"We value your prayers -- in fact, we depend on them."
Billy Graham, the American Christian Evangelist, celebrated his 95th birthday in Asheville, N.C. last month but, according to his son, Franklin Graham, his health "has declined quite a bit in the last few days."
Last month, Graham, who has been ill for a number of years, was hospitalized two days with a respiratory issue. In October, he had been hospitalized for pulmonary testing.
Speaking at a Christmas charity event last Friday at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, Franklin said, "He just hasn't been able to get his strength back. His vitals are good, but he's just extremely weak."
Franklin requested prayer for his father on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's website yesterday, writing, "Our family would appreciate your prayers for him that the Lord would strengthen him."
"Only the Lord knows what is in store as we move forward in service to Him," he added.
Billy Graham began his missionary work in 1944, speaking at rallies for the Youth for Christ/Campus Life ministry. Since then, he has conducted more than 400 crusades in 185 countries and territories on six continents.
Graham has served as a spiritual adviser to several presidents and began to support integrated seating at his crusades during the civil rights movement. In the 1960s, he bailed Martin Luther King, Jr. out of jail when he was arrested in demonstrations.
"My one purpose in life," Graham once said, "is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ."
According to ABC News, spokesman Mark DeMoss reports that Graham is currently at his home in Montreat, N.C., and does not appear to be in any imminent danger.
image via: Wikimedia Commons