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The Holy Spirit

It was a Saturday afternoon, the summer months were upon us, and therefore, no school days. I was standing in line with other children waiting to go into the movie theater. I was eight years old. All of a sudden, while waiting for the ticket window to open, The Lord spoke to my heart. Now, I suspect that many would ask how I could know at eight years of age that this was The Lord. Of course, the answer to that question is very easy. With The Lord being The Lord and able to do all things, He is perfectly able to make Himself known to whomever, even to an eight-year-old child. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I knew it was The Lord. He said to me, “Do not go into that movie theater. Do not go into this place. Give Me your heart. For, you are a chosen vessel to be used exclusively in My service.” I stood transfixed, not knowing what to say or do. Then the ticket window opened, and the lady began handing out tickets to all the kids who were in the line. The Lord spoke again, in effect, saying the very same thing. “Do not go into this place. Give Me your heart. For, you are a chosen vessel to be used exclusively in My service.” About that time, I approached the ticket window. I laid my quarter down and then something happened that I know was The Lord. The ticket spool jammed, and while Mrs. Green was trying to untangle the problem, I grabbed my quarter and left. It was the greatest thing I ever did. I walked past the Piggly Wiggly Market, past Doris’s dress shop, past the five and dime store, and then went into Voght’s Drug Store on the corner. I got myself an ice cream cone, walked out, and stood on the curb. All of a sudden, it happened. I’ve often wondered how individuals feel when they give their hearts to Christ when they have been saved out of terrible sin. Being only a child, I did not know much about sin at all, but all of a sudden, The Spirit of God covered me. It was like 50 pounds were lifted from my frail shoulders, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was saved. I never really said anything, except in my heart. I arrived home very shortly thereafter and my mother, knowing that I was in early, asked me what had happened. I simply stated, “I got saved.” She looked somewhat nonplussed, but at the same time, she began to cry, and I knew she understood what I had said.

The Holy Spirit

A few days later, something happened that would further change my life for the better. I awakened early that morning and got up instantly and went into the living room. My mother and dad were standing beside my piano, and they were talking with each other. They were discussing my grandmother (my dad’s mother). What they were saying was somewhat negative, but it did not strike me in that fashion. I listened intently. My dad said, “Mama has gone crazy over religion.” He then added, “Since she has come back from that meeting she attended, all she talks about is Jesus and then she talks funny in language that nobody can understand.” Now, my parents and my grandmother and grandfather all attended the same church. However, my grandmother was the very first one in our family to be baptized with The Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking with other tongues. I listened intently to what my dad said, and then a few moments later, I bolted out of the room, got on my bicycle, and rode up to my grandmother’s house. I wanted to know what she had. As she let me in that morning (it was quite early), I said to her “Nanny,” for that’s what I called her, “Mama and Daddy said that you speak in some kind of language that they cannot understand. What are they talking about?” I’ll never forget it. Nanny laughed and said, “Come on in, Jimmy, and I’ll tell you all about it.” She was in the process of preparing some hot tea. And then she sat down in a chair with the hot tea on a little table beside the chair. I sat down on the floor with my legs crossed, looking up at her. I wondered what she was going to say. She began to tell me how that she had been baptized with The Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues. When she got to the part where The Lord filled her, the power of God came on her, and she raised both hands and began to speak with other tongues. Even though I had felt the convicting power of The Holy Spirit when I was saved that Saturday a short time before, I had really never felt the power of God, at least that I could remember. But I felt it that morning. I looked down at my arms, and chill bumps had broken out all over. It was an experience that was to start me on a journey that continues unto this very hour so many many years later. I don’t remember what transpired the rest of that meeting, but I came back that afternoon and asked her to tell it to me again, which she did. The same thing happened again. In fact, I went to her house from one to three times every day and had her tell me this same experience over and over until I knew it in my heart. The reason for that was the power of God that would fall every time, and it would fall on me. Of course, I became very hungry to have what she had, and she encouraged me totally and completely, telling me that I could receive as well. Incidentally, my mother and dad soon changed their attitude and allowed The Holy Spirit to work within their lives until they were both filled. Now, let me tell you about the morning that The Lord filled me.

The Infilling of The Holy Spirit

As I stated, I was eight years of age. We had started a prayer meeting in our little church, which I attended every morning. This particular morning, as I began to ask The Lord to fill me, something happened that was beautiful. I don’t suppose there is such a thing as liquid light, but that’s what seemed to rest upon me that morning. It formed a circle all around me. It could be seen with the actual eye, at least I could see. Then, I began to speak with other tongues as The Spirit of God gave the utterance, exactly as my grandmother had received. It was a couple of weeks before I could speak English as I should. I would open my mouth and instantly begin to speak in other tongues. It didn’t happen every time but most of the time. One particular morning, my mother sent me to the post office to get a stamp. I walked up to the window, laid the nickel on the counter, and opened my mouth to tell the man what I wanted, and I began to speak with other tongues. He looked at me and said, “What did you say?” I didn’t look like a foreigner, but I sounded like one. I tried again and began to speak with other tongues. He finally said, “Son, I cannot understand what you are saying.” I tried it again, and the same thing happened. It scared me, so I grabbed my nickel and ran. When I got back home, my mother asked me if I had the stamp. I didn’t, but then I could speak English. I explained to her what had happened. I don’t recall her response, but I do know that from then on, I was in a prayer meeting almost every day of my life, which went on for several years.

The Talent to Play the Piano

Not long after I was baptized with The Holy Spirit, our little church was in a revival. The particular night in question, I was seated next to my dad. While the preacher was preaching, I began to ask The Lord to give me the talent to play the piano. I promised Him that I would never use it in the world but always for His glory. When the service ended, with beautiful childlike faith, I walked up on the platform where the old, upright piano was standing and began to make chords. I did not know what they were, but I knew they sounded right. When I got home that night, my dad asked me, “Jimmy, where did you learn those chords on the piano? Have you been practicing at Aunt Stella’s?” Then, he said, “Did the Pastor’s wife show you those chords?” The Pastor’s wife played piano as well. I said, “No. I have not been practicing at all. I was asking The Lord tonight to give me the talent to play the piano, and I guess that He has already started.” To be sure, The Lord did exactly what I asked Him to do, and by His grace, I have kept that promise I made to Him to never use the talent in the world. At eight years of age, I knew I would be an evangelist. I knew my ministry would be worldwide. At that particular time, I did not know how all of that would come to pass, but I knew it would happen, and it did. That is my calling, world evangelism.

The Dream

I must have been about ten years of age when The Lord allowed me to see in a dream what the future would hold, at least some of the problems that would arise. In the dream, I was standing outside in front of our house where I was raised. As I stated, I was about ten years old. I looked to my right, and there was a sphere hanging in space about 10 to 15 feet away from me. It was about the size of a basketball, and it was a globe of planet earth. In the dream, I could see it slowly turning. Then, all of a sudden, I saw a figure standing right near that globe, looking intently as it turned. Somehow, I knew it was satan, and yet there was no fear, none at all. He looked at that globe intently for a short period of time and then turned, looked at me and said, “You will not do it. I will stop you.” I said nothing as he turned back to look at the globe. Then, once again, he turned and looked at me and said the same thing all over again, “You will not do it. I will stop you.” At that time, I did not know exactly that of which he was speaking. However, I came to understand in later years as I felt the full brunt of his efforts to stop us from carrying out that which God had called us to do.

The Healing

The following happened at about the time I was ten years old as well. The doctors did not know what was wrong with me. My parents took me to the physicians available in our little town, but they could find nothing wrong. They checked me for malaria and other things, but it was all to no avail. I stayed nauseous constantly, and I would simply pass out at times. It happened several times while I was at school, and my dad had to pick me up. The last time this happened, my mother and dad went to get me, and the school principal told them, “If something is not done for Jimmy, you’re going to have to take him out of the school. We don’t want him dying on our hands.” Of course, when I would go unconscious, it most definitely did cause consternation among the teachers, but seemingly, there was nothing that could be done.


During this time, I was anointed with oil and prayed for any number of times, but all to no avail. It was a Sunday, and the service had just ended. My mother and dad were going to take the pastor and his wife out to lunch. They first had to go by the home of a parishioner and pray for the man who was ill. I remember going into the back room with the others, praying for the brother and then coming out to the front room to leave. My parents and other were making small talk, and then, my dad said to the Pastor, “Brother Culbreth, would you anoint Jimmy with oil and pray for him again? If something isn’t done, we’re going to have to take him out of school.” I can still see it in my mind’s eye. The Pastor had a smile on his face, and a little bottle of oil in his hands that he had just used to pray for the other brother in question. He walked toward me and touched my forehead with oil. Then, it happened.

A Ball of Fire

It was like a ball of fire about the size of a softball that started at the top of my head and slowly went down my back. While it burned like fire, there was absolutely no pain whatsoever. It went down through my legs and out my feet, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was healed. There was no doubt about it. I would never be sick with that problem again. I have traveled all over the world, and I have eaten things, at times, that I think a dog would not eat, yet in all of these travels, spanning a timeframe of several years, I got sick only one time, and then, only for just an hour or so. In fact, I have had amazing health from then till now, and I attribute it all to that Sunday afternoon when The Lord healed me. Does The Lord heal everyone in the same way? And I’m speaking of the ball of fire. No, He doesn’t. I have met a few people through the years who were healed in the same manner. However, I have been prayed for regarding other situations, and I’ve never had that experience again. I had it on that Sunday. It changed my world and changed my life. Jesus Christ still heals the sick. I don’t know why The Lord did not heal me the preceding months. The same Pastor, using the same bottle of oil, had anointed me several times, all to no avail. In fact, our entire church had prayed for me time and time again but to no avail. Why did The Lord wait till that particular Sunday afternoon? Was it something about the couple there that instigated the healing? No, it wasn’t. I have no answer to these questions. I don’t know why The Lord does all the things the way that He does. But there is one thing for which I thank Him. My mother and dad did not quit believing. They kept asking The Lord to heal my body, and that He did. Looking back, I believe that satan, knowing God would use me to see literally hundreds of thousands brought to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, tried to kill me. I believe that’s exactly what happened, but of course, The Lord did not permit such to come about.

The Blinded Eye No Longer Blind

Francis and I were conducting a meeting at Brightmoor Tabernacle in Detroit Michigan. This great church was built and Pastored by Bond Bowman, one of the godliest men I ever knew. I preached two or three meetings in this great church, with each lasting for several weeks in duration. If I remember correctly, it was a Friday night in the dead of winter, and snow was on the ground. A young girl walked up to me whom I did not know. I later learned that she was about 17 years old, very poor, and really didn’t have suitable clothing for the type of weather that we were experiencing. I found out that she had hitchhiked every night to church, as dangerous as that was, but she wanted to be in those services so much that she would undertake the risk in order to be there. The service ended that Friday night when she walked up to me and said, “Brother Swaggart, Can Jesus open a blinded eye?” I looked at her and said, “Well, yes, He can. Why do you ask?” She said to me, “My right eye is blind. Would you pray for me?” I laid hands on her and prayed for her as I had with others, then she turned and walked away. A few moments later, I heard the associate pastor shouting, “Brother Swaggart, there has been a miracle!” He pointed to the young lady, and I asked her to come to where I was on the platform, which she did. I asked her to cover up her good eye, and then held up one finger, then two, while asking her how many fingers I was holding up. Each time, she gave me the correct answer.

The Miracle That Lasts

Many years passed, and we were back in Detroit once again, this time in the colosseum, which seated thousands of people. It had been a great service that night. Actually, we were only there for one night. The place was full of thousands of people, and when the service was over, the moment I stepped off the platform, I was seemingly surrounded by hundreds of people. I remember one man, who stood about 6 feet, 6 inches tall. He picked me up like I was a rag doll and told me, “Brother Swaggart, I was a member of the Black Panthers for years.” He went on to say, “I staggered home drunk one Saturday night, flipped on the television set, and drifted off to sleep.” He then related to me how he awakened the next morning and the TV was still on. Actually, our program was on. He lurched from the little cot to turn the TV to another channel, but something stopped him. He leaned back and watched the entirety of the service. When it ended, he was no longer a Black Panther. He was saved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. He gave me his testimony that night. As I was trying to get out the door, I was surrounded by scores of people, with all of them acting so very gracious and kind. Then, this young lady pushed her way through to me. She said, “Brother Swaggart, I don’t think you recognize me, do you?” I looked at her, shook my head and said, “No, I’m sorry, but I don’t think so.” She then pointed to her eye and said, “It’s still perfect from the night that The Lord healed me.” All of a sudden, it came back. The tears rushed to my eyes as she stood there smiling at me. She said, “I’m still healed.”


Hallelujah what a thought

Jesus full Salvation brought

Victory, yes victory

Let the powers of sin assail

Heaven’s grace will never fail

Victory victory

Victory, yes victory

Hallelujah, I am free

Jesus gives me victory

Glory glory hallelujah

He is all and all to me

Divine Healing Chapter 1