The Billy Graham Library in North Carolina recently revealed a poem by U2 frontman Bono in which the raspy-voiced rocker suggests that Graham played a significant role in his finding faith as a teenager.
The letter, which was written in 2002, was displayed to coincide with U2's new album release, titled "Songs of Innocence."
The poem reads:
The journey from Father to friend
is all paternal loves end
It was sung in my teenage ears
In the voice of a preacher
loudly soft on my tears
I would never forget this
Or its lyric voice that gave my life
a meaning that wasn't there before
a child born in dung and straw
wish the Father's love and desire to explain
how we might get on with each other again...
To the Rev Billy Graham (that preacher)
Ruth and all the Graham family
From Bono (March 11 2002)
With much love and respect
The Irish rockstar has previously honored Graham, giving tribute to the world-famous evangelist in the introduction to a song, 'Thank you Billy Graham', saying: "At a time when religion seems so often to get in the way of God's work with its shopping mall sales pitch and its bumper sticker reductionism, I give thanks just for the sanity of Billy Graham for that clear empathetic voice of his, in that Southern Accent, part poet part preacher, a singer of the human spirit, I would say. I give thanks for Billy Graham. Thank you, Billy Graham."
Bono often talks about his Christian faith and includes spiritual themes in many of his songs. In a 2013 interview with Irish news channel RTE, Bono expressed a belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ:
"[Who is Christ] is a defining question for a Christian...you're not let off easily by saying a great thinker or philosopher...he went around saying he was the Messiah...he was crucified...because he said he was the son of God. He either was the son of God...or nuts...[and] I find it hard to accept that millions of lives... have felt their lives touched and inspired by some nut. I don't believe it."
Later, in an interview with Focus on the Family's Jim Daly, Bono revealed Christianity's future influence on his music. "It's very annoying following this Person of Christ around [chuckling], because He's very demanding of your life."
Thus far, over 33 million iTunes users have accessed U2's latest album, Songs of Innocence, which the company gave away for free at last week's iPhone 6 and Apple Watch launch.