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Grace Afar and Near

Billy Graham's third daughter, Ruth, describes her relationship with her famous father.
2007This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Ruth Graham, Billy Graham's third daughter, detailed some of her personal struggles—including divorce and depression—in the 2004 book In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart. In 2005, she wrote A Legacy of Love about her mother, Ruth Bell Graham. Her latest book is A Legacy of Faith: Things I Learned from My Father (Inspirio, 2006, with Stacy Mattingly). Stan Guthrie, CT's senior associate editor, spoke with her.

Why did you write A Legacy of Faith?

Everybody always asks, "What was it like to grow up being Billy Graham's kid?" Well, this is my answer.

Growing up, you didn't see a lot of him.

No. As a matter of fact, this book was hard to write, because there were fewer memories [than I had of my mother]. But I kept every letter, every note, every scrap. I even carry his signature in my wallet. Going back through them, I saw his letters of love and advice. He may have been in Africa, but he would write in longhand, four pages—long pages—just giving me advice, encouragement.

What are some of the principles he passed down?

One principle is depending on God. I started my own ministry [Ruth Graham & Friends] and asked him, "Daddy, did you ever feel inadequate or intimidated?" And he said, "Oh, yes, all the time." I said, "How did you prepare for that?" He said, "I prayed." The next morning, I said, "Daddy, what was your prayer?" I was looking for a formula. And he said, "I would sit in the rocker in the mountain cabin, and I prayed by the hour, 'Lord, help,' and, 'Holy Spirit, fill me.' " Simple. Everybody has access to that.

After my failed second marriage, I had to go home. They had [previously] warned me, "Don't do this." Daddy had even called me from Tokyo to tell me to slow down, but I was headstrong. It wasn't long ...

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