To write about Smith Wigglesworth is to write about what the power and presence of God can do to a very ordinary person. All I can do is stand in awe of the glory of God that was revealed through this simple and humble man. For many who believe that the power of Spirit accompanied by signs and wonders is for today, they believe that Smith Wigglesworth had more power in his ministry than any man since the days of the apostles.
Smith was born near Bradford England in 1859; he traveled the world but spent most of his life in Bradford. He grew up in poverty and was forced to work hard labor from the age of 6. He recalled that there was never a time he didn’t long for God. He learned the plumbing trade from an early age and spent most of what he had helping children and the poor. From the age of 16 he worked with the Salvation Army seeing great power demonstrated in his ministry.
Wigglesworth discovered the power of prayer and fasting as he was used to bring great numbers to the knowledge of the savior, many were laid out under the power of the Spirit some for as long as 24 hours. When Wigglesworth was 20 years old he moved to Liverpool and the power of the Spirit was on him in a mighty way. His heart was drawn to the youth living in poverty and he spent all his money helping them. He had meetings around the shacks on the docks where he saw at least 50 saved each week as he fasted and prayed every Sunday.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
In 1907 Smith attended special meetings in Bradford where they would meet to wait on God to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Smith was so intent on receiving the baptism that he renounced everything in his life that didn't glorify God. After he was baptized, his ministry increased greatly in power and God began using him to heal the sick.
Wigglesworth describes his experience with the baptism as documented on (www. Smithwigglesworth.com):
“The fire fell and burned in me till the Holy Spirit revealed absolute purity before God. At this point she was called out of the room, and during her absence a marvelous revelation took place, my body became filled with light and Holy Presence, and in the revelation I saw an empty Cross and at the same time the Jesus I loved and adored crowned in the Glory in a Reigning Position. The glorious remembrance of these moments is beyond my expression to give-when I could not find words to express, then an irresistible Power filled me and moved my being till I found to my glorious astonishment I was speaking in other tongues clearly. After this a burning love for everybody filled my soul. I am overjoyed in giving my testimony, praying for those that fight this truth, but I am clearly given to understand that I must come out of every unbelieving element. I am already witness of signs following. Praise Him”
A Holy Man
Wigglesworth never went more than a half hour without prayer; prayer was a lifestyle for him. He subscribed to Wesley’s view of worldliness as being “anything that cools your affection for God”. Wigglesworth never went more than 15 minutes with reading the word of God. His mind was never cluttered with theological debates he had doubts about the intellectual approach to the scriptures preferring to rely on the Holy Spirit to teach him.
Wigglesworth contended that he would rather die believing God than live in unbelief. He resolved to rely on God rather than doctors or medicines. His beliefs were severely tested in that he refused help from anyone but God when facing life threatening illnesses. He considered everything a failure except that which was done by the Spirit. When someone asked him what he did for relaxation he responded by saying that his relaxation is to be in the presence of God and that any other relaxation would leave him open to the enemy because he was always battling.
Wigglesworth lived by four principles which I will quote from Albert Hibbert’s book “Smith Wigglesworth The Secret of His Power”. Those principles whereas follows:
“Firstly read the word of God. Secondly consume the word until it consumes you. Thirdly, believe the word. Fourthly act on the word…”
Home of Smith Wigglesworth
Some of what I’m about to share may seem incredible if you don’t believe God is still moving with the same power as he did when Jesus and his apostles walked the earth. Wigglesworth was used by God to heal cancer, the lame, those with tuberculosis, among countless other ailments.
There were more than 20 documented cases of the dead being raised through his ministry and there was at least one case of a missing limb being restored. Jesus himself had appeared to Smith Wigglesworth on several occasions when Smith was battling for the lives of the sick or the dead.
Wigglesworth healing ministry began as he reluctantly filled in for another pastor at a church where healing were already common place. Wigglesworth would take as many sick people as he could find in his hometown of Bradford to the Healing Home in Leeds, England; he did this on a regular basis. When He filled the pulpit at Leeds, 15 people came up for healing and a man with crutches was instantly healed. Apparently Wigglesworth was as surprised as everyone else. All the remaining 14 people were healed also because there faith had been quickened by the first healing.
As Smith Wigglesworth and his wife Polly dedicated themselves to the ministry of healing, they knew they would be tested in that area. Soon after Smith was racked with pain and had to be supported by two men to be brought to his home. Smith and his wife prayed all night and by morning Smith was convinced that he was going home to be with the lord, so he had his wife call a doctor to avoid questions if he should pass away.
The doctor declared that there was no hope for recovery because of the damage done to his internal organs by an appendicitis and his weakened state would not allow for an immediate operation. When the doctor left, an elderly women and a young man entered his home. The woman was a great woman of prayer and believed that all sickness was of the Devil. While the young man leave was commanding the Devil to leave, Smith was completely healed.
Smith felt so good he decided to go on to work to a plumbing job. When the doctor returned the Wigglesworth’s home his wife told the doctor he had gone to work and the doctor declared that, “they will bring him back a corpse”. No such thing ever happened as Wigglesworth lived to be an old man.
In 1913 Smith Wigglesworth went as usual to his plumbing Job only to return home to find his dear wife Polly had died at a preaching engagement 8 hours before while he was gone. Funerals were done in the home in those days so they brought her body to their house. When Smith returned home he brought her dead body and placed it on their bed. Closing the door behind him he rebuked death and his wife returned to life. Smith conversed with his wife Polly for quite a long time before she told Smith that the Lord wanted her and that he should let her go.
Smith agreed to let her go and she lay back down on the pillow and went to be with the Lord. I believe this happened just the way it was told because Wigglesworth was not a man given to exaggeration. Smith Wigglesworth worldwide ministry began the following year in 1914 starting with his first tour of the United States.
On some occasions people would have a burning conviction of sin just sitting nearby Smith Wigglesworth because of the presence of God he carried with him at all times. Once he boarded a train in Bradford bound for London and entered a compartment where five other people later had entered. Wigglesworth began to read his Bible and pray in silence as was his custom.
After a period of time the man sitting next to Smith confided with him that a great fear had come over him that he was going to die, so he asked Smith why this had occurred. The other four passengers also felt the same fear, so he then spoke to them about conviction and the way of salvation and they all accepted the Lord.
Wigglesworth on several occasions had seen Jesus and once Satan visited him while he was in his bed, upon sensing the demonic presence he said to Satan, “oh it’s only you” and then rolled over to go back to sleep. Apparently he had no fear of Satan at all.
Holy Ghost Power
Smith Wigglesworth lived and ministered at such a high level that some thought him presumptuous or arrogant though he was hardly either, in fact he was just the opposite. Wigglesworth ministered at the same level that the New Testament apostles did, he didn’t have to pray for hours to come to the place of faith because he lived in that place at all times. So he did and said things that many would consider outrageous because of his close walk in the spirit.
One of my favorite stories was when Wigglesworth visited a curate of the Church of England. While Smith was having dinner with the curate the subject arose that the man had two artificial legs. While in conversation Smith told him to get a new pair of shoes. The curate thought at first that Wigglesworth was telling some kind of a joke but later that night the Spirit prompted the man to do as he was told.
So the next day the curate goes to the shoe store and asked for a pair of shoes. Upon seeing that the man had artificial limbs the salesman in the store told him that he was sorry because we don’t have what you need. At that point the man insisted on a pair of shoes, so the salesman got him some shoes. As quoted by Albert Hibbert in his book, “The man placed the stomp of his leg into a shoe and instantly a leg and foot formed! Then the same thing happened with the other leg!
Wigglesworth insisted that anyone could do what he did; he never claimed to be anyone special. I believe this lifestyle and power is available to all who dare to believe, myself included. God Bless!