WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
American Evangelist, Will Graham, grandson of the renowned Billy Graham, spoke at the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast in Edmonton March 29.
EDMONTON — Like Hannah, the faithful woman of the Bible, "put your faith in the person of Jesus Christ. It is the only thing that will ever, ever bring ultimate change," says evangelist Will Graham.
"Jesus said, 'Come, follow me.' He didn't say, 'Come, follow my followers but come, follow me.'"
Graham, grandson of Billy Graham, assistant director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove and assistant director of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, led the annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast at the Shaw Conference Centre March 29.
The breakfast is a non-political event that offers churches, ministries, business people and individuals the opportunity to show visible prayer and support for civic leaders.
Individual prayers were said for the city's emergency services. Archbishop Richard Smith said prayers for Mayor Stephen Mandel, his family and those serving on city council.
Graham brought greetings from his grandfather Billy, 92.
"This morning I'll be talking about the idea of change," he said. "People are always looking for change."
Every year people make New Year's resolutions "because we want to see something change in our own lives," Graham noted.
"People are often looking for change and there are a lot of things in my life that I have tried to change on my own. Yet change seems to elude me at times. We pursue it but something always gets in our way."
So what can truly change our lives?
Graham answered his question by using the story of Hannah, a faithful woman depicted in 1 Samuel.
Hannah was a godly woman. Her husband was Elkanah, a religious and pious man.
"The problem was that Hannah couldn't have any children. Later on, we find out the reason was that God had closed her womb. So we see that God was behind this. God had a plan all along, even though Hannah didn't realize it."
Because Hannah couldn't have any children, Elkanah took a second wife, Peninnah, who for years provoked Hannah, making her feel miserable.
"Therefore Hannah wept and she would not eat and then she made a vow. Praying in silence, she asked the Lord for a son and told him, 'If you give me a male child then I'll give it back to the Lord.'
"Then she walked away and seemed happy. Her situation had not really changed but there was no sadness in her face.
"You know what she did? She went to the Lord (for help)," Graham said. "My friends, when we have issues in our lives, guess where we need to go? We need to go to the Lord. He hears our cries."
When Hannah was pouring her heart out to the Lord, her priest thought she was drunk because she prayed in silence, only moving her lips.
"Hannah could have gotten mad at her church."
"Many people in Canada and in Edmonton think like that," Graham noted. "We don't need any God. The Church has let me down. I have been abused at the Church, whatever it may be."
Hannah was happy. What had happened? "My friends, she encountered the living God," Graham said.
"She came in contact with the living God. She put her faith in God Almighty."
That's what God wants to do in people's lives. "He wants to see them changed forever because our God is bigger than any of our circumstances."
"My friends I want to encourage you that when you have a problem in life, even when the Church may not be able to help you, maybe a preacher doesn't give you the time of the day, my friends, follow God."
The preacher said, "When you walk by faith, God will go before you and he'll be your guide and take care of the things in your life. We see that later on; Hannah had a son and his name was Samuel; and Samuel was the one who anointed David as the king of all Israel."