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Franklin Graham Urges Christians to Pray for Husband of Fox News Host Greta Van Susteren Ahead of Open Heart Surgery

( [email protected] ) Apr 14, 2015 01:03 PM EDT

John Coale
(Photo : Samaritan's Purse)
Fox News host Greta Van Susteren and her husband, John Coale during a Samaritan's Purse trip.

Rev. Franklin Graham has asked Christians to pray for prominent lawyer John Coale, husband of Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, as he undergoes open heart surgery.

On Monday, Graham who is president and CEO of humanitarian organization Samaritan's Purse, took to Facebook to make his request.

"Greta Van Susteren's husband John Coale is having heart surgery tomorrow. Greta and John are great friends and supporters of Samaritan's Purse. John is Greta's soulmate, they do everything together. Open heart surgery is not for sissies. John is one tough man, so much so that my father wrote about him in his book, The Reason for My Hope; but there can always be issues. Pray for John-and let Greta know you're praying in the comments below. I believe in the power of prayer!"

As of Tuesday morning, over 230,000 people had "liked" Graham's post, and another 13,956 had shared it. Hundreds of others commented on the post, sharing words of encouragement and prayers for Van Susteren and her husband.

"Praying for John & Greta. May God watch over you and give you extra strength at this difficult time," wrote Brenda Luce.

"I too believe in prayer. I pray for your friend and the surgeon, nurses, anesthesiologist, cardiopulmonary perfusionist, ICU staff, and give thanks for loving, caring friends! God is Good! All the time! Grace and Peace!" wrote Susan Fox.

According to a recent report by the Washington Post, Coale, who has been battling throat cancer since 2013, is a legend among trial lawyers. The report notes that the attorney, who has since retired, is best known for his "aggressive pursuit of class-action clients and his willingness to take on corporate giants." In addition to numerous tobacco companies, his targets included Union Carbide in the aftermath of the 1984 gas leak in Bhopal, India, that killed thousands; and Imperial Foods, after the deadly 1991 fire at the company's chicken plant in North Carolina. He was also involved in a series of lawsuits aimed at the maker and prescribers of Ritalin, the drug widely used to treat ADHD in children.

Coale and Van Susteren, who wed in 1988, both adhere to Scientology, a controversial religion founded by American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard which "seeks self-knowledge and spiritual fulfillment through graded courses of study and training."

Despite their religious differences, both Franklin Graham and his father, renowned evangelist Billy Graham, have referred to Coale and Van Susteren as "close friends." The elder Graham has also expressed admiration for Coale's strength and courage in his book, "The Reason For My Hope."

Several years ago, the couple attended Billy Graham's 90th birthday party, and in March, the pair traveled alongside Franklin Graham to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, where the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will hold a Crusade at the end of next year.