As Franklin Graham travels around the world sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, many have often asked the evangelist about his dad, Billy Graham. At Franklin's most recent stop in Juneau, Alaska, on July 1, he opened the prayer rally by sharing greetings from his father.
"He doesn't think anybody remembers who he is," Franklin said with a laugh, "so he'll say, 'If you meet anybody who remembers me, tell 'em hello.'"
"He's 97 years old," Franklin Graham shared at another recent Decision America stop in Olympia, Washington. "When he was 90, he told all of us he was gonna live to 95. When he approached 95, he moved the goalpost. He said, 'I'm now gonna live to be a hundred.' ... I hope he does."
Billy Graham was a spiritual adviser to American presidents; he was particularly close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson (one of Graham's closest friends) and Richard Nixon. He insisted on integration for his revivals and crusades in 1953 and invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to preach jointly at a revival in New York City in 1957. Graham bailed King out of jail in the 1960s when King was arrested in demonstrations. He was also lifelong friends with another televangelist, Robert H. Schuller, whom Graham talked into doing his own television ministry.
Graham operates a variety of media and publishing outlets. According to his staff, more than 3.2 million people have responded to the invitation at Billy Graham Crusades to "accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior". As of 2008, Graham's estimated lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped 2.2 billion. Because of his crusades, Graham has preached the gospel to more people in person than anyone in the history of Christianity.
Franklin shared some more details about Billy Graham in his most recent letter to friends and supporters of the BGEA. Here is an excerpt from that letter:
Many ask about my father. He is still in his own home and often eats meals at the kitchen table, as he has always done. Approaching age 98, he lives with limitations typical of old age-his eyesight is very poor, his hearing is not good, and he uses a wheelchair. Someone is with him in the house at all times.
One of the things he enjoys is sitting on the front porch and looking out over the mountains on days when the weather is good and he feels up to it. He watches news with the help of a large-screen TV. His ministry now is praying, and he looks forward to reports of what God is doing around the world. He always responds by saying "Praise the Lord" as he points upward.