updated 11/08/2013 AT 8:45 AM ET
•originally published 11/08/2013 AT 10:15 AM ET
Billy Graham has prayed with every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, and inspired millions to follow Christ. This week, he delivered his final sermon – a video message he presented Thursday at his 95th birthday party – in which he looks into an uncertain future for the nation.
“Our country’s in great need of a spiritual awakening,” he says in the video, titled “My Hope America.” “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.”
He adds: “With all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth – that [Christ] loves you [and is] willing to forgive you of all your sins.”
Sarah Palin, Donald Trump and North Carolina governor Pat McCrory were among the well-wishers at the birthday celebration – held at Graham’s mountaintop home outside Asheville – and the first to hear Graham’s final words of faith. “This will be my father’s last message to the nation,” his son, Franklin Graham, told USA Today. “He won’t be able to do this again.”
The 30-minute video also aired Thursday on Fox News and has been posted to the channel’s website. It will be played on dozens of Christian TV stations this week and at churches nationwide.
Graham has been in frail health in recent years. Franklin Graham told USA Today that his father’s mind is clear but he tires easily.
“Sometimes I try to get him out to get a hamburger, just to get him out of the house,” Franklin says. “He’ll look at me half-disgusted and say, ‘Wait until you turn 95.’ ”