September 16, 2020 : By Jacob Couch - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
On Wednesday morning, world-renowned evangelist and Samaritan’s Purse president Franklin Graham joined Liberty University’s Convocation in Williams Stadium to encourage students to stay true to the Lord in the uncertain times that the world is facing.
This was Liberty’s first Convocation of the semester to be held at the stadium. A limited number of students could attend due to physical distancing requirements, but all students were able to watch the event live on Facebook.
Graham began by inviting students to Washington, D.C., on Sept. 26 to join Christians from around the country in the Washington 2020 Prayer March.
“I want Liberty University to be well-represented at this prayer march,” Graham said. “As we start from the Lincoln Memorial and go all the way down to the Capitol, I want the politicians to know that the Church has arrived. I want the politicians to know that there are young people today who are going to stand for Jesus Christ.”
He noted that Liberty is reserving buses for the event (read more below).
Graham then read from the book of Daniel and spoke about standing for the Lord in a society that disagrees with godly living.
“Like Daniel, my prayer is that you will purpose in your heart that you would not defile yourselves before God with the things of this world,” Graham said. “Yes, we live in a pagan country, and society says it’s OK. But God doesn’t say that it’s OK.”
Graham said it is very appealing to try and model our lives after how our culture is living.
“God has called us to be holy and we are not to be like the rest of the world,” he said. “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.”
When Daniel told his superior to feed him and his fellow young men vegetables instead of the food given to idols, Graham explained, God blessed them with favor in the king’s eyes. The Lord also blessed Daniel with favor when He gave him insight to interpret the king’s dreams. As a result, Daniel was given rule over all of Babylon.
“If you honor Him, He will honor you,” Graham said.
Graham then told the parallel story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and how they stood alone for the Lord when they were told by the Babylonian king to bow before a statue. Due to their disobedience, the king decided to throw the faithful followers of the Lord into a furnace.
“It ticked off this king and he said to heat the furnace up seven times hotter than it had ever been heated up, and they threw them in the flames,” Graham said. “And the men who threw them in the flames were killed because the fire was so hot.”
The king then saw the three men in the fire with a fourth man who Graham said was the Son of God.
“God delivered them, but it goes back to what they purposed in their heart,” he said. “All through your life God can deliver you from all kinds of circumstances if you’re willing to honor him and be willing to take a stand even though people may ridicule you and abuse you and say all kinds of things about you.”
Graham said that it is no longer popular to be a Christian like it was years ago, but he reminded the students of Liberty’s mission.
“I just want to encourage you today, as you start this new semester, as you come here to Liberty University,” he said. “This is one of the great universities in the world, and it is a privilege to be able to come to this school. We thank God for the vision that (Liberty’s founder) Dr. Falwell had to raise up Champions for Christ.”
Graham said that our country and our world as a whole is at a troubling crossroads, which is a reason why students should consider attending the prayer march.
“I hope that you will come to Washington,” he said. “I hope that you will march with me from one end of that city to the other and pray as we go. And pray that God will shake Washington like he has never shaken it before.”
After Graham concluded, President Jerry Prevo took the stage and reminded students to sign up for the trip. Participants will be provided with all three meals and a Liberty T-shirt and rain jacket in case of poor weather. Liberty has reserved extra buses so students can practice social distancing.
Students can sign up by texting “PrayerMarch” to 24502 or visiting www.liberty.edu/prayermarch.
“We’re going to show Washington D.C. that Liberty loves Jesus Christ,” Prevo said.
Liberty’s home football game against Florida International University at 1 p.m. on Sept. 26 will be livestreamed on the buses.
Graham was scheduled to return to Williams Stadium Wednesday afternoon for the university’s All Staff and Faculty Convocation, which will also be made available for employees to watch online.