Saturday Snapshot – Ruth’s Prayer Garden Dedication

Ruth Bell Graham lived a life committed to and dependent on prayer.  Several years ago, she wrote these words as a reflection on how we should pray:  As we come to this garden of prayer, we come being reminded that we come to acknowledge our Father. As we come into His presence, we come being anxious or worried about nothing. We come to worship Him in everything.

This past Wednesday, June 1, 2016, Ruth’s Prayer Garden was officially dedicated with a special message from her grandson, Will Graham, executive director at The Cove.

“Prayer is our umbilical cord to our Heavenly Father,  This is going to be a place of spiritual life and vitality.” Will Graham said of the 1.5 acre garden featuring more than 150 plan varieties.


Over 150 people in attendance at the dedication.

Listen and watch as over 150 people in attendance  on Wednesday lifted their voices unto the Lord in worship and adoration.

Ruth’s Prayer Garden — a garden for every season.
The garden is a lovely place to stroll and take in all the beauty.
Beautiful violin music played in the garden before the dedication began.

Watch as the violinist played throughout the the garden paths.

Benches are placed throughout the garden so one can sit and pray.
It was fun having so many people enjoying the garden at one time!
A beautiful rose still fresh with dew during the dedication.
Over 150 plant species are present in the garden. There will be something in bloom every season.
Prayer. This is what Ruth would have loved to see taking place in this garden.
Thankful for the leadership on this project from Lucas, The Cove’s supervisor of grounds maintenance. That’s a wooden bow tie he’s sporting!

We hope you’ll make plans to visit Ruth’s Prayer Garden at the Chatlos Memorial Chapel and Visitors Center.  Click here for directions and operating hours.  Make sure to leave time to tour the Chatlos Memorial Chapel & Visitors Center while you’re here too.  Both tours are free.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Prayer Note: June

We hope that you will enjoy our “prayer note” — an internal communication, here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We will share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that, you too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)By Donna Riesen

The Planting of Seeds

We at The Cove have looked forward to the opening of Ruth’s Prayer Garden, as our Grounds Maintenance team, led by horticulturist Lucas Jack, has been hard at work for months, planting and cultivating the seeds of this garden of prayer. Their job may at times feel thankless, and there are usually a few days a year, during the cold winter months of January and February, when they are quite literally “snowed under” with work. Yet we praise God for each of these dedicated workers who serve God, the Master Gardener, so faithfully.

A walk through the newly opened Prayer Garden will reveal the results of their labor: Seeds planted in the cold ground of February that have blossomed in the warmth of spring. Ruth Bell Graham understood well this concept of anticipation—walking by faith and living in expectancy of answered prayer to come. The Cove itself was born from the seeds of faith sowed by Billy and Ruth as they walked the undeveloped property and prayed for God’s will. I believe The Cove represents “exceedingly abundantly” answered prayer, “above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

The Arrival of Spring

Today, the colorful, serene garden stands as a lush and living testimony to this remarkable woman who left behind a legacy of faith and prayer. Her vision for The Cove to become a place of rest, relaxation, refreshment and renewal has been realized. Ruth’s Prayer Garden is named in honor of this woman who made a life-long habit of “waiting on the Lord” in prayer.

Billy Graham’s original vision for The Cove has also come to pass. Each year, thousands come to find The Cove as a place of impact, intercession, instruction and inspiration. The garden itself was designed to be a place of intercession—a restful, relaxing place where visitors will find refreshment and renewal as they pray and seek God’s face.

During the month of June, let’s commit to honor the Lord’s command and carry on the legacy of Ruth Bell Graham by remaining faithful in the ministry of prayer and intercession. Let’s determine to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NKJV). In her own eloquent way, Ruth echoed the Apostle Paul’s exhortation in her poem entitled, “Pray.”

Ruth Bell Graham

All seminars in 2016 are free (lodging and meal fees apply.)
(For more information or to register, click on the links below.)

Dedication of Ruth’s Prayer Garden — June 1

We Will Not Bow: Lessons in Courage from the Life of Daniel
with Darren Thomas — June 3-5

Intensive Bible Training: The Bible’s Roadmap: Living Confidently in Christ with Woodrow Kroll — June 20-24

Intensive Bible Training: The Arrival of the Day of the Lord
with Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.  — June 27- July 1

Thank you for praying!

Saturday Snapshot – Photo Challenge

Do you have an Instagram or Facebook account? We would love for you to participate in our 14-Day Photo Challenge beginning June 1.

Our theme is “In The Garden.”  We chose this because we will be celebrating the opening of Ruth’s Prayer Garden (and sharing photos from this garden), right here at The Cove in Asheville, NC, on June 2, 2016!

So, here’s how you can take part in our 14-Day Photo Challenge: Beginning June 1, share one photo per day on your Facebook or Instagram account based on the photo prompts we’ve outlined below and include the hashtag: #InTheGardenPhotoChallenge. 

By using the hashtag #InTheGardenPhotoChallenge we’ll all be able to see what each other are posting in that one central search location.    

14 Day June Photo Challenge Pinterest and Blog

Don’t worry if you’re not a professional photographer–neither are we!  We will be using both an iPhone and a Canon camera to take our pictures.

Need some ideas of what to share? Post a picture of the flowers blooming in your yard (or your neighbor’s yard), the bumble bees pollinating the blooms in your garden, or a photo of the special place you call your spiritual sanctuary. Each day we will be sharing photos from Ruth’s Prayer Garden.

Here’s a sneak peek of what we will be sharing in our
14-Day Photo Challenge! One of Ruth Bell Graham’s favorite flowers was a rose. What a fitting bloom to commemorate her legacy in Ruth’s Prayer Garden at The Cove. 


FYI: Anyone taking part in the photo challenge may have their photos shared by The Cove and other participants. 

We hope you’ll make plans to visit Ruth’s Prayer Garden at the Chatlos Memorial Chapel and Visitors Center.  Click here for directions and operating hours.  Make sure to leave time to tour the Chatlos Memorial Chapel & Visitors Center while you’re here too.  Both tours are free.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study – Psalm 62:9-12

Kendra Blog Title

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!

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Kendra Graham notes from :  Psalm 62:9-12

“Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie;
In the balances they go up;
They are together lighter than breath
(10) Do not trust in oppression
And do not vainly hope in robbery;
If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.
(11)  Once God has spoken;
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God;
(12) And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord,
For You recompense a man according to his work.”

Step 1


Men of low degree, men of rank are together lighter than breath.
If riches increase, don’t set your heart on them.
Once God has spoken, twice I have heard THIS: POWER BELONGS to God.
Loving kindness is Yours.  You recompense a man according to his work.

Step 2


David had a period of struggle, silence, surety, and finally submission.  It’s a process.  Don’t you hate that?  I know I do.  I wish that in my heart of hearts I could just get to this submission part without so much work and heartache.   I wish we didn’t have to have the adversity in order to bring us to the feet of Jesus, but honestly, it’s in the adversity that we see our extreme need.  God is so patient with us, and will bring us through so that our hearts know that power indeed belongs to God.  We must experience Truths in order to really be able to say we believe them.  We believe Truth because we have seen the promises of who God is to be real in our personal world.

David has had his character questioned and assaulted.  In the beginning of this Psalm, David is in a panic for all that is going on.  David could be unseated, David could be mocked, people could believe the lies, and David could lose his standing among the people who he needed to trust him.  I love the fact that David did not hold on to his status so tightly.  David heard with his ears, but twice, more importantly heard with his heart that God is in control. God will have David where He has David regardless of the chatter and the dire look of the situation. God is in control?  God has this?  This is hard to grasp…hard to believe.  It makes us feel better if we can “do” something to fix it.  I want to “do”, I don’t want to wait…. especially in silence, like David has done here.

Once we wait in silence, focused on the Word of God and we will see that in this ever shifting and changing world, our only surety is the Truth of who God is.  God’s Word will stand.  God’s Truth will hold.  We do not know this, and we cannot submit to this way of thinking until moments like this in David’s life, and similar moments like this in our lives, when all we have, and our only hope is that truly God is who He says He is and His Word will hold.

God sees you in your situation.  God sees how your world is uncertain, falling apart, stressful, and you don’t know how it’s going to work together.  God sees how other people get joy out of making your life difficult and hard.  Press in to God’s Word.  KNOW this: Power Belongs to God.  No man can usurp the power of God as stated in these verses.

Hope in the power of God, gives us the strength we need to daily walk through our circumstance in faith, and then in the end, just like the Apostle Paul says, it’s a “hope that does not disappoint”(Romans 5:5), because in the end we will see that God has got this.  We will hear with our eyes and ears when we read the Word, then hear with our hearts when we have that personal testimony of how in God’s lovingkindness toward us, gave us strength to press in.  Jesus will walk us through and teach us, ever so patiently about who He is.

Submission to who God is, in the end will become a “sigh” of relief instead of a “sigh” of anxiety and frustration.

Step 3


When have you been brought through this process that David has, so that you know the Truth of who God is in His Word is the Truth of who God is to you?

Do you question whether God will make things right, and if He understands the direness of the situation?  How hard is it to trust that in submitting to God your hope is not in vain?  Will you listen for God to speak not only to your ears, but to your heart?  (This is HARD… because my heart already hurts so much, it’s so HARD to let God take the anxiety and work it out the way He wants.)


LORD, today you know the enormous amount of anxiety I have in my heart over situations and people I cannot control, yet I keep trying to control them!  I think if I am anxious about it, I can change something, but LORD, these moments are meant to press upon me my need for an Almighty God.  Be that Almighty God to me today and as I hold on to the hope of Your Word, give me the strength in faith to take one baby step after another pressing in.  Give me a great testimony of You through all of this.  Help me in this struggle to trust, and in silence, give me Your surety, as I submit to You with my head, so that in the end may I know You more in my heart.


What Scripture are you studying now? What have you learned? How has the Lord spoke to you? Share with us in the comments section.

To see more of Kendra’s Bible Studies, click here.



Saturday Snapshot – A Peak Behind-The-Scenes

The Cove has a lot of special people working here.  Their hearts for Jesus is reflected in all they do.  Do you ever wonder about some of the people behind-the-scenes, that you may or may not ever see while you’re here?

Well, today, we’re sharing a little bit about the personalities of some of these people through an item or items that they have in their work-spaces.

The departments that are represented in today’s post are Program (plan and coordinate all our seminars, senior-events, personal spiritual retreats and concerts), Guest Groups (work with churches and other Christian ministries that want to hold their own events at The Cove) and the Executive Director’s office.

Here we go…

Looks like someone has a green-thumb!  The person that has this beautiful plant arrangement in her work space helps with our Guest Groups department.  The little frog  looks like quite the daydreamer!

IMG_0532 sm plant at Dianes desk with froggie

This Program department employee, is following the rule of three decorating guideline.  Angel, plant, and faith…not a bad combination! IMG_0539 sm Teresa Matthews office decor

This Program department employee has a little table in her office with a few of her favorite things: God’s Word, tea, and a devotional.  A lovely way to spend time during a break or lunchtime. IMG_0537 sm Lauras Bible devotional and tea

We are thankful for Billy Graham’s faithful obedience to our heavenly Father.  This poster is a reminder to pray without ceasing.   This is displayed in another Program department employee. IMG_0536 sm Billy Graham pray in Michelles office

Yet another employee from our Program department, who cross stiched this beautiful “Names of God” piece.  She said that it took her about one month working on it in the evenings and weekends.    IMG_0534 sm Teebers cross stich names of God piece

This employee, also works with our Program department and received these roses from her husband who had surgery last week.  Apparently she took good care of him!  IMG_0529 sm donnas roses from Bruce

This Program department employee has a real knack for seasonal decorating.  The little sheep is the constant presence as decorations change several times throughout the year.  IMG_0533 sm Tracis desk

And if you’re a Vikings fan, then you’ll love and appreciate this crafty tissue box cover.  This employee works in the Executive Director’s office and is clearly a huge fan!

IMG_0540 sm Middys Vikings kleenex box

Friends, we hope this little behind-the-scenes snapshot was fun for you.  If you’d like to see other departments featured like this in the future, let us know.

What do you have in your work or home that tells a little about your personality?  Share with us in the comments below.

Have a beautiful and blessed weekend!

Click here to see a full list of upcoming events at The Cove or contact our Guest Group department to hold your group retreat at The Cove.

Come take a free tour of the Chatlos Memorial Chapel & Visitors Center.  Click here for hours and directions.



Something New at The Cove: Ruth’s Prayer Garden


“We cannot pray and remain the same. We cannot pray and have our homes remain the same. We cannot pray and have the world about us remain the same. God has decreed to act in response to prayer. ‘Ask,’ He commands us. And Satan trembles for fear we will.”  —Ruth Bell Graham,  Legacy of a Pack Rat

By Donna Riesen:

Ruth Bell Graham was a woman of prayer; and Ruth’s Prayer Garden, opening June 2, 2016 at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, is designed to honor her memory and encourage others to pray. As the wife of evangelist Billy Graham, Ruth’s schedule was packed full with commitments—at times she traveled with her husband to crusades around the world, yet most often Ruth supported him behind the scenes and out of the spotlight by shouldering the responsibility of caring for their five children at their home in Montreat. This remarkable woman could not have had the impact she had on her husband, her family, and the world, without the daily discipline of prayer.

Winding along pathways surrounding Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Ruth’s Prayer Garden will offer a peaceful place for prayer and meditation amid the natural beauty and serenity of The Cove.

“My grandfather wanted this place to be known as a mountain of prayer,” says Will Graham, executive director of The Cove and grandson of Billy and Ruth. “There’s prayer going out all over The Cove, from our Intercessory Prayer Team to our staff prayers to our Personal Spiritual Retreats. There are so many needs facing us today, we can’t pray enough!”

“Like The Cove itself, this garden is designed to be an extension of my grandparents’ home at Montreat,” Will says.

With five children in the household, the Graham home was a place of laughter, activity, and the usual childhood scrapes and squabbles; but more importantly, it was a place of prayer.


“I would go down to her room late at night,” daughter Anne Graham Lotz remembers. “I would see the light on underneath the door and I’d go in, and she would be on her knees in prayer.”

Daughter Ruth Graham reflects, “Faith was the very heartbeat of life at Little Piney Cove. We began and ended each day as a family on our knees in prayer.”

Ruth’s Prayer Garden was created to honor and perpetuate this legacy of prayer.

The garden was also designed to be a reflection of Ruth’s love of nature and appreciation for the beauty of her North Carolina mountain home. Lucas Jack, horticulturist and supervisor of Grounds Maintenance at The Cove, explains how great care was taken to convey Ruth’s personality as a gardener and plant- lover. When asked about the process of planning and designing the gardenscape, Jack noted, “Everything that I know of Ruth Graham has been learned secondhand, which is difficult when trying to piece together a ‘botanical personality.’ I learned she really didn’t have dislikes but had a lot of favorites. She loved color and appreciated gardens in general, and we’ve tried to convey her botanical personality by including many of the plants and flowers she loved.”


Roses, daylilies, touch-me- nots will line the winding paths. “Our goal was not to overwhelm the visitor with the landscape,” Jack says, “but to allow them to enjoy the experience and feel as if they are part of it.”

Ruth’s love for color and beauty may have been the result of two strong childhood influences: her early childhood years in China as the daughter of medical missionaries, and her teen years in Montreat.

According to grandson Will, “My great-grandfather Nelson Bell loved gardens and gardening. He loved flowers and plants, and he used them to teach lessons to his children. When we work with our hands in a garden, God teaches us things.”

If she were here today, Ruth Bell Graham would probably agree. When you visit Ruth’s Prayer Garden, enjoy the view and take time to smell the roses; then bow your head and echo the disciples’ request to Jesus: “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1, NKJV)


We hope you’ll make plans to visit Ruth’s Prayer Garden at the Chatlos Memorial Chapel and Visitors Center.  Click here for directions and operating hours.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

The blog of the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove