Luis Palau
Luis Palau

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Argentine evangelist Luis Palau is convinced Pope Francis is a friend to the charismatic church—and to him.

As rumors began circulating that the first Latin American pope is also Spirit-filled, Palau told an audience at the Fort Lauderdale Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast on Thursday morning in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that he has prayed with Pope Francis several times over the years.

“Pope Francis once told me some people are religious on the outside. They have been sprinkled but they are not reborn,” Palau, 78, said. “Give them the good news of Jesus Christ. I think he’s going to take that worldwide now that he’s in the Vatican.”

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who now goes by the name Pope Francis, hails from the same nation as Palau. Palau has preached the gospel for more than 50 years to more than 1 billion people around the world. Some call him the Latin American Billy Graham.

When he heard a fellow Argentine was named pope, he told The Oregonian, “I exploded. I just couldn't believe it. In the last election, he was in the running but he told me he felt led by God to remove himself from the race. "I said, 'Maybe next time,' and he said, 'I'll be too old.'"

Known as the “evangelical pope,” Francis has invited Palau to lay hands on him in prayer. Palau says, “Whenever we pray together, he says, 'lay your hands on me and pray for me, that God will keep me as servant.' He is respectful of all sides of Christianity."

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