a billy graham center archives exhibit
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Audio clip of Billy Graham speaking (probably in late July 1956 at the Winona Lake Christian Assembly in Winona Lake, Indiana) about the upcoming 1957 New York City Crusade. 8 minutes.
item 11: from Collection 108, audio tape T1I would like to ask all of you to pray for us as we go to New York City next year.

Our meetings in New York will begin on May the 15th. We have Madison Square Garden booked for five months. We can cancel that with any two week notice and we’re announcing the meetings to last for two months. We’re only announcing for eight weeks. We also are making arrangements for Ebbett’s Field, the Polo Grounds, and Yankee Stadium on...Stadium on Sundays. We're going to take a team of about fifteen or twenty evangelists. Our meetings will be held a long the line of the old Wilbur Chapman meetings, in which Wilbur Chapman would take a great host of evangelists and wherever they could get a group of people to listen, that evangelist would be preaching.

There are eleven million people in the New York area outside of a Protestant church. There are millions in New York that never darkened the door of any church, Catholic Protestant or Jewish. There are millions of unconverted people in New York City that need Christ. Someone has said that it’s the world’s greatest mission field. Someone else has said that there are more Christians in Hong Kong than there are in New York. I don’t know about that.

But I do know that there’s an appalling need. There’s a social need in New York. There’s a political need. There are economic needs. But it’s greatest need is spiritual. New York is the headquarters of the United Nations and therefore it’s considered the world capital. Whatever happens in New York effects the entire world. And so I’m going to ask all of you to join us in prayer that the Holy Spirit will give a great victory in New York next year. Because if we saw a revival, there it would make an impact on the entire nation.

We are going at New York on a much larger scale than we did even in London. We are praying that God will give us prayer support in every part of the world. I believe that if God’s people will unite in prayer we can see this great city that has been called godless and pagan shaken for God. God used Billy Sunday there many years ago. And Billy Sunday’s greatest campaign was in New York.

The time has changed but God hasn’t changed. Religious conditions in New York have changed. But God hasn’t changed. And Protestantism is very very minute and small in New York. There are only a handful of churches in all of New York that are considered large churches in comparison with some of the large churches in other parts of America. It’s a different situation in Chicago. Totally different in Detroit or even Pittsburgh. And it’s going to take God. God is going to have to do it. We can’t do it.

But Madison Square Garden is located right off Time Square and we believe that under God [brief gap in tape]

...receiving very wonderful cooperation from the churches the budget is going to be twice as high as any other budget we’ve ever had. And God is already sending in the finances to our New York office. Our New York offices are located right on Time Square. The head of our Crusade there, the chairman, is Mr. Roger Hull the executive vice president of Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York. A very godly, great Christian man. And other outstanding leaders of the city have consented to be on various committees. And God is working in the hearts of many people already. We need your prayer.

And I hope that you'll plan to come to New York. You know, many people go to New York. And I’ve had many people all over America say, “We’re going to New York during part of that Crusade. We’re going to take our vacation there.” I hope you’ll come and help us. You can come up there and stay in a hotel, and help us at night there. We need you.

I believe it will be a great and historic moment in this country. And I’ve said, “Oh God, if you want to make it a great flop for your glory, we’re ready for it.” God is busy molding men. It’s not always going to be front page news. And it’s not always going to be big crowds. And it’s not always going to be successful as the world calls success. There are going to be some big defeats along the way from the world, it’s point of view, because God’s not interested in worldly success.

God will not share His glory with another. And when the hour of trial comes I’ve prayed, “Oh God. I pray that I will not flinch. Give me the strength and the courage and the boldness and the sweetness and the love to withstand the shocks of the enemy.”

And the enemy is beginning to train his guns. A lot of men who deny this book [the Bible] and who deny the basic tenets of our faith are beginning to train their guns our way. And I’ve prayed, “Oh God. Help me stand in the breech and make up the hedge for you, and stand with courage given only by the Holy Spirit as Elijah stood at Carmel.”

I need your prayers. I was never trained in theology. And I’ve been so busy traveling that I haven’t had time to stop and go to school. But I’ve tried daily to spend several hours studying this book. And I’ve said, “Oh Lord, make me a man of one book.” I don’t care to know all about philosophy and psychology and all these other things because I believe the answers are in this book. And I've said, “Lord, help to devour this book. Help to me learn it, to study it. Reveal things to me out of this book.”

And so I’m going to New York not to preach the wisdom of men, not with enticing words of men’s wisdom, not to quote Dr. So-and-so but to quote God’s Word. And to lift this book up that it might be a sword and a hammer to break open the hearts of men in New York that need God.

You pray for us as we go. We need your prayer. Now let us bow our heads in a moment of prayer.
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