Billy Graham Hospitalized in North Carolina; Prayers, Well-Wishes Pour In

Evangelist Billy Graham was admitted to Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., today for evaluation and treatment on his lungs. As news of "America's evangelist" being hospitalized emerged Wednesday, supporters from around the nation offered prayers and well-wishes.

"Upon admittance, he was alert, smiling and waving at hospital staff," read a press release from the hospital regarding Graham's admittance, which was also published on the Billy Graham Evangelical Association's website.

According to the North Carolina preacher's personal physician, Dr. Lucian Rice, Graham's condition is stable and was being treated for pneumonia by Dr. Mark Hellreich.

Graham was previously hospitalized for pneumonia in May of this year.

It was unclear when Graham would be discharged from Mission Hospital, and it was noted that the evangelist is "looking forward to returning home to spend the upcoming Christmas holidays with his family."

Merrell Gregory, a representative with Mission Hospital, declined to offer further details on Graham's condition when contacted by The Christian Post.

At news of Graham being hospitalized, well wishes have poured in on BEGA's website.

"What a truly great man of God...this country will never see a leader like Billy again, he in my opinion is in the top 5 Americans to have ever lived...I will be always thankful and in prayer for you brother Graham," wrote Randy.

Evelyne: "Wishing you quick recovery. God bless u man of God. wishing u happy x mass. Blessings."

Sheila left a short prayer for Graham: "I ask you Lord to touch Pastor Graham in Jesus Name I pray to heal him. Amen!!"

Dianne: "We love Dr. Graham and all of the family and are praying for his quick recovery. He is like family to us."

Darla: "Praying that Dr. Graham will be able to return home soon. God bless you."

Phil: "Bless you Billy. The Lord knows and has you in His hands. Our prayers go up for you, to Him knowing that he hears listens and acts. We love you Billy."

Graham recently celebrated his 93rd birthday, which came weeks after the publication of his 30th book, Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well, in which the evangelist reflects on aging.

In Nearing Home, he writes: "I never thought I would live to be this old. All my life I was taught how to die as a Christian, but no one ever taught me how I ought to live in the years before I die. I wish they had because I am an old man now, and believe me, it's not easy."

Graham spends as much time as he can with his family, including weekly lunches with his son, Franklin, who heads the BGEA. He also occasionally entertains friends and other Christian leaders, according to the ministry. Graham's priority, however, is reading Scripture and praying.

Ordained in 1939 by a church in the Southern Baptist Convention, Graham was said to have taken Christ's call in Mark 16:15 to preach the Gospel to the world literally.

Becoming world-renowned for his open stadium evangelism crusades, Graham has preached the Gospel to nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories, according to his official biography. Graham's messages have also impacted millions more through television, video, film and webcasts.

According to a study released by Barna Group on Nov. 21, 41 percent of American adults were unable to identify who they believe to be the most influential Christian leader in the nation today. The most mentioned individual, however, was Graham, who was named by 19 percent of adults.

Graham, who was born William F. Graham Nov. 7, 1918, in Charlotte, N.C., lost his wife Ruth in 2007. The Grahams have five children and numerous grandchildren.

Graham has said that he would like to preach one last sermon before he dies.