JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–Anne Graham Lotz said she didn’t really know what to think 12 years ago when it appeared her life was “unraveling.”
Lotz’s three children married within eight months of each other, her house was ravaged by a hurricane, her son diagnosed with cancer, her mom experienced five life-threatening hospitalizations and her husband’s 30-year dental practice burned to the ground.
“My cry to God was, ‘I don’t want to take a vacation and go and get rested and come back and hit the same mess. And I don’t want to escape through drugs or alcohol.’ I didn’t even ask God for a miracle,” Lotz said. “The cry of my heart was, ‘Just give me Jesus.’ I wanted a fresh touch from heaven.”
In an interview before her two-day “Just Give Me Jesus” revival in Jacksonville April 24-25, Lotz, told the Florida Baptist Witness it was at that point she was burdened to offer “Just Give Me Jesus” revivals because much of what is offered for women seemed “superficial.”
“God opened my eyes and it was like, ‘Anne, if you, Billy Graham’s daughter, have a desperate need for a fresh touch from heaven, then maybe there are other women out there who do too,'” Lotz said.
Lotz, founder of AnGeL Ministries, has held more than 30 revivals for women in the United States and internationally since 2000. In Jacksonville, a local team prayed and prepared more than two years for the event, which drew nearly 7,000 to Veteran’s Memorial Arena. Marked by almost stark simplicity, Lotz said the program is intentionally uncluttered.
“The pressures of life, our responsibilities, the things going on in the world, can be oppressive to your spirit,” Lotz said. “Women have so much responsibility. Sometimes in our busyness, we don’t mean to push God to the side, but we do because we are so busy and we succumb to the tyranny of the urgent.”
One of the aims of the revival is to put the focus back on God’s Word, Lotz said, recognizing that being a godly woman is not something women should strive to be, but something that results when they are rooted in the Word.
“It can be a struggle if you are trying hard to be a godly woman but if you are a godly woman, you’re just being who you are. It’s got to come from the inside out and it has to come from a vibrant personal relationship with God,” Lotz said.
Lotz, a Southern Baptist for 43 years — as long as she has been married to husband Daniel — is a member of Southbridge Fellowship in Raleigh, N.C. The daughter of evangelist Billy Graham and Ruth Bell Graham, Lotz said although she was saved as a little girl, she believes God allowed her to experience certain situations so she could offer to other women the reassurance they can find Christ in a “fresh way.”
Finding God in a fresh way, means the church — both men and women — needs to wake up and get back to the basics, she said.
“We need to experience old-timey revival,” Lotz said. “We need to talk about hell. We need to talk about heaven. We need to talk about the fact that there’s only one way to God and that’s through faith in Jesus. We need to get back to some of the basics of the Gospel and then God’s call in our lives and how He would use us to reach a lost world.”
Lotz said her 90-year-old dad recently had a medical adjustment that helped his motor ability.
“Daddy’s doing good … but he has a hard time hearing, seeing, walking, but his mind is clear,” Lotz said. “He watches TV, loves his family. He says every day is harder than the last. He doesn’t quite understand why he is not with [mother], doesn’t quite understand why he is still here. I told him because God has a purpose for him. God’s not finished with him.”
Joni B. Hannigan is managing editor of the Florida Baptist Witness (floridabaptistwitness.com), newsjournal of the Florida Baptist State Convention. Anne Graham Lotz is on the Internet at annegrahamlotz.com.