Rev. Billy Graham will celebrate his 95th birthday this evening with a party and a nationally broadcasted sermon set to air at 9 p.m. on Fox News Channel. Numerous celebrities and political figures are expected to be among the crowd at Graham’s gala, including Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.
The sermon, titled My Hope America, is a half-hour film that Graham’s son, Franklin, says will be his father’s final address to the nation.
“My Hope has been used in many countries and hundreds of thousands of people have received Christ as savior,” Graham said. “Why not in America?”
Billy Graham is widely considered to be one of the most impactful evangelist in the history of the Christian church, having spoken to over 210 million people in 185 countries. He’s prayed with every U.S. President since Harry Truman and offered invocations at nine presidential inaugurations.[PICTURES: Billy Graham and The Presidents].
“The first thing I’m going to do when I get to heaven is ask, ‘Why me, Lord? Why did you choose a farm boy from North Carolina to preach to so many people?'” Graham said.
In his pre-recorded sermon tonight, Graham will express his grave concern for the direction of the United States.
“Our country’s in great need of a spiritual awakening,” Graham says in the video. “There have been times that I’ve wept as I’ve gone from city to city and I’ve seen how far people have wandered from God.”
Graham had a short stint in the hospital a couple of weeks ago for tests on his lungs, but his sister, Jean Ford, said recently that Graham’s as healthy as she’s seen him in years. He rarely descends from his mountaintop home in North Carolina. He will, however, make an appearance at tonight’s event, although he won’t be able to shake hands with the attendees.
When asked who she believes could be the “next Billy Graham,” Ford said he’s one-of-a-kind.
“That is my brother. He was God’s person for a special time in our history,” Ford said.
Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims