Gravely Ailing Chuck Colson Surrounded in Prayer

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Prayers are continuing to pour in for Prison Fellowship Ministries founder Chuck Colson, whose health has taken a turn for the worse.

Family gathered around his bedside Wednesday, after doctors advised them to say their final goodbyes.

"Dear Friends: It is with a heavy, but hopeful heart that I share with you that it appears our friend, brother, and founder will soon be home with the Lord," Jim Liske, CEO of Prison Fellowship Ministries, told ministry staff and supporters Wednesday morning.

Christian leaders around the country have been responding with overwhelming support.

Offer your prayers for Chuck Colson and his family here.

"What a treasure this man is in the kingdom," Joni Eareckson Tada said in a post on her "Joni and Friends" ministry website for the disabled.

The call for prayer was accompanied by a photo of her and Colson the day he was rushed to the hospital.

"He is the voice of a prophet to our society, constantly calling the people of this nation to repentance, to safeguarding the sanctity of life, religious liberties, and the institution of marriage," she continued. "Ask God to comfort and encourage his wife Patty and the family."

Colson, who founded Prison Fellowship Ministries in 1976, has been a strong voice for conservative values like traditional marriage and pro-life ideals.

"For nearly four decades, Chuck Colson has been used greatly by God to advance the Gospel, comfort prisoners and show compassion to their families, and stand for truth in the public arena," Family Research Council Senior Vice President Rob Schwarzwalder told The Christian Post.

Others made their thoughts known on Facebook and Twitter. By Thursday, the hashtag #ChuckColson had numerous posts.

Rick Warren asked his Twitter followers to join him in prayer for his "close friend and ministry partner."

Atheist-turned-Christian writer Lee Strobel also tweeted, "Chuck Colson may pass soon. Great leader, great thinker, great Christian, great friend. Well done, faithful servant."

"Pray much with me for Chuck Colson until we can celebrate whatever way our Father's goodness toward Chuck is accomplished Rom 8:28 indeed," wrote Texas pastor Todd Wagner.

A place was made on Colson's Facebook page for friends and supporters to leave messages of encouragement.

"To Pastor Colson: I have listened to you for years," a poster named Jim wrote. "I have traveled all over this nation, and you've been a tremendous blessing, encouragement, and teacher to me. Praying Father God's will be done for you... Thank you for everything."

"I just want to say how very grateful I am for Chuck's clarity of thought," another named Bonnie said. "...Powerful thinker. Man of God. So glad God used him in the way He did."

Colson, 80, had surgery March 31 to remove clotted blood from the surface of his brain. Shortly after the surgery his health worsened. But until Tuesday, Colson had been showing signs of improvement.

The influential Christian leader was speaking at a conference March 30 when, according to author Eric Metaxas who was at the event, Colson suddenly "looked unsteady."

"While we had seen some hopeful signs for Chuck's recovery - including his ability to talk happily with Patty and the kids - it seems that God may be calling him home," Liske said in his statement to staff and supporters.

"I cannot tell you how much your prayers, cards, and well-wishes have meant to Patty and the family-and to Chuck," he continued. "He loves you all deeply, and I know that his greatest desire beyond seeing Jesus is that the work he and all of us have been called to will continue."

"As Chuck would say, 'Remain at your posts and do your duty-for the glory of God and His kingdom.'" he said.

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