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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




The Power of the Healing Testimony

By Jennifer A. Miskov
Sept. 21, 2014

Carrie Judd Montgomery (1858-1946)1, a charter member of the Assemblies of God, opened some of the earliest healing homes in the country and played a catalytic role within the divine healing movement.

Carrie’s story begins on a cold winter day in 1876 in Buffalo, N.Y. While she was walking to school, she slipped on a patch of ice. Her books went flying, and she landed hard on the icy ground. Stunned, the 17-year-old was finally able to pick herself up and make it to school that day.

It was not long after her fall that Carrie discovered she had spinal fever. This developed into tuberculosis of the blood, which forced Carrie to give up school and her aspirations of becoming a schoolteacher.

The pain spread to all the joints in Carrie’s body so that she could not even be touched without great suffering. For over 11 months she could not even sit up on her own. Carrie was also overly sensitive to light and could not handle much time with people. A small pillow under her head felt “like a block of stone.”2 Her days in bed grew into months and then years.

At a time when healing was not popular in the church and when those around Carrie were expecting her death at any moment, a spark of hope came to the Judd family. Carrie’s father read a testimony in the local newspaper about an African-American woman named Sarah Mix from Connecticut who had been healed of tuberculosis.

Upon hearing about the healing, Carrie asked her sister to send Mrs. Mix a letter requesting prayer. To their surprise, the Judd family received a quick response. The prayer of faith in James 5 was central to the letter as well as an encouragement to act in faith regardless of how Carrie felt. There was also a request to set apart a specific time when both communities would pray for Carrie’s healing.

Even though no one showed up to Mrs. Mix’s prayer meeting that day due to poor weather, she and her husband prayed for Carrie nonetheless. During the set apart time of prayer, on Feb. 26, 1879, Carrie engaged in a spiritual battle. Finally, she felt it was time to act in faith and get out of bed. Unassisted, she walked over to the nearby chair.

Carrie grew in strength. By April, she was well enough to go outside to visit the neighbors. Soon after, she was back leading her Sunday School class.

News of Carrie’s healing spread, and she soon became the talk of the town. Readers discovered her testimony in newspapers and wrote letters asking if she was really healed. Many visited Carrie to hear of her story and receive prayer.

In 1880, Carrie opened up a room in her parents’ home to receive visitors. In April 1882, when Carrie was only 23 years of age, she started a healing home in Buffalo called Faith Rest Cottage. It was one of the early healing homes in the country and was used as a model for many future homes. Because healing was a controversial message in the church at the time, people had to travel to these homes to learn about and pray for healing. Many who were healed through Carrie’s ministry later went on to the mission field.

In 1893, a few years after Carrie married successful businessman George S. Montgomery, she founded The Home of Peace in Oakland, Calif., the first healing home on the West Coast. Smith Wigglesworth, Aimee Semple McPherson, Maria Woodworth-Etter, A.B. Simpson, and many others stayed there throughout the years. The historic revival site is still open today and definitely worth a visit.

Carrie’s passion to steward and release her testimony of healing also helped launch her writing career. Based on the prayer found in James 5 and her own healing experience, at only 22 years of age Carrie wrote The Prayer of Faith (1880) to encourage others to embrace and to take hold of their healing. This book was significant because it was among some of the early prominent books in her time written on healing in the Atonement.

The Prayer of Faith was translated into French, Dutch, German, and Swedish, and by 1893 its circulation exceeded 40,000 copies. Scores of testimonies describe people who have read of Carrie’s miracle through the years and have received healing themselves as a result.

In 1881, Carrie initiated Triumphs of Faith, a magazine emphasizing holiness and divine healing themes. This became a significant vehicle for spreading revival fires and healing testimonies around the world. It also created a platform to launch women in ministry. Carrie continued to write and edit the journal for more than 60 years, and it continued an additional 30-plus years after her death.

When Carrie later received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues at the age of 50 in 1908, she was able to introduce many Christian leaders to the experience who later joined the Assemblies of God. She became a part of the Assemblies of God during its early development in 1914.

After Carrie’s 1908 experience, the Home of Peace became a center where people not only prayed for and received healing but also were baptized in the Spirit.

Every year on the anniversary of her healing, Carrie celebrated what the Lord had done in her life. Her testimony became a tipping point within evangelical Christianity, shifting people from the belief it was good to suffer as unto the Lord to a belief in God’s desire to heal. Testimonies of people who have been healed by reading Carrie’s Prayer of Faith continue even to this day.

Carrie continued her ministry until her death on July 26, 1946. She was succeeded by her only child, Faith Berry, and Carrie’s legacy lives on through her writings, the Home of Peace, and the great faith she left behind.


1 Much of this article is adapted from the author’s Spirit Flood: Rebirth of Spirit Baptism for the 21st Century (In light of the Azusa Street Revival and the life of Carrie Judd Montgomery) (United States and Birmingham, England: Silver to Gold, 2010) and Life on Wings: The Forgotten Life and Theology of Carrie Judd Montgomery (Cleveland, Tenn: CPT Press, 2012).

2 Carrie F. Judd, The Prayer of Faith (Chicago: F.H. Revell, 1880; reprint, New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1985), 10.


JENNIFER A. MISKOV, Ph.D., is founding director of Destiny House in Redding, Calif. (www.silvertogold.com).

 

 

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