Evangelist Rev. Billy Graham has preached to millions of people around the world, including President Donald Trump.
President Donald Trump honored the life and influence of the global evangelist Wednesday.
"Melania and I join millions of people around the world in mourning the passing of Billy Graham," the president wrote in a statement. "Our prayers are with his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all who worked closely with Reverend Graham in his lifelong ministry."
"Billy's unshakeable belief in the power of God's word to transform hearts gave hope to all who listened to his simple message: 'God loves you,'" he continued. "He carried this message around the world through his crusades, bringing entire generations to faith in Jesus Christ."
Wednesday afternoon, the White House released President Trump's proclamation on Graham's passing.
"As a mark of respect for the memory of Reverend Billy Graham, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that on the day of his interment, the flag of the United States shall be flown at half‑staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on such day. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations."
CBN News Chief Political Correspondent David Brody reports that when Trump was a young boy, he would watch Billy Graham's crusades with his father.
That account is detailed in the new book, The Faith of Donald J. Trump, co-written by Brody and journalist Scott Lamb.
"He and Fred would watch or listen to Billy Graham's sermons – either in the Hour of Decision radio format or the Billy Graham TV Classics that are broadcast on cable," Brody and Lamb wrote.
And a strong connection between the Trumps and Grahams developed over the years.
Trump has personally gotten to know the family through his friendship with Evangelist Franklin Graham.
Brody reports, "In November 2013, he and Melania attended an invitation-only ninety-fifth birthday party celebration for Billy Graham."
"Melania and I were privileged to get to know Reverend Graham and his extraordinary family over the last several years, and we are deeply grateful for their love and support," Trump said in his statement.
And Franklin Graham prayed during the presidential inauguration last January and continues to advise the president.
"Thank God we have a president who stands for truth and is not afraid to speak truth to the whole world," Graham wrote in a Facebook post last year, referring to President Trump's speech at the UN. "It made you proud to be an American. I hope you will join me in praying for this man, that God will guide and direct him."
Meanwhile, First Lady Melania Trump also shared her condolences after Billy Graham's death:
Saddened by the loss of Evangelist Billy Graham. He led an impactful life, touching so many people with his spiritual teachings. He will be deeply missed.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) February 21, 2018
The president honors Graham for the "special man" he was.
"He was one of the towering figures of the last 100 years—an American hero whose life and leadership truly earned him the title God's Ambassador,'" Trump continued.
"Billy Graham was truly one of a kind. Christians and people of all faiths and backgrounds will miss him dearly. We are thinking of him today, finally at home in Heaven," he added.