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Oral Roberts: Expect A Miracle


Oral Roberts, Expect A Miracle: My Life and Ministry (Thomas Nelson, 1995), 388 pages, ISBN 9780785274650.

There is something powerful about reading stories of lives God has used. Autobiographies never go out of date. While this was published in 1995, it has a vitality and ring of truth that grows with age. I like reading autobiographies, particularly when they are written by contemporaries that I knew or knew about.

Oral Roberts relates his beginnings, beginnings that were humble indeed. We learn that his sister Jewel spoke seven simple words to her brother when he was dying of Tuberculosis. “Oral, God is going to heal you.” Several days later Oral’s father knelt by his son’s bedside and prayed Oral into the Kingdom of God. Within days of his confession, Oral’s brother Elmer took Oral to a tent meeting in Ada, Oklahoma where evangelist Charles Moncey was preaching. That night Oral was healed and also called into the ministry—a ministry that so many of us have enjoyed. God brings His ministers to all kinds of places we do not know to reach people that we again do not know.

Oral received an audible call from God immediately before he was healed: “You are to take My healing power to your generation. You are to build Me a university and build it on My authority and the Holy Spirit” (p. 32).

Oral’s book reminds us that there is a long distance to travel from the call to the result and he takes the reader on that trip in an engaging manner. I was challenged as I read of Oral’s struggles and his devotion to his Savior who called him. Successful people work hard, they stand against adversity from every direction and they often partner with God so that their lives make people expect miracles. I did not know that in his first healing crusade Oral Roberts faced a man who had a revolver in his hand and pulled the trigger only to miss our brother by 18 inches.

Oral soon began to recognize a warming in his right hand that came and went. When that feeling was present people got healed, and Roberts soon came to depend on that sign of God’s presence when preparing for his crusade services. We read of the healing of a deaf boy one night in a small church in Nowata, OK. I marvel at the visitations of a God who is so great that He can show up in a place named Nowata and change the destiny of a small child and never lose a moment on His throne. We are never fully prepared for Him to act until He does and then all we can do is marvel.

In July 1950 Oral Roberts possessed the largest tent available. It sat 12,000 people. Oral wrote “I wish I could describe to you the feelings that swept over me when I stood before the crowds, knowing that after I preached and extended the invitation for the unsaved to receive Christ, hundreds of very sick people were going to come before me, one by one, as I took on all their sicknesses with my faith in the living Christ” (pp. 103-104).

Oral Roberts had some great moments and some terrible difficult moments to live through as he gave his life to telling you and me about our God.

He closes his autobiography with his ten secrets of success. This chapter is perhaps the best of the entire book which I found moving and inspiring. I like Oral’s first principle: Remember that the message is far greater than the messenger. Indeed without the message, we would all be chaff blowing in the wind. We do thank our Heavenly Father for sending gifts to the body of Christ like Oral Roberts. In as much as he followed Jesus, let us emulate him. Surely the Lord has used him to impact his generation.

Reviewed by H. Murray Hohns


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Category: Church History, Summer 2003

About the Author: H. Murray Hohns went home to be with Jesus on November 28, 2012. He was on staff at the largest church in Hawaii and served on his denomination's investment committee from 1999 until his death. Hohns held two degrees in Civil Engineering, an MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary, and served as an instructor at Foursquare's New Hope Christian College (formerly Pacific Rim Christian College) in Honolulu. He wrote six engineering books and hundreds of articles in every type of newspaper, magazine and journal.

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