The Azusa Street Revival Signs and Wonders
Shaking the World
There is nothing that excites me more than a move of the Holy Spirit! The worldwide revival begun at Azusa Street in 1906 is perhaps the greatest outpouring of power since the days of Jesus and the apostles. The revival ended in 1909.
The Azusa Street revival is considered to be the cradle of the Pentecostal movement because of its emphasis on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Almost all of today’s Pentecostal Charismatic churches can trace their roots to Azusa Street. Pew research estimates the number of Pentecostals and Charismatic Christians to be over 584 million, which is over a quarter of all Christians worldwide.
Through the height of the revival only last three years, many new church denominations sprung out of Azusa Street including the Assembly of God, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and Church of God in Christ with founding members of each involved in the revival. Missionaries were sent all over the world as a result of the revival.
The real leader of Azusa Street was The Holy Spirit with William Seymour being His delegated human leader. Seymour was a southern sharecropper son of slaves who was left with one eye due to smallpox. Most of the Azusa leaders were in awe of William Seymour because of his great humility and the awesome anointing he held. John G. Lake- the great healing evangelist- considered Seymour to have more of God than any living man at the time.
Tommy Welchel was a young man who had gotten into some trouble with the law and came to Los Angeles penniless. He was helped and brought to the Lord by an older woman who was part of a community of aging Azusa Street saints called Pisgah. He lived in Pisgah between 1960-66 and carefully listened and wrote down the stories of these saints. The following content contain those stories.
Many great and unusual miracles and signs accompanied Azusa Street, not the least of which was the appearance of a 50 foot fire on top of the Azusa Mission, which could be seen at times for miles off. Tommy Welchel relays first-hand accounts of the fire which I will paraphrase and quote.
William Seymour would direct the congregation to sing in the Spirit and then
“A fire would come up out of the roof and the fire would go up about fifty feet and the fire about fifty feet away from it in the sky would come down and mingle with it.”
This apparently was a sign seen by a great number of people in the revival and even those in the surrounding areas. The fire department would be called often from people outside the revival, who saw the flames. When the flame appeared over the building, the cloud of glory around the mission intensified and the healing anointing was much greater.
There was an ever present tangible mist inside the mission that intensified especially when Seymour was present and even more so when the fire appeared on top of the building. The mist was described as a Shekinah glory like the intense glory that appeared when King Solomon dedicated the Temple and the priests couldn’t enter the house of God.
At times the Shekinah glory was so thick you couldn’t see the ground. Tommy Welchel noted that many of the Azusa Street children and teens would actually admit to playing hide and seek in the thick mist of the glory. Ralph Riggs was one of those kids and was just a teenager during the revival but later would be instrumental in founding the Assembly of God Church and become it’s general superintendent from 1953–59.
Welchel noted that Sister Lucille McGillicuddy described and her experiences with the Shekinah Glory like this:
“she loved to be in the center of the mist like cloud. She was so little in stature, she would sit down in it and, when it was thick, the mist was about up to her neck. Like a kid, she would have fun and play in the mist. She would often lie down, breathing it in. She could feel the energy of it and described that it was like pure oxygen being breathed into her lungs. She could smell it, too. The scent was like lilacs to her. Others said it smelled like roses. The aroma depended upon what part of the building you were in at the time. When Brother Seymour was there and they would sing in the Spirit, Sister Lucille told me that the Shekinah Glory would just rise and fill the whole room, and you could breathe so much better. “
Others Welchel had interviewed noted the mist at times had a glow that sometimes became more intense at the glory increased.
God had instructed Brother Seymour to place a box over his head as he entered the mission; he took it off when God instructed him. Sister Carney told Welchel about the box Seymour placed on his head, at first it seemed ridiculous but later it became obvious that this simple act of humble obedience brought astounding results and manifested power. Sister Carney noticed that when Seymour stopped putting the box over his head, the miracles became less and less.
Welchel noted that Brother Sines had actually spent more than half the time at the revival on the podium with Seymour because he was a musician. Sines became obsessed with the box, he tried to get as close to him as possible to see what was going on under the box. Sines finally asked William Seymour about the box and he said he would just meditate and wait on God and when he spoke to God, it was always in tongues that he understood the meaning of.
Seymour had suffered a lot of ridicule and opposition over the box and it intensified as people came from all over the world to see him. It seemed to make no sense that Seymour would of his own volition cause the revival to cease. Some speculate that God told Seymour to remove the box because the revival at Asuza was coming to a close and Seymour had passed his anointing on to other leaders and missionaries such as John G. Lake.
Sister Lucille’s best friend was friend Laura Langtroff, who was a wealthy woman who was also a worker at the revival. Welchel tells the story of sister Laura's most memorable healing:
“A woman came into the meeting holding a staff. She could hardly breathe and looked like a skeleton. She only lived about two miles from Azusa and had started walking to Azusa about three in the afternoon but didn’t reach the warehouse until six in the evening. She literally took one baby step at a time, placing the staff in front of her, then scooting her feet up to it and repeating the slow, tedious process until she reached the revival meeting.”
The women pointed at Laura and said, "that’s the women I want to pray for me". The next words that came out of the women’s mouth she could never forget:
““I won’t live through the night if God doesn’t heal me; I’ll die. Doctors say my lungs are ate up with cancer, and I can hardly breathe. I’ve been losing weight for about a year.”
She was 5’ 6, weighed 65 pounds and looked like a skeleton. Laura then laid hands on her and she immediately began to breathe normally and over the next 3 hours gained 40 pounds without eating. All she did is breath thick mist of the the Shekinah Glory and her lungs felt no pain and returned to like the lungs of a young woman.
When the woman visited her doctor, he didn’t even recognize her. He examined her and couldn’t believe that her lungs were in perfect shape and she had gained 40 pounds. The doctor whose name was Thomas Wyatt decided to visit the revival himself and upon witnessing the events decided that he was through with traditional medicine. He started a ministry called “The wings of healing” and he saw multitudes healed and set free.
The next was a story told by brother fox, who would later do mighty works and miracles in India. He was in his late teens during the revival. He recalled a sign language teacher bringing his deaf students to the revival. Brother fox asked the teacher, “why did you bring your students here, you’ll be out of a job?” the teacher not believing what brother fox said, “You’re talking like they are all going to be able to hear.” Fox responded “They are! They all are going to be healed!”
There were about 35 deaf students so Brother fox had them stand in a circle and join hands. He said to the teacher: “Evidently you don’t have much faith, so stand off to the side.”
The teacher was laughing because Brother Fox was talking to the deaf students he knew could not understand him. Brother Fox then whispered in the ear of one of the deaf students to command the spirit to come out of him, he was instantly healed and as the others saw the excitement they were all healed one by one. Now that teacher was totally out of a job!
Brother Garcia was a young Mexican-American man of about 18 years of age during the revival. He witnessed a mighty miracle performed through William Seymour. He noted that “the greater the Shekinah Glory, the greater the power. He would note that the flames were there when God, through Seymour, performed the mightiest of miracles”. In one of those miracles, a leg grow where there was no leg and in another, an arm where there was no arm!
He said, “Brother Tommy, this man didn’t have a ball joint in his shoulder; it had been ripped out. I was close enough to be looking right at the shoulder. “All of a sudden, I saw the bones start to come out, and then flesh started coming around them. This man’s arm just shot out in what seemed mere seconds as I watched.”
The Azusa Street Revival may have been the greatest display of God’s glory and power since Jesus ascended into heaven but William Seymour and others spoke prophetically of an even greater revival to come which wouldn’t be in one place but all over the world! The approximate time for its fulfillment was about a hundred years and it’s been more than 100 year now, I surely don’t want this great move to pass me by!