NEW YORK – As his father's namesake and ministry successor, Franklin Graham carries the legacy of the late Rev. Billy Graham perhaps more than anyone else.
He also benefited from a bird's eye view of how his father conducted himself as a husband and family man, an evangelist, and in his personal relationship with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Franklin writes about all of that and more in his new book, Through My Father's Eyes, released Tuesday. In an interview with CBN News at the New York headquarters of publisher HarperCollins, he described the 12-year project as a labor of love.
"I want this book to be about not Billy Graham," he explained. "I want people to see that it wasn't Billy Graham that made the place in history. It was God behind Billy Graham that put him there, and it's because Billy Graham believed God. Billy Graham believed the Word of God."
Franklin Graham's explanation mirrors his father's own words, which reflected a deep yet sincere humility he maintained even into death. Two months after the evangelist died, some still ponder who will be the next Billy Graham? Franklin shared his take with CBN News.
"You know, I don't know? I'm not an evangelical leader," he said. "I'm just going to continue preaching the Gospel; keep giving an invitation to lost people to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ."
"I guess the question some people ask is, 'Who is the next celebrity evangelist?'" he continued. "I have no clue. My father never wanted to be a celebrity. Maybe that's why God used him."
Yet, he also sees the need for confrontation, especially in what he describes as today's anti-Christian culture. Graham recently targeted GQ Magazine for dismissing the Bible as a book not worth reading and comedienne Michelle Wolf for her crass jokes at the 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner.
"I want Christians not to be seduced by this culture in which we are living and not to be led astray," he explained. "And I think there needs to be a voice that speaks out because there aren't many people who speak out."
Graham told CBN News he speaks out because others are too afraid: "I think when you speak up, God is going to honor that."
From the dysfunction in politics to the division across America, which has even seeped into Christian churches, he believes the only key to turning things around is prayer.
"If churches pray — and I mean real prayer — God will hear those prayers, and I think God will answer those prayers," he said. "Prayer can mean change. Prayer can move mountains. It can drain swamps."
Graham described the hole the loss of his mother, Ruth, caused in his life — spiritually and emotionally.
"I felt there was a covering with the prayers of my mother, and I don't have that covering anymore. I don't feel that protection," Graham explained.
He told CBN News the loss of his father – who prayed fervently for the family in the final years as his health declined — has created another chasm.
"And now that my father is gone, I feel like there is an exposure. It's not a mantle, but it's like an armor. A little bit of the armor is missing, so it makes me pray even harder – not only for myself but for my family, for my children and my grandchildren," he said.
"The prayer burden has shifted to me as it relates to my family, and I think for the last 10 years, he was the prayer warrior in the family," Graham said.