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GREAT HEALING REVIVALISTS HOW GOD’S POWER CAME

By Andrew Strom

The Greek words for “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) should be translated, “be being filled with the Spirit.” In other words, we are to be constantly seeking God so that we will become more and more full of His Holy Spirit. Some people believe that we Christians only receive one infilling of God’s Spirit in our lifetime. Such people may be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong.

This article is about men and women of God who were not satisfied with an initial token of God’s grace or presence in their lives. They were hungry for more, and in their desperation for greater and greater depths in God, they smashed through every barrier and overthrew every obstacle to experience an ever greater measure of God’s holy presence and glory, and to gain an anointing the like of which has rarely been seen since the days of the Apostles.

It was more of Jesus that they were hungering after, and He did not disappoint them, though the road was often narrow and winding. It was a path that few cared to travel. But it was simply not enough to be Spirit-baptised and speaking in tongues. They had to be endued with power from on high, baptised with the Holy Spirit and with fire. They had to see God glorified in their day, in the most profound way possible. They could not bear to live any longer, the way things were. Where was the power, where was the glory of apostolic days? Driven onward by God, they took it upon themselves to find out. And so with fasting, prayer, agonizing travail, and wrestling such as Jacob had with God, with ridding their lives not only of their sins but also of their fleshly, soulish ways (the ways of man’s strength and man’s power), they battled on, right into the very Throne Room of God. By the time they got there they were truly broken and humbled men and women, true possessors of “clean hands and a pure heart.” And He met them there in the most profound way. Tell me, friend, do you hunger and thirst after more of God? Is it your one desire to love Him with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul and all your strength? Do you desire to see Him glorified on the earth to the highest possible degree?

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

SMITH WIGGLESWORTH (1859-1947)

Smith Wigglesworth was without a doubt one of the most anointed men of God that has lived in recent times. He was known as the Apostle of Faith, and if anyone deserved to be described as “full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,” it was he. He lived and walked continually in the presence of God, and the miracles that accompanied his ministry were of the sort that have seldom been seen since the days of the Apostles. People born blind and deaf, cripples twisted and deformed by disease, others at death’s door with cancer and sickness of every kind were all healed by the mighty power of God. Even the dead were raised.

Born into poverty in 1859, Smith Wigglesworth was converted by the Methodists at eight years of age. Even then, he was hungry for God and hungry for souls. He was in the choir of the local Episcopal Church. “When most of the boys in the choir were twelve years of age they had to be Chapter 7 – Great Healing Revivalists 60 09/01/15

confirmed by the bishop. I was not twelve, but between nine and ten, when the bishop laid his hands on me. I can remember that as he imposed his hands I had a similar experience to the one I had forty years later when I was baptised in the Holy Spirit. My whole body was filled with the consciousness of God’s presence, a consciousness that remained with me for days. After the confirmation service all the other boys were swearing and quarrelling, and I wondered what had made the difference between them and me.” (Stanley Frodsham, “Smith Wigglesworth, Apostle of Faith,” p. 13. Most of the following quotes are also taken from this excellent book.)

Later, Wigglesworth was fully immersed in water by the Baptists. But please remember that all of his early years of ministry and seeking God came well before the Azusa Street Revival and the early Pentecostal movement. He had a hunger after God and experienced many breakthroughs into new levels of anointing even well before he experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. He was already renowned for his healing ministry and had seen God move in great power well before the new Pentecostal experience was being talked about. Unlike us today, who basically begin with baptism in the Spirit as our first real anointing, for Wigglesworth this was the culmination of years of seeking and hungering after God, and so it was much closer to a real New Testament endowment of “power from on high.”

Wigglesworth said, “I had the grounding in Bible teaching among the Plymouth Brethren. I marched under the Blood and Fire banner of the Salvation Army, learning to win souls in the open air. I received the second blessing of sanctification and a clean heart under the teaching of Reader Harris and the Pentecostal League. I claimed the gift of the Holy Spirit by faith as I waited ten days before the Lord. But in Sunderland, in 1907, I knelt before God and had an (Acts 2:4) experience” (p. 119). He described this experience as follows: “She (Mrs. Boddy, a minister’s wife) laid her hands on me and then had to go out of the room. The fire fell. It was a wonderful time as I was there with God alone. He bathed me in power. I was conscience of the cleansing of the precious blood, and I cried out: ‘Clean! Clean! Clean!’ I was filled with the joy of the consciousness of the cleansing. I was given a vision in which I saw the Lord Jesus Christ. I beheld the empty cross, and I saw Him exalted at the right hand of God the Father. I could speak no longer in English, but I began to praise Him in other tongues as the Spirit of God gave me utterance. I knew then, although I might have received anointings previously, that now, at last, I had received the real baptism in the Holy Spirit as they received on the day of Pentecost” (p. 44).

After this experience, there was no stopping Smith Wigglesworth. He was a flame for God, and the fire fell wherever he went. He said, “I believe God’s ministers are to be flames of fire. Nothing less than flames. Nothing less than mighty instruments, with burning messages, with hearts full of love. They must have a depth of consecration, that God has taken full charge of the body, and it exists only that it may manifest the glory of God. A baptism into death in which the person is purified and energized…” He was certainly possessor of an audacity, a daring, a boldness the like of which has rarely been seen in Christendom in modern times. It was not uncommon for him to announce in his meetings, “Every sermon that Christ preached was prefaced by a model miracle. We are going to follow His example. The first person in this large audience that stands up, whatever his or her sickness, I’ll pray for that one and God will deliver him or her.” And the first person to stand, even if they were the most deformed cripple, would be healed!

On another typical occasion, a man came forward for prayer for stomach pain, and commanding the pain to be gone, Wigglesworth punched the man in the stomach so hard that he was sent halfway across the room. He was completely healed! This kind of thing happened more than once. He believed in commanding the sick to be healed in Jesus’ name. His was an aggressive, holy faith. He was a “violent” man, taking ground from the devil by force. And yet he was also a

man of great compassion, as well as of great authority. The devil certainly felt it when Smith Wigglesworth hit town!

A number of people were also raised literally from the dead under his ministry. Here is his own account of one occasion: “My friend said, ‘She is dead.’ He was scared. I have never seen a man so frightened in my life. ‘What shall I do?’ he asked. You may think that what I did was absurd, but I reached over into the bed and pulled her out. I carried her across the room, stood her against the wall and held her up, as she was absolutely dead. I looked into her face and said, ‘In the name of Jesus I rebuke this death.’ From the crown of her head to the soles of her feet her whole body began to tremble. ‘In the name of Jesus, I command you to walk,’ I said. I repeated, ‘In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, walk!’ and she walked” (p. 59). Not only was this woman raised from the dead, but she was instantly healed from a terrible illness also. She began to testify to people of her death experience and restoration. It has been recorded that Wigglesworth raised a total of 23 people from the dead over the years of his ministry.

One time when Smith was waiting at a bus stop, a woman was having trouble getting her small dog, which had followed her, to go home. First she tried sweet-talking it, and asking it to please go home. But after a while of trying this to no avail, the woman suddenly stamped her foot and said severely: “Go home at once!” The dog immediately took off home, with its tail between its legs. “That’s how you have to treat the devil,” said Wigglesworth, loudly enough for all those waiting at the bus stop to hear. And this was his attitude toward the devil, every moment of every waking day. He literally travelled the world in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and thousands were saved and healed everywhere he went. Often he would arrive in a place almost unknown and unheralded, but within days there would be thousands thronging to hear, the power of God demonstrated in his meetings was so great. God was truly glorified everywhere he went.

He was a man who walked and lived in the very presence of God and yet, in many ways he was a very natural, down-to-earth man. Neither was he afraid of issuing the odd stern rebuke. His object was to be in constant, unbroken communion with the Father. He had spent hours and days fervently seeking God in his early years, but later, “Although his life was a combination of incessant prayer and praise, and every word and work was an act of worship, he was not given to protracted periods of fasting and prayer” (p. 122). Instead, he had learned the secret of being in continuous, intimate communion with God (sometimes withdrawing quietly into himself for this purpose), even when he was in a crowd of people. He walked by faith, and he was “in the Spirit” at all times. This was one vital secret to his success. He said, “There are two sides to this baptism: The first is, you possess the Spirit; the second is that the Spirit possesses you.” (See Jack Hywel-Davies, “The Life of Smith Wigglesworth.”) He had counted the cost, and everything was God’s. He was a man who truly understood godly authority, and he walked in it by faith. He said, “Be filled with the Spirit, i.e., be crammed with the Spirit, so filled that there will be no room left for anything else.” That was the way he lived, full of audacity, full of daring, “full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.”

On one occasion, he recalled, “I was traveling to Cardiff in South Wales. I had been much in prayer on the journey. The carriage was full of people whom I knew to be unsaved, but as there was so much talking and joking I could not get in a word for my Master. As the train was nearing the station, I thought I would wash my hands…and as I returned to the carriage, a man jumped up and said, ‘Sir, you convince me of sin,’ and fell on his knees there and then. Soon the whole carriage of people were crying out the same way. They said, ‘Who are you? What are you? You convince us all of sin’” (Stanley Frodsham, “Smith Wigglesworth, Apostle of Faith,” p. 80). This episode reminds me very much of another bold, forthright, and anointed evangelist, Charles Finney (1792-1875). He had found that after a mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit some years earlier, even passing comments he made pierced people to the heart with conviction of sin. He went on to become one of the greatest revivalists of all time.

JOHN G. LAKE (1870-1935)

John G. Lake was known as God’s “Apostle to Africa.” Born in Canada in 1870, his family soon relocated to the United States, where he grew up. His healing and preaching ministry spanned the years 1898 (when he saw his wife instantly healed under the ministry of John Alexander Dowie) until his death in 1935. In 1908, God sent him to Africa, where his anointed miracle ministry resulted in what has been described as “the most extensive and powerful missionary movement in all Africa.” As Gordon Lindsay wrote, “During that time he spent five history-making years in South Africa, engaged in a ministry which in some respects rivalled that of the Early Church.” Upon his return to America, Lake established a ministry in Spokane, Washington, which resulted in no less than 100,000 astounding miracles of healing within the space of five or six years. He then established a similar work in Portland, Oregon, which also attracted widespread attention.

Like Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake had already experienced mighty breakthroughs, powerful anointings, and a real calling from God for many years before Azusa Street and the Pentecostal Revival. The following is a condensed account of the spiritual hunger and preparation that Lake was taken through by God, near the beginning of the most anointed period of his ministry. (Taken from the book, “John G. Lake, Apostle to Africa,” compiled by Gordon Lindsay, and told in Lake’s own words)

“Eight years had passed after God revealed Jesus the Healer to me. I had been practicing the ministry of healing. During that eight years every answer to prayer, every miraculous touch of God, every response of my own soul to the Spirit had created within me a more intense longing for an intimacy and a consciousness of God, like I felt the disciples of Jesus and the Primitive Church had possessed. Shortly after my entrance into the ministry of healing, while attending a service where the necessity for the baptism of the Spirit was presented, as I knelt in prayer and reconsecration to God, an anointing of the Spirit came upon me. Waves of holy glory passed through my being, and I was lifted into a new consciousness of God’s presence and power. I ministered for a number of years in the power of this anointing. Answers to prayer were frequent and miracles of healing occurred from time to time. I felt myself on the borderland of a great spiritual realm, but was unable to enter in fully, so my nature was not satisfied with the attainment” (p. 16).

“Hundreds and hundreds of people were healed by the power of God during this ten years, and I could feel the conscious flow of the Holy Spirit through my soul and my hands. But at the end of that ten years, I believe I was the hungriest man for God that ever lived. There was such a hunger for God that as I left my offices in Chicago, and walked down the street, my soul would break out, and I would cry, ‘Oh God!’ I have had people stop and look at me in wonder. It was the yearning passion of my soul, asking for God in a greater measure than I knew. But my friends would say, ‘Mr. Lake, you have a beautiful baptism of the Holy Ghost.’ Yes, it was nice as far as it went, but it was not answering the cry of my heart. I was growing up into a larger understanding of God, and my own soul’s need. My soul was demanding a greater entrance into God, His love, presence and power. And then one day an old man strolled into my office, sat down, and in the next half hour, he revealed more of the knowledge of God to my soul than I had ever known before. When he left I said, ‘God, that man knows more of God than any man I ever met. By the grace of God, if that is what the baptism of the Holy Spirit with tongues does, I am going to possess it.’ Oh the wonder of God, that was then revealed to my heart!

“Finally I was led to set aside certain hours of the day that I dedicated to God, as times of meditation and prayer. Thus a number of months passed, until one morning as I knelt praying, the Spirit of the Lord spoke within my spirit, and said, “Be patient until autumn.” My heart rejoiced in this encouragement. I continued my practice of meditation and prayer. It became easy for me to detach myself from the course of life, so that while my hands and mind were engaged in the common affairs of every day, my spirit maintained its attitude of communion with God… I said, ‘God, if You will baptise me in the Holy Spirit and give me the power of God, nothing shall be permitted to stand before me and a hundredfold obedience.’

“I prayed for the baptism of the Holy Spirit for nine months, and if a man ever prayed honestly, and sincerely in the faith, I did. Finally one day I was ready to throw up my hands, and quit. I said, ‘Lord, it may be for others, but it is not for me. You just cannot give it to me.’ I did not blame God. One night a gentleman by the name of Pierce said, Mr. Lake, I have been wishing for a long time you would come over, and we would spend a night in prayer together. We have been praying for the baptism for a whole year and there is not one of us baptised yet. Brother, I do not believe that you are either, so we can pray for one another.’ I was so hungry to pray, so I went with all intentions of praying for the rest, but I had not been praying five minutes until the light of God began to shine around me. I found myself in a centre of an arc of light ten feet in diameter, the whitest light in all the universe. So white! Oh how it spoke of purity. The remembrance of that whiteness, that wonderful whiteness, has been the ideal that has stood before my soul, of the purity of the nature of God ever since.

“Then a Voice began to talk to me out of that light. There was no form. And the Voice began to remind me of this incident, and that incident of disobedience to my parents, from a child; of my obstinacy, and dozens of instances when God brought me up to the line of absolutely putting my body, soul, and spirit upon the altar forever. I had my body upon the altar for ten years, and I had been a minister of the Gospel. But when the Lord comes, He opens to the soul the depths that have never been touched in your life. Do you know that after I was baptised in the Holy Ghost, things opened up in the depths of my nature that had remained untouched in all my life, and that which was shadowy, distant, and hazy became real. God got up close and let His light shine into me.

“Shortly after this experience, one afternoon a brother minister called, and invited me to accompany him to visit a lady who was sick. Arriving at the home we found the lady in a wheel chair. All her joints were set with inflammatory rheumatism. She had been in the condition for ten years…While my friend was conversing with her, preparing her to be prayed with, that she might be healed, I sat in a deep chair on the opposite side of a large room. My soul was crying out to God in a yearning too deep for words, when suddenly it seemed to me, that I had passed under a shower of warm tropical rain, which was not falling upon me, but through me. My spirit,

and soul and body under this influence soothed into such a deep still calm, as I had never known. My brain, which had always been so active, became perfectly still. An awe of the presence of God settled over me. I knew it was God.

“Some moments passed; I do not know how many. The Spirit said, ‘I have heard your prayers, I have seen your tears. You are now baptised in the Holy Spirit.’ Then currents of power began to rush through my being from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. These shocks of power increased in rapidity and voltage. As these currents of power would pass through me, they seemed to come upon my head, rush through my body and through my feet into the floor…Even at this late date, the awe of that hour rests upon my soul. My experience has truly been as Jesus said that He shall be within you ‘a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.’ That never-ceasing fountain has flowed through my spirit, soul, and body day and night, bringing salvation and healing and the baptism of the Spirit in the power of God to multitudes.

“Shortly after my baptism in the Holy Spirit, a working of the Spirit commenced in me, that seemed to have for its purpose the revelation of the nature of Jesus Christ to me and in me. Through this tuition and remoulding of the Spirit a great tenderness for mankind was awakened in my soul. I saw mankind through new eyes. They seemed to me as wandering sheep, having strayed far, in the midst of confusion, groping and wandering hither and thither. They had no definite aim and did not seem to understand what the difficulty was or how to return to God. The desire to proclaim the message of Christ and to demonstrate His power to save and bless, grew in my soul until my life was swayed by this overwhelming passion” (pp. 16-20).

“I found that my life began to manifest in the varied range of the gifts of the Spirit. I spoke in tongues by the power of God, and God flowed through me with a new force. Healings were of a more powerful order. Oh, God lived in me, God manifested in me, God spoke through me. My spirit was energized. I had a new comprehension of God’s will, a new discernment of spirit, and a new revelation of God in me.

“Then a new wonder manifested. My nature became so sensitized, that I could lay hands on any man or woman, and tell what organ was diseased, and to what extent, and all about it. I tested it. I went into hospitals where physicians could not diagnose a case, touched a patient, and instantly I knew the organ that was diseased, its extent, condition, and location. And one day it passed away. A child plays with a toy, and his joy is so wonderful, he sometimes forgets to eat.”

Before obeying the call into full-time ministry, Lake felt the need to dispose of his very successful business interests. He sold everything, giving the money to God’s work, and embarked into full-time ministry with a heart full of the fire of God. Soon afterward, when he was ministering in a city in northern Illinois, God spoke to him clearly and distinctly: “Go to Indianapolis. Prepare for winter campaign. Get a large hall. In the Spring you will go to Africa.”

John G. Lake continues: “One morning when I came down to breakfast, I found my appetite had disappeared. I could not eat. I went about my work as usual. At dinnertime I had no desire to eat, and no more in the evening. The next day was similar, and the third day likewise. But toward the evening of the third day, an overwhelming desire to pray took possession of me. I wanted only to be alone to pray… Prayer flowed from my soul like a stream. I could not cease praying… As soon as it was possible to get to a place of seclusion, I would kneel to pour out my heart to God for hours. Whatever I was doing, that stream of prayer continued flowing from my soul. On the night of the sixth day of this fast that the Lord had laid on me, while in the act of washing my hands, the Spirit said to me once again, ‘Go and pray.’ I turned around and knelt by my bedside. As I knelt praying, the Spirit said, ‘How long have you been praying to cast out demons?’ and I replied, ‘Lord, a long time.’ And the Spirit said, ‘From henceforth thou shalt cast out demons.’ I arose and praised God” (p. 21). An opportunity to test this newly-given anointing

to cast out demons came the following Sunday, when a violently insane man was brought to Lake, who commanded the demon to come out of him in Jesus’ name. The man was instantly delivered, and two days later was released from the institution in which he had been confined.

In April 1908, Lake and his family left for South Africa. Though they had no visible means of support, they were miraculously provided for every step of the way. And thus began a tremendous revival with mighty healings, miracles, and deliverances, which was to profoundly impact the African continent for years to come, even long after Lake was gone. In 1913, following the tragic death of his wife, Lake returned to America, but by this time the torch had also been passed on to Elias Letwaba and others in Africa, and the work went on there in great power. Lake continued his ministry in North America until his death in 1935, and like Smith Wigglesworth, he fought an outstanding fight and ran a great race, right to the very end.

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