Photography: Absolute Publicity

The country music star praises the beloved evangelist as a man who “lived his life intentionally to honor Christ.”

After hearing about the news Wednesday about the passing of Billy Graham, his longtime friend, country music icon Ricky Skaggs released the following statement:

“I was up early this morning having my prayer time and Bible reading when I heard the news of Dr. Graham's passing. The first thing I did was to thank God for sending Billy Graham into this world. My youngest daughter Molly gave her life to Jesus watching him on TV during one of his Crusades. It’s a story of millions of people just like Molly that came to Christ listening to Dr. Graham’s simple message of God’s love and forgiveness.

“There has never been an evangelist in our lifetime that has had the Christian integrity in ministry that Dr. Graham had. It was because he lived his life intentionally to honor Christ. He had righteous Godly men around him all the time, praying for him and praying with him every day. He set up safeguards for his life as a husband, a father, and his life as a minister of the gospel. His ministry reflected his personal life and his personal life reflected his ministry. What a concept!

“He was above reproach, and he lived there always, because he never wanted to give anyone the slightest hint of doubt that he wasn't who he said he was. His desire, first and foremost, was to honor the Lord Jesus Christ with his whole heart. He knew who he was and he knew Whose he was. He knew he was a beloved son, yet calling himself a sinner. Hard to imagine, but humility will do that to you. He believed the words of John the Baptist, when John said of Jesus, ‘He must increase and I must decrease,’ great words to live by.

“I'm so thankful that I got know Dr. Graham and do some of his Crusades. The first one I did was in Columbus, Ohio at a baseball field. I was up on stage singing some songs and it was pouring down the rain, big sheets of rain. I thought, all these people will go home, no one could sit through this storm, but no one left, some had umbrellas but most of them didn’t. Then all of a sudden, I looked and they were bringing Dr. Graham toward the stage in a covered golf cart, it stopped raining, it completely stopped. I knew then the favor of the Lord was on this man.

“I’m so grateful for the friendships I've made with the Graham family. [Franklin Graham, Rev. Graham’s son] is one of my dearest friends. I’m thankful that they allowed me and my family to come visit Dr. Graham and sing some songs, eat a hot dog, and pray with him at his home in Montreat, NC.

The scripture says ‘a man's gift makes way for him, and brings him before great and mighty men.’ From President Truman to President Trump, 13 Presidents, Queen Elizabeth and countless other leaders of many nations, Dr. Graham’s message has never changed. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever shall believe in Him shall never perish but shall have everlasting life.’

“Dr. Graham did not die, he just changed his address!”

Explore:EntertainmentMusic