"Young man I have been praying for you."
It was one of my first days on the job as head of school at Charlotte Christian. We were breaking ground on a new facility at the baseball field and I was making my inaugural public appearance. All I could think about was that I could not believe how hot it was on that sunny, muggy July day. I learned not to wear tan pants to an outside event because it became clear to all those around me that my body was not used to the heat.
"Young man, I have been praying for you."
This was the second time the older gentleman with the hounds tooth hat had said that to me. He was a shorter man slightly bent over wearing glasses. He sported long pants, long sleeves and a sports coat despite the heat. He smiled a mischievous smile and nudged me with his cane.
"Young man you are going to need my prayers."
Harry Allan Graham, Sr. was a man who spent hours on his knees pleading with God to provide for and protect Charlotte Christian School. Harry Graham was 96 that day I met him and I remember going home and telling my wife about this older gentleman who had driven himself to the celebration despite having his license for more than 70 years.
"Young man I will be praying for you."
Harry Graham along with a few pioneers founded Charlotte Christian School in 1950. He served as a board member for many years and remained involved until the Lord called him home. Harry Graham was a veteran and a successful business man who also served as a long time elder at Calvary Church. Heads of school and pastors came and went, but Mr. Graham remained involved as an advisory but more importantly as an intercessor for these two institutions. He watched as the Lord blessed our school and grew it from 60 students to now 1,000. He was part of numerous building campaigns for both the school and his church. He gave generously of his time, talents, and treasure.
At Mr. Graham's memorial service, his grandson read from the book of Jeremiah chapter 9 verses 23-24: "Thus says The Lord, 'let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the might man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am The Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares The Lord."
Mr. Graham was a man who boasted in that God the Father knew him by name. He was blessed with a quick wit, a sharp mind, an acute awareness of needs, and a wonderful family yet he boasted in Christ and Christ alone.
Harry was not perfect and he did not delight in modern praise music or artificial turf as he told me that hot summer afternoon, but he was a man who sought God's vision and allowed God to use him in a mighty way. If God needs to grow an institution in heaven, I wonder if he will call upon Harry to help.
"Harry, we are praying for you."
The last time I saw Harry, a colleague and I visited him in his home. As always he shared some delightful stories about the past and told us about his plans for the future. He even had the energy to shoo away a door to door salesman. I was glad I was able to return the favor of praying for a man who prayed for me before we had ever met. Harry will be missed on our campus and at Calvary Church, but we thank God for allowing us to spend the time we had with Harry.
In 2011 Harry Graham, pictured with varsity baseball player Tyler Simmons and Head of School Barry Giller,
threw out the first pitch at a home varsity baseball game. Charlotte Christian was celebrating its fifth annual
Tailgate and Donate service event in conjunction with the school’s 60th anniversary.
Head of School
on Tuesday April 16 at 04:54PM