Billy Graham

Newsweek Aug. 14, 2006 issue - Earlier this summer, on a warm Carolina evening, Billy Graham awoke in the middle of the night. He had been asleep in his bedroom at the end of a long hall off the main part of the log house he and his wife, Ruth, have lived in for 50 years.

At 87 Graham uses a hospital bed; Ruth ("that angel in there," he calls her) sleeps next door.

On one night, Graham lay in the darkness, trying to recite the 23rd Psalm from memory. He begins: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want ... " Then, for a moment, he loses the thread. "I missed a sequence, and that disturbed me," Graham recalls. It was frustrating—the man who has preached the Gospel to more human beings than anyone in history does not like to forget critical verses of the Bible—but in the end the last line comes back to him: "Surely thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Relieved, he drifts back to sleep.

"All my life I've been taught how to die, but no one ever taught me how to grow old."

Graham's daughter Anne said: "When you get older, secondary things, like politics, begin to fall away, and the primary thing becomes primary again, the primary thing is, as Jesus said, to try to love God totally, and to love our neighbor as ourselves."