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Billy Graham's grandson shares greatest fear with Fort Bragg soldiers

Fayetteville Observer - 2/13/2020

Feb. 13--It wasn't Edward Graham's father or grandfather who taught him about "the power of prayer."

The son of Franklin Graham and grandson of evangelist Billy Graham told a room full of Fort Bragg soldiers on Thursday that it was his mother who taught him to pray.

Graham, who was a guest speaker for Fort Bragg'sNational Prayer Breakfast observance, said he often prayed during combat.

A 16-year Army veteran, his first assignments were with 3rd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment and the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg, before being selected for the 75th Ranger Regiment.

"What I want to talk to you about today is not the combat prayer," Graham said. "I want to talk to you about your biggest fear."

Graham said he was at West Point during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He said the Army was his comfort zone, and he was comfortable with combat, and "talented" Rangers who made his job easy.

He said he thought a "peace time" Army was his fear, because it was his mission and purpose.

Yet later assigned to the Joint Special Operations Command, he realized his greatest fear was his father's ministry.

Graham said that years before, he told his father he did not want to be part of the ministry.

Samaritan's Purse is a Christian humanitarian ministry led by Franklin Graham.

A few years later he had told a Samaritan's Purse associate he's close to that if something happened to his father, he would join the ministry.

He remembered the promise when his grandfather died.

Graham was on post after his grandfather's death.

Wanting to stay away from Washington D.C., where his grandfather's remains were prior to services in North Carolina, Graham told his commander, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Tovo, he was where he was supposed to be.

"And I was, but I was still dealing with fear," he said.

He picked up his Bible to seek answers and read a verse Thursday that stuck out to him at the time he was grappling his fear.

Reading the Bible's account of Jesus calming and walking on water during a storm, and disciple Peter getting out of a boat to walk toward Jesus, Graham said Peter had to get out of the boat and walk into what he was afraid of.

"I read that and thought about what it has to do with fear," Graham said. "If you want to be part of the miracle, you got to get into the boat."

Graham called his father and discussed joining the ministry once he retired in another four years, but said something didn't feel right.

He spoke to his brother, who told him the disciples left their nets in the water and followed Jesus.

"I think as I've gone through this year and realized what I struggled with, it's my identity," Graham said.

For years, Graham identified as an Army Ranger.

He said in the eyes of Jesus, he is "so much more."

As the assistant to the vice president of operation for Operation Christmas Child for Samaritan's Purse, Graham said he doesn't doubt that God used him in the Army and that the Army prepared him for challenges.

Graham encouraged soldiers to pray when they do leave the military.

"If you're going to pray, pray for how the Lord is going to use you," he said.

Staff writer Rachael Riley can be reached at rriley@fayobserver.com or 910-486-3528.

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