-selling Left Behind series with Tim LaHaye (a loyal supporter of Liberty University), spoke to students at Friday’s convocation, sharing anecdotes of moments where God made him humble.
After entertaining the crowd with funny stories, Jenkins reminisced about his experiences with Graham, telling of the evangelist’s constant dedication to the Lord.
When once asked by Jenkins how he maintains his own spiritual disciplines, an animated Graham looked at him and said, “You know, God doesn’t hide that from us. He tells us in Scripture what to do.”
He then told Jenkins that he searched God’s Word every day and prayed without ceasing, as the Scriptures say. Graham revealed that even at that moment he was praying his life story would glorify Jesus Christ rather than himself.
“I was taken back,” Jenkins said. “I had always hoped that ‘praying without ceasing’ was figurative or symbolic.”
Jenkins pointed to Graham’s undying dedication to the Lord as the one quality that separates him from many of his contemporaries. Before exiting the podium, Jenkins challenged students to follow Graham’s example in practicing spiritual discipline.
“Do you want to stand for God’s grace, even if you have to stand alone? Search the Scriptures, pray without ceasing — be one who does it.”
Jenkins will remain on campus this weekend to participate in the eighth bi-annual Writers Conference, a celebration of contemporary Christian writing and literature. Jenkins will be the keynote speaker at Friday’s opening session. Other featured guests include Bill Myers, known for his McGee and Me and Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey; Carole Gift Page, author of 45 works of fiction and non-fiction and member of the Advisory Board of the American Christian Writers; and Jim Zabloski, writer, speaker and composer and former Editorial Director at Vida Publishers International. Sessions will be available for writers, aspiring writers and teachers. Other scheduled speakers include authors, editors, professors and educators from Liberty, such as Don Alban, Jr., Mark Jennings, Janice DeLong, Rachel Schwedt, Jamaica Johnson Conner, Stacey Hester and Beth Ackerman.