Billy Graham Dies at Age 99
A spokesman is reporting that evangelist Rev. Billy Graham has died at age 99 at his home in North Carolina.
Graham’s ministry transformed America’s religious life and reached around the world. He eventually became a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history.
Spokesman Mark DeMoss says Graham, who long suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments, died at his home in North Carolina on Wednesday morning.
William Franklin Graham was born November 7th,1918, four days before the end of World War I.
Raised on a dairy farm during the Depression, he developed a strong work ethic, a work ethic that is quite evident through six decades of ministry.
Rev. Gaham shared the gospel of Jesus Christ to nearly 215 million people in live audiences in more than 185 countries and territories.
Hundreds of millions more have been reached through radio, television, film, books and the internet.
Billy Graham gave his heart to Jesus Christ at 16. His profound conversion happened under the ministry of traveling evangelist Mordecai Ham.
Answering God’s call to the ministry, he was ordained in 1939 by a church in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Four years later, he graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois, where he met and married his wife, Ruth.
“All I remember is going back home and kneeling down that night and saying, Lord, if you’d let me spend the rest of my life with that man, I would consider it the greatest privilege,” Ruth Graham once said. “And fortunately, I didn’t know what I was praying. If I’d know what lay ahead, I wouldn’t have had the nerve to pray a prayer like that.”
Billy Graham gained his primary evangelistic experience on radio, and then through Youth for Christ, an organization founded to minister to young people and servicemen during World War II.
Following the war, Graham preached throughout the United States and Europe.
His ministry with Youth for Christ opened doors for a series of interdenominational city-wide campaigns in the late 40s.
Graham’s Los Angeles Crusade in 1949 brought international recognition. Originally scheduled for three weeks, the meetings were extended to more than eight weeks.
“In the city of Los Angeles, the largest tent ever erected for a revival meeting is now complete,” the news media reported at the time.
The tent seated 6,500 people, and several thousands more stood around the sides.
Graham’s team established prayer chains throughout the city to intercede for the crusade.
One prayer warrior, known as Mrs. Edwards, felt a supernatural compulsion to call the legendary newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst and tell him about Billy Graham.
From that call, Hearst issued the now famous command, “puff Graham,” which means highly promote this man.
The Los Angeles crusade became front page news. That led to overflow crowds and extended runs for many of the crusades that followed.