Pastor to Presidents: 13 Presidents Evangelist Billy Graham Ministered To
Evangelist Billy Graham, one of the most influential Christian leaders in the last century, passed away in Montreat, N.C., on Wednesday. He was 99 years old, and he had preached to millions — including to the last 13 U.S. presidents.
“Whether the story of Christ is told in a huge stadium, across the desk of a powerful leader, or shared with a golfing companion, it satisfies a common hunger. All over the world, whenever I meet people face-to-face, I am made aware of this personal need among the famous and successful, as well as the lonely and obscure," Graham said.
Every U.S. president since World War II has met with Graham, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, who sought Graham the most, also offered him high positions in government, which the evangelist "quickly and politely refused."
Without further ado, here are the photos of Graham after or during his meeting with each president, from Harry Truman to Donald Trump.
1. Harry Truman (1950).
In July 1950, Graham met with President Harry Truman at the White House, to pray for the Korean crisis before the U.S. entered the Korean War.
Without any briefing on protocol, Graham spoke with Truman, bringing his three colleagues Jerry Beavan, Clifford Barrows, and Grady Wilson. Truman told Graham he lived by the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). The two prayed together, and years later Graham visited Truman at his home in Independence, Mo.
2. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1961).
President Dwight D. Eisenhower met Billy Graham numerous times throughout his presidency. “Eisenhower was the first President that really asked my counsel in depth when he was sending troops into Little Rock,” Graham recalled, according to the BGEA. Graham was referring to the military escort for the "Little Rock Nine," nine black students who attended a previously white school and were escorted there on September 24, 1957.
Graham visited Eisenhower on his death bed, where they spoke about the assurance of salvation in Jesus Christ. After praying with Graham, the former president said he was ready to die.