Evangelist Billy Graham's son, Franklin Graham, said his father has been weak since celebrating his 95th birthday in November. A couple of weeks ago, Graham was hospitalized for respiratory problems.
Although a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association spokesman said Graham does not appear to be in any imminent danger, Franklin Graham is requesting prayers for his father---and members of First Baptist Church of Knoxville are joining many Christians across the world in answering the request.
"Here in our church we believe in the power of prayer," said First Baptist Church's Minister of Pastoral Care, Dave Ward.
Ward led the congregation in a prayer Wednesday night. In addition to praying for ill members of the First Baptist Church congregation, Ward also included Graham praying in part, "Especially tonight we mention the name of one who's been a friend to all of us throughout the world, the name of Billy Graham. How he has won. How he has taught. How he has loved. How he has prayed for all of us. And so we pray for him tonight collectively and individually. May thy healing power be upon him tonight through Your love and care. But above all, we ask that Your will be done."
Ward said he's known Graham for many years and has several memories of the minister.
"It's been interesting to me to see and to watch him through the years. And I particularly remember him well when he and his whole team came to Knoxville in the early '70s for a revival here of a month. But I remember particularly singing in the choir," said Ward.
Although church members are saddened by Graham's current condition, they said they know he is in good hands.
"If he does recover from this then we can say God is not quite through with him. He still has something for him to do. If God does take him home, then we know he is hearing those words, 'Well done good and faithful servant,'" said Pam Neal, minister of administration/
A spokesman for Graham said the evangelist is at his North Carolina home.