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‘Prayer For The Nation’ Falsely Attributed to Billy Graham

by Brett M. Christensen


Circulating message features a “Prayer For The Nation” that it claims was penned by American Christian evangelist Billy Graham who died in February, 2018. 

Brief Analysis

The prayer is not the work of Billy Graham, nor is it recent.  In fact, Pastor Bob Russell of Southeast Christian Church wrote the prayer in 1995. The prayer gained more popularity after Pastor Joe Wright delivered it in January 1996 while speaking to the Kansas House of Representatives in Topeka.


Subject: Fw: Graham’s Prayer at 95 years old

Thought that you would be interested in this

Billy Graham’s Prayer at 95 yrs old. From a man the media has never been able to throw dirt on…..amazing! He has certainly hit the “world” on the head!

Billy Graham’s Prayer For The Nation


‘Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time- honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from sin and set us free. Amen!’
With the Lord’s help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we once again can be called ‘One nation under God!’

Think about this: If you forward this prayer to everyone on your e -mail list, in less than 30 days it would be heard by the world.
(It’s worth a try!)
What is true for America is true for many parts of the world.  We should be praying the same prayer for our own nation.

Detailed Analysis

According to this message, which is circulating via email and social media, 95 year old US Christian evangelist Billy Graham has penned a compelling “Prayer for the Nation” which discusses his views of what is happening in the United States and the world in general.

The message asks recipients to share the prayer with everybody on their contact list and suggests that, if everybody shared as asked, the message would be heard by the entire world within thirty days.

Many recipients may agree with the opinions expressed in the prayer. But, there is more to the story.

Billy Graham did not pen the prayer, at 95, or at any other age. In fact, Pastor Bob Russell of the Southeast Christian Church wrote the original version of the prayer. On his website, Russell explains:

In 1995 I wrote a prayer of national repentance and offered it at the Kentucky Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Frankfort Kentucky. The prayer was adapted by Joe Wright and presented as the prayer to open the Kansas House of Representatives in 1996.

The article also includes a transcript of the original prayer. The version delivered in 1996 by Pastor Joe Wright can still be viewed on an archived copy of the website, along with the following caption:

This is the text of the original prayer delivered January 23, 1996 by Pastor Joe Wright to the Kansas House of Representatives in Topeka.

The Billy Graham version of  the prayer gained momentum back in 2013 possibly because  news reports  at the time discussed Graham’s “final sermon” video in which he talks about the spiritual state of the nation and raises concerns about the nation’s future.
And, the message began circulating once again soon after Billy Graham died in February, 2018.

Whenever I publish an article that discusses a falsely attributed piece of writing such as this, many people offer the opinion that it doesn’t matter who wrote it and it should be forwarded anyway.

But, regardless of how much you might agree with the opinions expressed in a message, sending it on as the work of another is not fair to the original author. In this case, it is not fair that Pastor Bob Russell is not acknowledged as the real author. And, for that matter, it is not fair to put words into the mouth of Billy Graham either.

So, if you do feel the need to send on this message, why not take the time to properly attribute it before hitting the “Forward” or “Share” button?

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,