Some people say there hasn´t been a greater demonstrator of the Spirit of God since the book of Acts. Other people call her “the grandmother of Pentecostal Movement”. The person we are talking about is Maria Woodworth Etter, a woman of vision, Spiritual strength and definitely someone we can learn some valuable lessons from when it comes to living a Christian Revival Lifestyle. I got curious reading statements like that so I wanted to figure out more about her, and this is a little summary of what impacted me most about her….
Maria was born on July 22, 1844 to Samuel Lewis and Matilda Brittain Underwood. Her parents weren’t Christians and therefore she had no religious education until her parents joined the Disciple church in 1854. She lost her father in the early years of her life, so her mum was left with eight children – pretty crazy, right? Maria received her call into ministry in the age of thirteen. She thought if she was going to marry a Christian man they could do ministry together so a few years later she got married to Philo Harris Woodworth. They had six children together. Philo wasn´t interested in Ministry and Maria was now busy raising the kids. Then a real tragedy struck their home and fife of their six children died to a mysterious disease. She was able to pull herself together in this tough season, but her husband never recovered from the loss. In that time she began to seek the Lord and an Angle came to her in a vision. After that she realized that she’d never be happy unless she yielded to the call of God on her life. Shortly after that her husband and her decided to start a traveling ministry. Maria preached wherever God called them and moved through the Midwest of the United States where she gained a great reputation for the power of God coming into her meetings. Her meetings were characterized by great power, healings, visions, and supernatural trances, which attracted up to 25.000 attendees per night. In 1891 her husband turned against her and Mariah divorced him. She now traveled even more extensively and met Samuel Etter in 1902 in Arkansas. They married and worked together very closely for the next several years. She was well-known by John G. Lake who called her “Mother Etter” in his sermons. She continued to travel and minister, but Samuel became ill and eventually died in August of 1914. Because of the lost and a lack of rest she became ill herself and felt close to death. But God told her that she wasn´t done yet. In 1918 she started a church in Indianapolis and traveled from there to the mid-west. On September 16 she died, honored as a woman of God. She preached a very simple Gospel and offered herself to him.
- Mariah didn’t want to pray for the sick in her meetings at first, because she thought this would lead her away from her evangelistic message. Only after God specifically told her to do so, she started focusing on healing, which led to even more salvations in her meetings.
- She never bothered defending herself and her ministry against accusations from others, because she said “I’m not called to defend myself, but to lead others to Christ.
- She never gave into gossip or talk badly about other, even her enemies
“… heaven is full of power and energy. When we have an experience with heaven, power is what is flowing through us. You can´t put your finder in a socket and remain still. How much more should we be full of energy when we touch God?”
“…You can’t do a ministry like this, if you’re afraid to take risk and if you’re afraid of what people might think about you.”
What we can learn from her life:
There are a lot of things we can learn from Marias live. One of the things is, God can use everybody to build his kingdom. You can´t make an excuse like, “I didn´t grew up in a Christian home”, or “I had so much hardship in my life, my circumstances are to complicated that God can use me”, “I´m not gifted, not smart enough” or any other excuse you can possibly think of. God is not bothered about our circumstances but he is looking for a heart that is willing to trust Him so that He can do the impossible through us. A truth we learn from her is, God believes in us and He is not giving up on us even when we give up. She also taught us about the reality of healing and the supernatural. She demonstrated that God´s will is not just to save but also to heal and to deliver from every-day, real issues. We also can learn from her, that it is important to act and not just to dream or have visions but never do something. How many people actually got great visions but never do something because they just feel overwhelmed. Let’s go and pursue our dream step by step and let God handle the details!
Want to know more about this revivalist?
- Book: God`s generals by Robert Liardon “Maria Woodworh-Etter”
- http://healingandrevival.com/BioMWEtter.htm, “Grandmother of the Pentecostal Movement”
- Revival Library, http://www.revivallibrary.org/catalogues/pentecostal/woodworthetter.html