Anne Graham Lotz begins each morning with stretches, a 2-1/2 mile walk with a friend, and a triple espresso from Starbucks. But it’s what she does next that has charted her course for more than 40 years. Anne, the daughter of famed evangelist Billy Graham, and often called by her father, “the best preacher in the family,” says candidly, “I have not outgrown the need to pray or to read my Bible."
“I know I have to guard my focus in order to do what I do,” she says. To maintain that focus, she is very intentional. “When I’m not on the road, I come back home (after exercising), and I have my time with the Lord.” It’s a simple discipline that keeps her relationship with God fresh. “It’s not about filling in the blanks or just about knowledge,” she emphasizes, but about maintaining a heart relationship. “I just set aside time for God first thing in the morning.”
As the head of her own worldwide ministry, AnGel Ministries, Anne is committed to “reviving the hearts of God’s people” through preaching and teaching. She’s quick to draw a distinction between her calling and that of her beloved father and evangelist brother. “My father and brother hold evangelistic meetings where they help bring people to a saving faith in Christ, but revival is taking people who have (already) placed their faith in Christ and waking them up.”
Anne likens her father’s and brother’s meetings to Moses leading the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. “But then they wandered in the wilderness,” she says thoughtfully, “until Joshua came along and got them out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land."
“Revival,” she says, “is getting people out of the wilderness, from walking around in circles, going nowhere with God, being apathetic and complacent, and moving them into the fullness of God’s blessing.”
With this goal in mind, she has presented Just Give Me Jesus revival meetings in 12 countries and 30 cities over the past 12 years. “I believe Jesus is the answer for all of our lives, and for our nation, but we look to so many other things,” Anne says. Her revival meetings, the most recent of which was held in Augusta, Georgia, on September 21-22, are her attempts to “challenge the church to be the church as God has laid it out.
“I pray that every woman who attends (one of our events) will know God’s love, and joy, and presence, and peace in a way that she has never known before . . .” Anne says, “and that she will leave that arena ready to make her life available for anything he would ask her to do.”
She speaks frankly about the modern church. “Somehow we’ve gotten away from the simplicity of our devotion to Christ,” she says. “We’ve gotten away from simple Bible reading, Bible study, prayer, obedience, service.” Fearing that the church, with its traditions, rituals, programs, and electives “has a form of godliness,” but no real power to change lives, she’s sounding the alarm. “We’ve substituted the programs for the power, orthodoxy for obedience, or lots of activity for the movement of the Spirit of God,” she says passionately.
“The biggest need in our nation today,” Anne says, “is a church that is really the church—exalting Jesus, not buying into the political correctness, presenting the truth without backing down, but in a loving, winsome way that’s not finger-pointing. Just being what we are called to be – salt and light.”
Her words of exhortation for believers is that “time is very short, and we’re living right at the end of human history. It’s a privilege to be living in this generation, and with that privilege comes responsibility.” Anne encourages everyone to consider the question, “If the world were to end today, if Jesus was to come back this afternoon, what would you wish you had done?”
For Anne, being able to answer that question means living every day in light of the reality of Christ’s return. “I want to have as few regrets as possible on the day I meet Jesus face to face,” she says. Knowing that our lives on earth is not all there is, she reminds believers, “There’s eternity to come, and what we do here determines a lot of what happens in eternity."
“Strengthen your personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus,” she exhorts. “Get into your Bibles. Get on your knees in prayer, be obedient, serve, and live your lives as though you will be giving an account in the next five minutes of what you’ve done (on this earth)."
It’s the same simple message she shares through Just Give Me Jesus, and the way she lives her life. It’s a pattern for a life with no regrets.
Sidebar: The next Just Give Me Jesus revival will be held on April 5-6 in Indianapolis, Indiana, at the Indiana Convention Center, 100 South Capitol Avenue. The event is free, and no tickets or reservations are required.
Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine, dedicated to proclaiming the life and work of Jesus Christ in South Carolina. A veteran home educator, she’s the author of the devotional book, Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms available from Mardel.com, and the blog Be Not Weary (www.lorihatcher.com). Lori’s story, “Beauty from Ashes,” is one of the true-life love stories featured in OakTara’s newest anthology, Falling in Love with You.