Home > Christianity, Spiritual Growth > Smith Wigglesworth ministered from a broken heart

Smith Wigglesworth ministered from a broken heart

Paul Keith Davis recently related this anecdote about the great Smith Wigglesworth, apostle of faith.

In 1922 Wigglesworth journeyed to New Zealand for a series of healing campaigns. At the time, he was unknown to New Zealand’s leadership, but with great confidence various pastors rented the Wellington Town Hall to host the meetings. To everyone’s delight, the Lord was wonderfully present in power, bringing healing and salvation to scores. The services were so successful that additional meetings were arranged and each was filled to capacity with God healing the most difficult cases of sickness and disease.

At the conclusion of the campaign one of the host pastors, while walking along the seashore with Wigglesworth, asked what his secret was to walking in demonstrations of God’s power. Wigglesworth responded, “I am sorry you asked me that question, but I will answer it. I am a brokenhearted man. My wife who meant everything to me, died 11 years ago. After the funeral I went back and lay on her grave. I wanted to die there. But God spoke to me and told me to rise up and come away. I told Him if He would give me a double portion of the Spirit—my wife’s and my own—I would go and preach the Gospel. God was gracious to me and answered my request. But I sail the high seas alone. I am a lonely man, and many a time all I can do is to weep and weep.”

A broken and contrite heart was the secret to Wigglesworth’s success with God. It is written in Psalm 51:17, “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

As the two men continued walking along New Zealand’s seashore, Wigglesworth emphasized what he carried in God was not to be envied, but instead he envied what the last generation will see. Wigglesworth explained that he had experienced three open visions with the Lord. Two of them were already fulfilled at the time of these meetings in 1922. However, he expressed the third would take place after his death. Wigglesworth explained, “Oh it was amazing! Amazing! I cannot tell God’s secrets, but you will remember what I say—this revival we have had is nothing to what God is yet going to do.”

I find it interesting that such a powerful man in the Spirit would be, at his core, so broken. Smith was extremely direct and plainspoken, and brooked no nonsense. He would send people off the prayer line when he knew they had already received prayer for their healing. Once he actually punched a man several times in order to shake off a tumor. The onlookers were aghast and ready to revolt, but on the third punch the tumor literally dropped to the floor, with the man healed.

Another time Smith was attending a Christmas recital of Handel’s Messiah in a large hall in London. When the choir was done extolling the Hallelujah Chorus, Smith himself exclaimed HALLELUJAH! in a voice that so filled the hall that it made mention in a newspaper music review the next day. This former house plumber was an imposing man in every way.

And yet inside, he was broken. Hosea implores us, ““Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. (Hos 6:1) Sometimes the Lord must allow a great shaking to get our attention. In our brokenness He can minister sanctification of our souls, consecration to Him, and compassion for others, to a depth that can be achieved no other way.

I don’t know the full story of Smith Wigglesworth’s inner life, but his overcoming a broken heart and going on to be so powerful in the Lord gives me encouragement. If he can do it, I can do it, and you can do it too. We have the same Lord, the same Spirit, and a like faith, and the Lord has promised not to give us more than we can bear. Even a broken heart is no match for the imperishable seed that God has implanted in our spirit.

WordPressers and Facebookers, I can only hope this post will make it through intact. I’m posting remotely. Be blessed.

Posted via email from paul1149’s mini-blog


  1. April 24, 2010 at 1:00 am

    It did come through intact.

    A passing blogger…. struck by your words.

    Broken and contrite heart….. the source of the power of God….. I must be close to that power source….

    Interesting thoughts…

    • April 24, 2010 at 1:04 am

      Thanks, friend. Many of us seem to be approaching that power source… 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. April 24, 2010 at 1:18 am

    The business about the coming revival is tantalizing too. We are in the midst of unprecedented persecution. 176,000 Christians were martyred in a one-year period last year, according to Open Doors.

    It’s very costly, but the shaking we see in the elemental systems of this world could well be the setting up for an equally unprecedented revival.
    Things are difficult, but this is not the time to give up on the Lord. We must put on the Full Armor and occupy until His return – which I hope will be SOON!!!

  3. Doreen Saz
    April 24, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Why do you wish His return to be SOON? I’m interested in your thoughts on this.

    • April 24, 2010 at 2:56 pm

      Marana tha – Come, Lord Jesus! – Rev 22

      Sometimes, either because the challenges here are very great and I want out, or because I am filled with the heavenly vision and am eager for the full reality, I want the Lord to come quickly. Other times, I am content with what the Lord is doing and I enjoy seeing His plan unfold. So I find myself of two minds. Last night I was feeling the weight of things, but today I’ve been blessed to see His good hand working in my life and within me again. And that gives me the strength to soldier on in joy. His power is being perfected in weakness.

  4. Doreen Saz
    April 25, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I think St. Paul was of the same two minds.

    Of course, Christ comes quickly to some people ‘like a thief in the night’; but I understood you to mean that you wanted Christ to come to the whole world as in the second coming.

    When I look around at all the evil I pray the Lord will NOT come quickly and pray that many will repent and turn to Christ before it’s too late.

    The question in Luke, “shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8 makes me pray for all souls and my own. There is soooo much evil around.

    “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).

    We have an adversary who is described as a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

    Christ died a horrific death for all souls and I’m sure it breaks His heart to see any of them, even one, separated from Him…and it breaks mine too.

    My prayer daily now consists mainly of praying for a deepening of faith, hope and charity.


    • April 25, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      re Paul’s mindset – yes, and explicitly so:

      For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
      If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.
      I am hard pressed between the two.
      My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
      But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.
      Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,
      so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. – Phil 1:21-26

      I think you’ve hit on the exact reason why God “delays” wrapping things up:

      The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2Pe 3.9

      Evil definitely is becoming more and more manifest. For those not distracted by the likes of American idol or the Superbowl, or deluded by grotesquely false promises of hope and change, it’s clear that what’s really happening is the anxiety of nations not knowing the way out, and men’s hearts failing for what is coming upon them.

      In His infinite wisdom, the Lord sees this momentary light affliction against the value of the souls He knows will come to Him. I’m thankful He didn’t wrap things up the day before I bowed my knee.

    • April 27, 2010 at 8:23 am

      Actually, I need to correct my comment a bit. In Php 1, first of all, Paul was referring to his home-going, not Christ’s return, which would set up eschatological conflict. If we want Jesus to return “SOON” for selfish emotional reasons, we’re missing His great loved for the Unsaved.

      Also, from the text, Paul did not vacillate between wanting to go home soon, or not, depending on how well things were going for him at the moment. At all times he wanted to go home, “for it is better”, but just as consistently he saw that his work here was fruitful in the Lord.

      So he had a very mature and balanced, and at the same time, very heavenly, view on his life and his work. Something I need to work on!

  5. April 26, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    I found a message where Smith himself talks about this:

    But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

    So there are glories upon glories, and joys upon joys, exceeding joyous and abundance of joys, and a measureless measure of all the lot. Beloved, we get the word so wonderfully in our hearts that it absolutely changes us in everything. And we so feast on the Word of the Lord, so eat and digest the truth, so inwardly eat of Him, till we are absolutely changed every day from one state to another.

    As we look into the perfect mirror of the face of the Lord we are changed from one state of grace to another, from glory to glory. You will never find anything else but the Word of God that takes you there. So you cannot afford to put aside that Word.

    I beseech you, beloved, that you come short of none of these beatitudes w have been speaking of, in your life. These grand truths of the Word of God must be your testimony, must be your life, your pattern. You must be in it, in fact you are of it. “Ye are…the epistle of Christ,” God says to you by the Spirit. Then let us see that we put off everything that by the grace of God we may put on everything.

    Where there is a standard which hasn’t been reached in your life, God in His grace, by His mercy and your yieldedness, can fit you for that place that you can never be prepared for only by a broken heart and a contrite spirit, yielding to the will of God. If you will come with a whole heart to the throne of grace, God will meet you and build you on His spiritual plane. Amen. Praise the Lord!


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