U.S. President Donald Trump has paid tributes to Americans who had always prayed for the country, declaring that America is a nation that is sustained by prayer.
Trump said at a ceremony preceding the lying in honour of the Rev. Billy Graham at Capitol Hill that Americans always prayed at every situation.
“Here in this room, we are reminded that America is a nation sustained by prayer. The painting to my left is of the pilgrims as they embarked for America, holding fast to the Bible and bowing their heads in prayer.
“Along these walls, we see the faces of Americans who prayed as they stood on the Lexington Green, who prayed as they headed west, prayed as they headed into battle, and prayed as they marched for justice, and always marched for victory.
“Around us stand the statues of heroes who led the nation in prayer during the great and difficult times, from Washington to Lincoln to Eisenhower to King.
“And, today, in the centre of this great chamber lies legendary Billy Graham, an ambassador for Christ who reminded the world of the power of prayer and the gift of God’s grace.
“Today we honour him as only three private citizens before him have been so honoured,” the president said.
Trump also prayed for America, saying “all across this land the Lord will raise up men and women like Billy Graham to spread a message of love and hope to every precious child of God”.
He particularly paid tributes to Graham saying he led a nationwide revival from a large tent in Los Angeles, to 100,000 people in a single day at Yankee Stadium, to more than two million people at Madison Square Garden, over 16 weeks in 1957.
He recalled his father saying to him: “Come on, son” and to his mother: “Come on, mom. Let’s go see Billy Graham at Yankee Stadium,” saying it was something very special.
Trump lauded the late evangelist for sharing the power of God’s word with more than 200 million people, in person, and countless others through television and radio in 185 countries.
According to him, the famous evangelist carried his message around the world but his heart was always in America.
He said Graham took his message to the poorest places, to the downtrodden and to the brokenhearted, to inmates in prison, and to the overlooked and the neglected, stressing he felt a great passion for those that were neglected.
“Everywhere he went, Reverend Graham delivered the same beautiful message: God loves you. That was his message. God loves you.
“We can only imagine the number of lives touched by the preaching and the prayers of Billy Graham – the hearts he changed, the sorrows he eased, and the joy he brought to so many. The testimony is endless.
“Today, we give thanks for this extraordinary life. And it’s very fitting that we do so right here in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol, where the memory of the American people is enshrined,” Trump said. (NAN)