A Faith Healer
Oral's ministry had taken shape with his father, but in the late 1940s, it began to demand a new vision be adopted. Oral knew about the power of prayer. Having been cured of Tuberculosis as a child, it was no mystery to him that one could be completely cured from any illness at the hands of faith in God and prayer to him. At that time, Tulsa was the "silver lining in the storm clowds" in Oklahoma. The population of Tulsa had exploded to nearly 140,000 persons in the decades following WWII. Oral decided to move his family and his ministry to Tulsa to expand and further pursue his "healing ministry" (Harrell, 81).
Oral seemed to never be able to overcome his "cockiness, and this, on several occations, had the potential to harm his healing ministry. His "new" style ministry had seemingly healed many people, but at times, Oral would get a little carried away. During one of his healing services, a lady with epilepsy was in line to be healed. She went into convulsions and Oral remembers the event, "All my cockiness disappeared and I stood before the despiration of the human being... I had nothing to drow on. I couldn't get advice from anyone. And I leaned over and prayed for her and nothing happened. I stood back. I wanted to run" (Harrell, 81). Oral, from this point on, was very carful with his healing ministry. He found out time after time about the precariousness and power of prayer (Harrell, 81). Though Oral had to be careful with his healing services, many people did reap the benefit of the healing prayer services.
The 1950s brought the Oral Roberts healing ministry great success and fame. Throughout the country, people heard about the miraculous signs that were being preformed by Roberts. People came from all over the country, and even crossed the seas to see Oral Roberts. In 1957, G.H. Montgomery, editor of Roberts' magazine summarized the work of Roberts during the past decade. "Roberts had conducted 147 capaigns, preached 1,706 sermons, prayed for the healing of about 500,000, preached over 78,000 sermons on radio and 31,200 on television, and 'led to Christ for salvation' nearly 3,000,000" (Harrell, 91). Roberts had come onto the revival scene as a tent preacher, and he did not leave that persona. He just used the massive funds that the ministry had produced and bought bigger and bigger tents, tents that could seat some 7,000 people, to accomodate the massive crowds that seemed to grow day by day.
This was not nearly the extent of his work during the 1950s. The Oral Roberts ministry witnessed more success in the final three years of the decade than it had during the entire decade put together. Roberts' maturity probably saw the greatest growth during this time. He had entered the decade a brash, cocky preacher. However, he left it, somewhat humble and self-confident, respecting the boundaries of his ministry.
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This page was created by Will Runyon and you can e-mail me by clicking on my name. This page was last updated on April 15, 2001.