- (Photo: BGEA / Russ Busby, File)
World renowned preacher Billy Graham is spending the weekend receiving several family members at his home in North Carolina to celebrate his 91st birthday.
"I've experienced God's gracious love in a personal way all these years," Graham said in his reflection. "Today my heart is filled with gratitude to the Lord for all He has done for me, and for all the prayers from so many people over the years."
According to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Graham is still in good health though dealing with various age-related conditions such as macular degeneration and hearing loss.
He exercises daily, taking short walks at his mountain home with the aid of a walker to keep his balance.
He also remains involved in the work of the BGEA, the ministry he founded 60 years ago and that is now led by his son, Franklin.
"Although my health now keeps me mostly at home, Franklin and our BGEA team continue proclaiming God's love and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to lost people in many places around the world," said Graham.
Graham is also still involved in writing projects and spends time each morning and evening in prayer with friends, family and BGEA staff.
His pastor, Dr. Don Wilton of First Baptist Church, Spartanburg, S.C., also visits weekly for times of prayer and encouragement.
As he enters his tenth decade, Graham said he continued to miss his late wife and lifelong partner Ruth Bell Graham, who passed away in June 2007.
"While I know God keeps me here for a purpose, I look forward to the time when I will be reunited with Ruth in Heaven," Graham said.
"However, I am enjoying this season of life, watching my children and grandchildren – and now even my great-grandchildren – grow more fully into their own ministries. It is another blessing of these senior years," he added.
Having preached to over 210 million people in over 185 countries, Graham is believed to have spoken face-to-face with more people in more places than anyone in history. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film, and webcasts.
The evangelist has been regularly listed by the Gallup organization as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men in the World,” making an unparalleled 51 appearances and 44 consecutive appearances since 1948. He has also appeared on the covers of Time, Newsweek, Life, U.S. News and World Report, Parade, and numerous other magazines and has been the subject of many newspaper and magazine feature articles and books.
Graham officially marks his 91st birthday on Saturday.