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Franklin Graham: My father is ready to go to Heaven

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Reverend Franklin Graham is asking for prayers for his father, Billy Graham, saying the internationally known evangelist is very weak.

Franklin Graham talked with WBTV's Coleen Harry at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport on Friday where Samaritan's Purse was preparing a shipment of supplies to Syrians refugees.

He says Reverend Billy Graham is doing "just okay" after he was hospitalized in late 2013, just after his 95th birthday.

"His vitals are good, but [he] just does not have strength," Franklin told WBTV. "For those that are watching, my father would appreciate your prayers."

Two weeks after Graham's party in November, he was hospitalized for two days for observation and lung tests. He had been hospitalized in October for pulmonary testing.

Graham uses a wheelchair and has been hospitalized for several health-related issues over the past few years.

"My father is ready to go to Heaven and whenever that day comes - he's ready," Franklin Graham said. "He's worked hard all of his life and faithful to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ his entire life. And so he's ready to go home and I'm praying that The Lord will leave him a little longer."

Graham says communication with his father has been limited due to his weakness.

"He knows when I'm in the room. He recognizes me," he said. "He'll say a few words to me but to be able to carry on a conversation - it's been difficult since Christmas."

Though he knows his father is ready for whatever awaits him, Franklin Graham says he has his own feeling about the future.

"We need him. He's a great father, been a great friend and just [pause] I enjoy having lunch with him every Sunday," he told WBTV. "I have my own personal reason for wanting him to stay around a long time."

While his father has become weaker, Graham reiterates that Reverend Billy Graham's vitals are good, according to his doctors.

"He can be this way for many months but he can also get his strength back and that's what I'm praying," he said. "It be God's will that he can get his strength back because we still have some work for him to do."

Graham says his father has started on another book and wants to be able to finish it.

On his 95th birthday, Graham released a video message as an online crusade. Franklin says the family hopes to release another one around Easter.

"We've got some other filming I'd like my father to do later this year, if he'll do it."

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