THE $200,000 FLEECE
- Author: Robert H. Schuller, pastor of Crystal Cathedral congregation and the founder and spokesman on the Hour of Power.
- Updated: 03/19/2008
- Copyright: Copyright 1995 by Dr. Robert Schuller. All rights reserved.
Robert Schuller describes in his spiritual autobiography, Prayer: My Soul's Adventure with God, how the funds were raised to begin the radio broadcast of the "Hour of Power."
It was 1969. Billy Graham came to the Anaheim Convention Center for a crusade. I was asked to be vice chairman of the organizing committee. I accepted. There was a large TV truck outside. I was invited to drop in and see how they videotaped the crusade for airing on television.
Billy suggested I televise my church services. "There is no church service on television every Sunday in the Los Angeles market," he said.
"What would it cost?" I asked.
"Probably $400,000 a year," Billy's producer answered. "But we don't have any spare money!" I replied.
"Try to do what I did when we started my weekly radio program," Billy suggested. "Let God make the decision. When it was suggested I broadcast every week on radio, we put out the fleece and asked God to make the decision. You form a small, secret circle of praying persons."
This was wonderful advice. We took it. We said, "Lord, it'll cost us $400,000 for one year. If people pledge $200,000, that will be your message to go ahead."
I had never, ever, tried praying that way. It was not in my tradition. I surprised my congregation on Sunday morning when I said, "I've been asked to consider televising our Sunday morning service and airing it every Sunday in Los Angeles. It will cost a lot of money. We don't have a single spare dollar. There is in your program a blank three-by-five card. If you think God wants us to do this, and if you'd be able and willing to help, simply write a dollar amount you would contribute in a twelve-month period. If the total meets half of the annual costs, we'll take that as God telling us He wants us to do it. If the total is a dollar or more less than 50 percent of the annual cost, we'll accept that as God's guidance to pass up this invitation."
We prayed. Passionately. The cards were dropped in. Many of them. I had no clue what to expect.
"Dr. Schuller." It was our business administrator, Frank Boss, calling me that afternoon. "The total is $189,000. We are $11,000 short of the 50 percent number. It looks like we have our answer."
"But Billy says we have to wait at least for another day or two, because some of the cards may be in the mail," I said. "Perhaps some-one wanted to pray with a wife or husband before making the decision."
Although I said this, frankly, I was relieved. It looked like we would not have to consider television!
The next morning Frank Boss called again. "We've just opened the morning mail. We got some more cards like Billy predicted. The total is now $203,000. God has answered our prayers, Bob. He wants us to go on television."
Now--honestly--I was scared. "Go for it, Bob!" Billy Graham's producer, Fred Dienert, said. "Billy's radio program is evangelism. We call it 'Hour of Decision.' Yours will be a church service. Why don't you call it 'Hour of Power?'"
Reprinted by permission of Thomas Nelson, Inc. from the book entitled Prayer: My Soul's Adventure with God. Copyright 1995 by Dr. Robert Schuller. All rights reserved.