A Song Lost In The Flow Of A River The Chicago Visitation of 1913

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The Chicago Visitation of 1913

An ancient prophet once cried out, “Oh, you will tear the heavens and come down!” Generation after generation of those who hunger for the revelation of the presence of the living God has heard this cry everywhere. Throughout the history of the Church, God has rented heaven and interceded on behalf of His people.

The Great Chicago Visit of 1913 was such a time. It was the most powerful visitation of the divine presence this city had ever experienced.

Maria Woodworth-Etter, a well-known preacher, was invited to hold several meetings at Stone Church at 37th and Indiana beginning on July 2, 1913. Posters were put up all over the city to advertise the meeting. These services were to run till the end of July. It was a time of divine appointment for the city of Chicago; God tore the heavens and came down!! Scenes from the early church days began to appear in the stone church. Word began to spread throughout Chicago of miraculous healings, exorcisms, conversions, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit taking place at these meetings. Advertising was no longer needed!

Incredible cures were reported. A woman, who had been blind for 15 years and had never seen her children, was instantly healed. A paralyzed man, whose joints were ossified, could not move his limbs or head, had to be spoon-fed and could barely speak, was prayed for. For eight years he served the sentence of imprisonment for this weakness. Sister Woodworth-Etter commanded him to rise and walk in the name of Jesus. The power of God fell upon him. He jumped out of his wheelchair, ran up the isle of the church and down half a block down the street. Many followed him, waving their hats in the air, shouting “Hurrah for Jesus.” He went back to the church and praised God. A young woman with complete hearing loss in one ear and no hearing in the other came for prayer. She recovered immediately. During a song service, four disabled people were healed and started walking without the use of canes or crutches.

Word of God’s miraculous intervention spread throughout the city. Thousands came on trolleys, buggies and carts, while many walked. Some came from hundreds of miles away. 1200 to 1500 packed into the stone church every night. The basement filled and many stood on the street. There was a movement to accommodate them. Three services were held on Sunday. No service was scheduled on Saturday to allow ministers a day of rest. However, some came on Saturday and met Christians who prayed for them. A disabled woman came on the trolley, unaware that there was no service on Saturdays. She got off and walked across the street to the church. A German woman met her at the church and said there were no services scheduled for Saturday. However, she invited the disabled woman to come to the church and she and others would pray for her. As soon as the woman went to church, she was instantly healed. A father traveled from Oklahoma with his two daughters. She could not use her limbs and could not speak. Another was born deaf and dumb. Both recovered immediately. A girl cried and laughed after hearing him sing for the first time in her life.

God rented heaven and came down to Chicago. Thousands were healed, incredible miracles happened; Many were saved and thousands were filled with the Holy Spirit. This month-long meeting lasted for six months. Sister Woodworth-Etter and the faithful dug a deep well of revival.

The visit to Chicago had several notable features:

1. The preaching of deep theological doctrines and schisms did not lead to the success of the work. Instead, the gospel was presented in its simplicity. People were attracted by the revelation of God’s presence and power.

2. There was extraordinary unity among Christians. Communal lines disappeared. Christians from all backgrounds participated in this work. There was great harmony among the believers. Controversy was not tolerated and was absent. It was a “conflict-free zone”.

3. Worship was in its purest form. Entertainment and clear displays of talent were non-existent. Music, singing and praise were meant only to glorify God and Him.

4. The whole body of Christ was involved in ministry. The laying on of hands was not regulated to evangelists or pastors. People served each other.

5. Ministers and members of all denominations baptized with the Holy Spirit.

6. A prophetic word was given on the last night of this six-month meeting.

As Christians prayed around the altar, Sister Woodworth-Etter and others gave a powerful prophecy and divine promise for the future:

“We have not yet reached the fullness of the former rain, and when the latter rain comes, it will be greater than anything we have seen!”

Frank Bartleman, historian of the 1907 Azusa Street Awakening, once wrote, “To understand what God is going to do, we must understand what He once did.” It is imperative to study and understand this “old well of revival.” We must understand the divine dynamics of these moves of God. We need to know the promises God made in the past, which will have an effect in our time. God has ways of reminding His people of that promise. In 1999, I had a dream before I learned about the 1913 visit to Chicago. In the dream, I was standing in the basement of the Stone Church with a small group of believers. A pastor friend of mine told us to form a circle and offer “pure praise and worship” to God. I looked around and saw several rooms filled with hospital beds. These beds housed people with various illnesses and infirmities. He was looked after by an elderly head nurse. As we began to worship and praise God, the nurse left the sick and joined in the worship. As the pooja continued, I saw all the sick getting up from their hospital beds. They were immediately healed and joined in the worship! I woke up from my dream. Now ten years later I understand the meaning of the dream. What happened in the 1913 meeting will happen again. Pure worship and praise will go to God. The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will walk and the dumb will speak. Healing and miracles will flow again in this great city. God is about to reopen this “old well of revival” in Chicago! Why, because He promised He would, and it would be so much more than the 1913 visit!

What is our responsibility in reopening this old well of revival? Second Chronicles 7:14 gives us the necessary direction, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and heal their land.” It is time to come clean with God, be honest about our wicked ways, and repent. As Joshua

On the day before crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land he told the Israelites, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do miracles among you.” We’d better follow this directive!

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