“Kathryn just laughed. ‘If we serve a God limited to our finances, then we are serving the wrong God. He’s not limited to what we have or who we are. If He can use somebody like me to bring souls into the kingdom, He can certainly use our five dollars and multiply it just as easily as He multiplied the loaves and fishes for the people on the hillside. Now go on to Denver. Find me the biggest building you can. Get the finest piano available for Helen. Fill the place with chairs. Take out a big ad in the Denver Post and get spot announcements on all radio stations. This is God’s business, and we’re going to do it God’s way. Big!”1
The story of Kathryn is one of the Lord taking a willing vessel, a nobody in the eyes of the people of that time, starting her in what was at the time extremely rural Idaho, and birthing a ministry that would touch millions. A lady who carried the presence tangibly with her and saw so many miracles in her ministry that she was labeled, “the woman who believes in miracles.”2 And that she did!
Part of her theology was, “Love is something you do!”3 And this she did as well. She was a woman that I have the highest respect for. She never forgot the needy, and while her ministry saw incredible healings, she understood the greatest need was salvation or as she believed, ‘salvation of the soul is the most important of all miracles.”4 As a child when I was told about Kathryn Kuhlman, I was told she was a woman who simply “loved.” Love was the motivating force of her life and ministry. 5Those words I never forgot. When she would finish ministering, and retire completely exhausted, she would never turn anyone away as she believed if they came to her door they had a need. She would immediately become full of energy and invite them in. She treated them all the same, as if they were royalty. And her mind they were, because they were children of God. For so many in ministry, they sit themselves on a pedestal and you are honored by their presence. With Kathryn Kuhlman, it was the other way. We could learn so much from her heart and love walk. 6
She would meet with people from all walks of society – from the poor to generals in the Army, even to the pope. She desired to reach everyone, and thus her ministry crossed denominational lines. I trace my conversion indirectly to this lady. Her impact on my family and in my early days of coming to know the Lord was critical.
Kathryn’s parents, Joseph Adolph Kuhlman and Emma Walkenhorst, were married in Concordia MO, February 11th, 1891. Concordia was a small, rural town in Missouri founded by German settlers. Kathryn was born on May 9th, 1907. Kathryn described herself as ‘good old-fashioned Missouri cornbread”. 7 As a child she was extremely close to her father which established in her a powerful understanding of the relationship we are to have with Daddy God.8
“I had to tell Papa everything. I knew Papa wanted to know. There wasn’t a thing that happened that day that I did not tell Papa. There never was a person easier for me to converse with than Papa. To this day- and Papa’s been gone a long time- there are things I wish I could run and tell Papa…. That’s why this relationship with our heavenly Father is just as real and just as personal. I never memorized anything to tell Papa. It came so spontaneously. And that’s the way it is with our heavenly Father.” 9
On October 6th, 1913, her sister, Myrtle married Everette Parrott in Sedalia, MO. Her sister and brother-in-law would soon play a major part in Kathryn going into ministry.
In the spring of 1921, Kathryn Kuhlman was born-again during a service at a Methodist church.
“Many things that happen to us in our lives can be beneficial if we only surrender our own will and desires to God and commit ourselves totally to Him.”10
Kathryn Kuhlman would write down in a little book when she was seventeen, something she would refer to later and describes her life…
“Whether life grinds a man down or polishes him depends on what he is made of. A diamond cannot be polished without friction nor man perfected without trials. Great pilots are made in rough waters and deep seas.”11
Kathryn Kuhlman was taught to work hard. As she wrote, “It seems that all I have done is preach and pray, and work and pray some more, preach some more, and work a little harder…You wonder why I know the Word of God as I do. It is because, since I can remember, I’ve searched Scripture. I’ve been hungry for the Word of God.” 12
When she was sixteen, in 1923, Kathryn joined her sister Myrtle and her husband with their tent ministry in Washington and Oregon. After about five years, they would make their way to Idaho, and it is during the time in Idaho that Kathryn would begin to preach occasionally.
While in Boise, Myrtle and Everette’s martial issues caused them to split for a season. He left for Wyoming and was later rejoined by Myrtle. However, Kathryn remained in Boise where she was invited to preach at an old pool hall. From here she would go to Pocatello in eastern Idaho. She followed the “Snake River” and the reverse of the Oregon trail. She claimed she travelled everywhere in Idaho.
In Pocatello, she rented an old Opera House that needed repairs.
“I knew what God could do if only the Gospel- in its simplicity- were preached.”13
She would stay there for six weeks before leaving for Twin Falls. The last night, the final service lasted until after midnight and the main floor and both balconies were filled.
She arrived in Twin Falls in January, and on her second day, she slipped on the ice and broker her leg. She was told to stay off her foot for two weeks. Kathryn Kuhlman was unstopped and held meetings at the civic hall. Twin Falls is on the route back to Boise.
It was during an “after meeting meeting,” that Kathryn first experienced “speaking in tongues.”14 A lady who had come from Chicago, called Isabel Drake began to worship by singing in the Spirit. It was also here that the Evangelical Church Alliance ordained her. 15
Kathryn Kuhlman had sat under Charles Price and knew of the Pentecostal groups, but she had never heard anyone sing in tongues before.
Kathryn preached the simple salvation message. However, she would be greatly criticized because her own conversion was not such a dramatic life changing experience, and so many felt she was not qualified to preach. 16
Despite the small beginnings and criticisms, Kathryn pressed on.
“It is up to you to maintain a moment by moment walk of faith.”17
Kathryn understood the need to daily and in fact moment by moment, maintain a living relationship with Him. As she explained, the moment we lose that simple faith in Him, the victory over sin is lost. 18
Through these years, the Lord was training Kathryn for what He had ahead for her. Life was not easy. She was forced to live in a turkey shed, or in a room with no heat and had to cover herself with lots of blankets to keep warm. But, she learnt that self-pity is a destroyer. There is a price we all must pay…
‘I’m completely dependent on the Holy Spirit. There is a place in Him, a death. Remember this: Kathryn Kuhlman does not have one thing that God won’t give you if you pay the price… it costs much, but it’s worth the price. It’ll cost you everything, absolutely everything.” 19
Kathryn was sold out to the Lord and learned the importance of dedication and loyalty to the Lord and to His people.20
The Colorado Days
After preaching throughout Idaho, Kathryn and her colleague, Helen, moved to Colorado. They first went to Pueblo and held a six-month revival. While in Pueblo, she was joined by Earl F. Hewitt, who became her business manager. It was 1933, and the country was enduring the Great Depression. Kathryn did not have the backing of a denomination, but had to trust the Lord. When they decided to go to Denver and had only $5, Kathryn called Hewitt to place an ad in the Denver Post, take out radio ads, buy a piano and rent the biggest building. She believed they served a “big” God and should act accordingly. Hewitt did as she directed. He rented a building that had been the Montgomery Ward Company warehouse in Denver. The meetings at this building would last five months. They then moved to another building which soon was filled to capacity.
After five months, Kathryn declared the meetings over but the response was so great, Kathryn agreed to remain in Denver.
In 1934, Kathryn received a message that her father was in an accident. He had been struck by a car on an icy road. At the time, there was a blizzard, but this did not hinder Kathryn who made her way home straight away. On December 30th, she arrived home only to find that her father had passed earlier that morning. It was one of the most difficult days and experiences of her life.
“I had always been a happy person, and Papa helped to make me happy. Now he was gone, and in his place, I was battling unfamiliar strangers of fear and hate. I had the most perfect father a girl ever had. In my eyes Papa could do no wrong. He was my ideal.”21
“Suddenly I was standing at the front of the church, looking down- my eyes fixed not on Papa’s face, but his shoulders, that shoulder on which I had so often leaned…I leaned over and gently put my hand on that shoulder in the casket. And as I did, something happened. All that my fingers caressed was a suit of clothes…Everything that box contained was simply something discarded, loved once, laid aside. Papa wasn’t there…This was the first time the power of the risen, resurrected Christ really came through to me. Suddenly, I was no longer afraid of death… as my fear disappeared, so did my hate. Papa wasn’t dead. He was alive.” 22
The Dark Season
Kathryn returned to Denver, where a building had been found and renovation begun. On May 30th, 1935, the Denver Revival Tabernacle was opened. Above it on a neon sign it read, “Prayer Changes Everything.” It could hold two thousand people.
For the next four years Kathryn held meetings, except on Monday nights. Slowly, it developed into a church without any denominational affiliation.
In 1936, Kathryn had many musicians and ministers preach at the Tabernacle. One of them was Raymond T. Richey, who preached for three weeks. He was a leading voice in the healing movement.
Another minister, who preached there in 1935, was Burroughs A. Waltrip, who was a married man from Austin Texas. Kathryn and Burroughs soon found themselves attracted to each other. Kathryn somehow ignored the voice of the Spirit that sought to warn her the relationship was a mistake.
“We have already seen that it is not self effort that insures this wonderful life of constant victory. Now may I point out another truth: that the victorious life is not an untempted life.” 23
“But for a while, back in 1938, it seemed like even God was not big enough to handle His headstrong, redheaded handmaiden. For once in her life she was determined to do things her own way, regardless of what God- or His people thought about it.” 24
Waltrip left his family and moved to Mason City, Iowa, and presented himself as a single man. Kathryn and Helen came into Iowa to help him raise funds. Their romantic relationship grew and soon it was public. Many warned Kathryn not to marry him, but in her mind, she reasoned that his wife and kids had left him, which made him free to remarry. On October 16th, 1938, Kathryn announced she was joining Waltrip in Iowa, and on the 18th they were secretly married. Waltrip had divorced his wife sixteen months earlier.
So what was the issue?
Well, it was not the fact that he was divorced. The Bible lays out two reasons that are scriptural for divorce. First is adultery, and the second is if the spouse leaves the other. However, in this case there was deception and lying. Kathryn chose to believe him when he told her that his wife left him. The truth was, he left his wife. Kathryn knew the truth and her spirit was disturbed. However, she refused to listen to the Spirit. So often we know the truth, but we don’t want to hear it or at least receive it. We will avoid the subject and convince ourselves by spinning facts to make our version of the story correct. Therefore, we open doors that we never should have opened and allow the enemy into our lives. Understand the devil does not come to take an inch, he wants a mile. He comes to kill, steal and destroy. Soon the aftermath of his presence is seen. We find ourselves empty and full of despair.
So many times, it is in these difficult seasons that we discover the areas of ourselves that we never surrendered. If we are willing to return to Him and allow Him to kill the Egyptian in us, then He can turn the situation around for our good.
“If she chose, because of some character trait that made her stubborn, to rebel against God’s plan for her life, then God simply lightened the checkrein until she was forced to comply with His command. In fact, God has a way of taking our rebellion, our sins, or flagrant disobedience, and mold them into our future tensile strength.” 25
As we learn how much He has borne with us and shown us mercy, so we learn to bear with others and show great mercy. If you look at the story of the Apostle Matthews’ conversion, you will see in his Gospel he adds…
“But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous but the sinner.”
Matthew 9: 13
Matthew truly understood the compassion of the Lord, because he understood his own depravity and wretchedness, and how Jesus had great mercy on him.
“If the enemy can trip a spiritual giant and halt his effectiveness for God, that is exactly his plan.”26
Kathryn was making an impact for the Lord and the enemy wanted to stop her. Jesus said at the Last Passover how the enemy was coming, but had nothing on Him. We must seek that anything of darkness must be exposed and removed from us. In many situations, it is the “little foxes” that we ignore that can bring to our downfall.
Kathryn, somehow knew but refused to listen. She almost did not go through with the wedding. The reality is He does speak to us and we hear His, “No!” After the wedding, Kathryn refused to stay with her husband, weeping in her room and admitting she made a mistake. However, the Denver church was not so forgiving. They were outraged at the secret wedding and many believe drove Kathryn back into Waltrip’s arms. 26
Kathryn’s ministry seemed to just disintegrate. Paul would describe how we may be down, “but we are not out.” How we respond to such seasons is essential. Kathryn spent the next eight years forgotten in ministry. Six of those years she remained married to Waltrip, and then two years trying to get back into ministry. She would sit during those days on the platform behind her husband and simply weep while he preached.
When the people at Mason City learned how Waltrip had deceived them, they stopped attending and soon even the Radio Chapel closed.
A New Beginning
In 1944, while they were living in Los Angeles, Kathryn left Waltrip. They would eventually divorce in 1947.
“I had to make a choice. Would I serve the man I loved, or the God I loved? I knew I couldn’t serve God and Mister. No one will ever know the pain of dying like I know it, for I loved him more than I loved life itself. And for a time, I loved him even more than God. I finally told him I had to leave, for God had never released me from my original call. Not only did I live with him, I had to live with my conscience, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit was almost unbearable. I was tired of trying to justify myself.”27
There comes a day where we truly die. We abandon all for the sake of the call. No one really knows the true price of the call. The many things surrendered and things set aside. We are driven by an eternal burden that is hard to put into words. The call is as clear to us as anything, and we are driven to fulfill it. It consumes us. We may run from it for a season, but His touch never fades. The day He visited us and commissioned us never does fade. His Words remain and wreck us for life as normal.
“I said it out loud, ‘Dear Jesus I surrender all. I give it all to you. Take my body. Take my heart. All I am is yours. I place it in Your wonderful hands.”
For reasons no one knows, Kathryn went to Franklin, PA. It was here she would begin her comeback. It was a town founded by German coal miners. From here she would travel throughout the Midwestern states and south into the Virginias and Carolinas.
In some places she was accepted, while in others her past haunted her and she was rejected.
In 1946, she began preaching at the Gospel Tabernacle in Franklin. It had been where Billy Sunday had preached. The meetings were powerful, and it was if God had removed the last eight years.
Soon she was on radio, broadcasting from WKRZ Radio in Oil City. The response was so great that soon she added another station in Pittsburgh. The days of being shunned were over and people were seeking her out.
The End of the War
Just after World War II ended, God began to move in America through the healing movement and midcentury resurgence. Many were stepping up into the healing ministry, including Oral Roberts, Jack Coe, and William Branham. Gordon Lindsay started the Voice of Healing Magazine and Christ for the Nations Bible School. It is worth noting Kathryn refused to have articles printed in Gordon Lindsay’s magazine.
Kathryn Kuhlman’s heart which was to see “souls for Jesus,” preached the salvation message, but as she began praying with people, more and more got healed. The healing ministry would bring her worldwide fame.
“In the early parts of my ministry, I was greatly disturbed over much that I saw occurring in the field of divine healing. I was confused by the many methods that I saw employed. I was disgusted with the unwise performances I witnessed, none of which I could associate in any way whatsoever with either the action of the Holy Spirit or the nature of God…to this very day, there is nothing more repulsive to me than the lack of wisdom….There is one thing I can’t stand, and that is fanaticism- the manifestations of the flesh that bring a reproach on something that is so marvelous, something that is so sacred.”28
In fact, Kathryn saw a famous healing evangelist was visiting close by and decided to attend the service. She watched as the minister worked the crowd into a frenzy. All Kathryn could do was weep.
In 1947, Kathryn saw in the Word that healing was provided as part of salvation. She began to better understand the Christian’s relationship with the Holy Spirit. She would stay awake all night reading, praying and re-reading the Word.
Kathryn decided to hold a series of meetings on the Holy Spirit. During the second night, a lady stood and gave her testimony on how she was healed of a tumor the previous night. No one had laid hands on her and Kathryn was not even aware of anything happening. The lady who had been healed had gone to see a doctor to have the healing confirmed. Then on the following Sunday, another miracle occurred when a World War I veteran, George Orr, who was legally blind, had 85% of his sight restored in his permanently impaired eye. 29
“There is in these divine displays of divine power a divine tenderness and gentleness more impressive that the miraculous element itself, revealing divine sympathy and divine love and indeed divine authority.”30
I believe this quote reveals the heart of Kathryn. If you dare to step into the Holy of Holies, where few dare go because of the price, you discover the heart of the Father. Entrance into it is an absolute death to the old. For flesh can’t pass through the veil. It is the blood of Jesus and surrender to Him that makes a way. In the Holy of Holies all bow to the mercy of the Father. All things point to the mercy of the Father. Religion seeks to strip Him of such mercy and paint Him as a cruel demanding Father. But Christianity is not a religion, a set of beliefs and traditions of men about God. But rather it is a relationship with the Living Lord Jesus. The Word declares that in His presence is fullness of joy. A joy that our flesh can’t fully comprehend. It is a joy of the Spirit that comes out of knowing the heart of the Father. Religion seeks to declare you unworthy and demand you do penance in the hope maybe one day you will make it. But the Father, rich in mercy, filled with kindness, simply loves us and declares us through the blood of Jesus worthy to be loved. He is tender and full of compassion. He desires to bless us beyond what we can imagine. He so desperately wants us to know how much He cares and how good of a Father He is.
As we read the testimonies of those healed in her ministry, just like the woman with the issue of blood in the Word, we realize that it was more than healing that they needed. When you suffer from a serious illness, its impacts go past simple symptoms. They change everything and can terrorize your whole life. The sickness is such a cruel bondage that it steals, kills and destroys everything in your life.
“Mary had her goiter for thirty-six years. It was sixteen and half inches in width at this time. She was so short of breath, she could not walk up the smallest incline without stopping every foot or so to get her breath. Her whole body was involved and affected by the goiter. Not only was her heart extremely bad, but she suffered great pain in her arms and legs.
She and her husband had spent a small fortune on doctor bills, hoping against hope that some physician somewhere could help her, but no help was possible. The growth was so deeply rooted and enmeshed in her glands, that to operate and remove it would have cost her her life.
Immediately, after the death of her husband, she had gone to the doctor and pleaded with him to remove the growth…On a Thursday in May of 1949, Mary went as usual to the auditorium. She had a particularly bad and sleepless night, fighting for breath the whole night through. This day she took a prayer request with her to the auditorium. The service was nearly over when she felt a terrific pain in the top of her head, and simultaneously she felt something pull and tug at her neck.
Instinctively she put her hand on her throat. There was no sign of the goiter!”30
The crowds began to grow, and soon she was drawing even larger crowds than Billy Sunday. But as she saw the Holy Spirit move in more power, the enemy launched a counter attack.
I want to requote something I said earlier.
“I said it out loud, ‘Dear Jesus I surrender all. I give it all to you. Take my body. Take my heart. All I am is yours. I place it in your wonderful hands.”31
Most of us never come to the place of an unqualified yes and surrender to Jesus. A place where we no longer live, but He lives in and through us. Kathryn would experience a lot of persecution. People would sit in the front rows opposed to her. For many, such people seem to steal the anointing. But not so with Kathryn. She had died and surrendered all. Such a sweet surrender means willing to yield all your rights. We love the right to be offended or have an opinion. But all must be surrendered to Him.
She had learned to cast the care of ministry unto the Lord. For example, when the Lord called her to go on radio, she decided to let Him worry about the cost. 32
“I leave with a trust and a confidence in my heart and in my mind that as that day, so will God supply the strength for that day…if I were to visualize all my commitments on that calendar, all the services I have scheduled, all the telecasts and radio broadcasts I need to make, all sermons I must preach…If I would picture the load of daily mail before me, and all the prayer requests that await my attention on my desk, I would be instantly defeated…But, I just don’t do it…So, go to bed and sleep and commit the thing to God. That’s perfect trust. That’s perfect confidence. That’s where your faith in Him comes in. You sleep. If anybody is going to do the worrying, let God stay up and worry. Commit it to Him. If anybody has to work during the night, let God work so that when you awaken in the morning and you have to face the task, you are refreshed mentally and spiritually.”33
- J. Maloney, who owned the Gospel Tabernacle, was a business man and wanted a cut of the offerings. Maloney insisted that his contract called for a certain percentage of all the revenue including the radio and mail ministry. Maloney threatened to sue. Initially, he did not sue, but took down her signs and padlocked the doors. However, Kathryn told Maloney’s men blocking her from entering, that she would have her meeting that night. The local Irish and Polish coalminers who followed Kathryn, when they “sensed that someone was trying to take advantage of their ‘preacher lad,’ their blood began to boil.’”34
However, on June 4th, 1948, Maloney retaliated through the courts, filling a restraining order preventing Kathryn from using the building. 35 So the battle began. He would take ads out in newspapers claiming Kathryn was simply making herself rich on the people of Franklin. 36
Kathryn countered with ads in the paper. Kathryn had seen great success with her broadcasts in Pittsburgh and decided to hold a campaign there from July 4th to August 1st. At the same time, Kathryn, had purchased an old roller-skate ring in Sugar Creek. It would be called, “Faith Tabernacle.” At the same time, she secretly received divorce papers from her husband. But through the kindness of the sheriff, it was kept quiet and it would be seven years later that a newspaper in Akron, Ohio would finally reveal the news. 37
Later in 1948, Kathryn was finally persuaded to come look at Carnegie Hall. The custodian who showed her around said to her…
‘Aw. Miss Kuhlman, we’ll never fill this auditorium…even the opera stars can’t fill it.”38
The first service was on July 4th 1948, and the building was so packed, she had to hold two services that same night.
“Miss Kuhlman comes from no recognized church; pretends only to be an emissary of the doctrine of faith in God. Yet, night after night, she has jammed the North Side Carnegie Music Hall to overflowing. Hundreds have crowded the outer corridors to hear a few fragments of her words, Additional hundreds have been turned away…she’s the combination of the orator and the actress; the songstress and the evangelist…When hymns are sung, her voice rises high and clear above the crowd.”39
Kathryn would remain in Pittsburgh until she died.
She went on to expand her radio ministry into Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. Thus, she started preaching in cities nearby. The miracles continued.
The Pittsburgh Carrier wrote regarding her meetings at Carnegie Hall…
“They hear in her voice the word of God…the blind see her, the deaf hear her, and the bedridden get up at her bidding and walk.
Her doubters would like to ignore her…She maintains Faith Temple in Franklin (PA), where as many as 3,000 people swell the population of that small town, by a third, on Sundays. Crowds up to 4,000 visit her Tuesday-Thursday-Friday sessions at Carnegie Hall in Pittsburgh.” 40
Kathryn saw thousands healed in her ministry, but she resented being called a ‘faith healer.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an article on her in 1972. They wrote…
“What makes her unique is her 25-year healing ministry- and thousands of documented cases of healings she claims have happened which are all on file at her Kathryn Kuhlman Foundation Headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA….”But I’m not a faith healer.’ She said emphatically. ‘I resent very much being called a faith healer,’ she said. ‘I’ve never healed any one. It is the Holy Spirit doing the healing.”41
Kathryn was reluctant to move completely to Pittsburgh. In fact, she said regarding Faith Temple in Franklin,…
“No! The roof of Faith Temple literally would have to cave in before I’d believe God wanted me to move to Pittsburgh.”42
On Thanksgiving Day, 1950, after a heavy snowstorm, the roof of Faith Temple caved in. Three weeks later, Kathryn moved to Pittsburgh and bought herself a house in the Fox Chapel neighborhood.
The Ministry of Kathryn Kuhlman
Kathryn was clear that her ministry was not to build a church. She was not called to be a pastor. The Kathryn Kuhlman Foundation, however, financed more than twenty churches in the mission’s field. 43
A role model to Kathryn was Aimee Semple McPherson. It is claimed that Kathryn attended Aimee’s Bible school and some of her church services. Aimee’s theatrical style appealed to Kathryn, and Kathryn loved her anointed messages. The two never met personally, but the impact of Aimee’s ministry on Kathryn’s was clear.
Kathryn’s ministry focused on her radio ministry where she was down to earth in her approach. She laughed, cried and sang. She would eventually move into television broadcasts as well. She had a half hour program that was produced in the CBS Studio, though CBS never ran her program.
Kathryn moved from Carnegie Hall to the First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. Here for years, some the elite Bible scholars attended her services. Also, during the last ten years of her life she held services at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Kathryn began speaking at large churches and conventions worldwide. She worked closely with the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International.
Whereever she preached, Kathryn insisted that they had to adjust their program to fit her style. As Roberts Liardon stated, ‘“those in charge, were not in charge’ when Kathryn was present.’”44
Dying A Thousand Deaths
Kathryn avoided certain things in her ministry such as criticism of people who smoked or drank. She did not teach sickness was of the devil. She simply avoided these subjects.
Her life was one of prayer. In the Philadelphia Inquirer, she said…
“But after the service, ‘I die a thousand deaths…because many leave unhealed. I say to myself, ‘Should I have yielded up myself to the Spirit even more? Should I have held the service five more minutes? Sometimes I wish I had never been called because of the great responsibility. I feel responsible for those who are not healed.” 45
With Kathryn, it was all about a relationship with the Lord God, which started in prayer…
“In order to make this as simple as I possibly can, you must realize that prayer involves a relationship with God”
“There is no greater power that God has given to any human being than the power of prayer; but there can be no real praying and you cannot know how to pray until you first of all realize that wonderful relationship that you have with God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit.” 46
Kathryn prayed every chance she could. She would be seen pacing back and forth before a meeting, sometimes raising her hands, bowing her head, etc., as she prayed. Oral Roberts described her prayer life like this…
“It was like they were talking back and forth to each other, and you couldn’t tell where Kathryn started and the Holy Spirit left off. It was a oneness.”47
Kathryn did not allow the Spiritual gifts of tongues, interpretation of tongues, or prophecy to operate in her services. While she believed in the gifts, she did not want anything to hinder or take away from the simple belief in Christ. However, it was common in her services for people to be slain in the Holy Spirit.
Kathryn Kuhlman claimed she stayed prayed up. However, it was not uncommon to find her withdrawing herself to agonize in prayer. She would pray herself to sleep. She was a woman of intense prayer. 48
Behind Closed Doors
Kathryn was very secretive regarding her age, her health, her private devotional life or personal wealth. While the whole world knew her, they knew very little truly about her. The people who worked for her were loyal to her. When Kathryn found a system that worked, she never changed it. Even the way she ran things in her foundation. David Wilkerson said of Kathryn Kuhlman…
“likened her to General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, a bellowing bull of a man who had no patience with those who did not believe the way he did or were unwilling to do the work of God the way he wanted it done. It was with the same unyielding intensity that Kathryn conducted her ministry and ran her office. ‘I don’t change my theology, nor will I change my methods,’ she said dogmatically.”49
Kathryn often hired people based on the fact that she simply enjoyed the person. In part because of her intense schedule, and in part due to health issues later in her life, Kathryn was very exhausted. This led her to making mistakes in hiring people that often caused her much pain.
However, most major denominations saw her ministry as pure and free from hidden agendas. I find it interesting that even the press defended her.
The Record-Argus said of her…
“This letter is meant for the so called Christians who are ridiculing and verbally persecuting the evangelist, Kathryn Kuhlman…Yet this woman, claiming no glory for herself, has brought a living faith to the hearts of these people.”50
During 1968 she began traveling worldwide to Israel, Finland, and Sweden. She was on the Johnny Carson show. In 1972 she would have a private audience with Pope Paul VI.
In 1975, she was in her late sixties and was suffering from a heart issue. She stood up against Bob Mumford’s shepherding doctrine. On November 16th, she held her last miracle service at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. At the end of the service, Kathryn slowly scanned every seat as if she knew she had run the race and this was her last meeting.
Three weeks later she lay dying in Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa. Oral and Evelyn Roberts were among the few visitors allowed to see her. Oral Roberts offered to pray for her, but Kathryn refused and made it clear she wanted to go home. At 8:20 P.M. on Friday February 20th, 1976, Kathryn went home to be with Jesus. She was sixty-eight years old. 51
Kathryn was buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, about a half mile from the grave of Aimee Semple McPherson.
“The world called me a fool for having given my entire life to One whom I’ve never seen. I know exactly what I’m going to say when I stand in His presence. When I look upon that wonderful face of Jesus, I’ll have just one thing to say: ‘I tried.” I gave of myself the best I knew how. My redemption will have been perfected when I stand and see Him who made it all possible.”52
- Buckingham, Jamie. “Daughter of Destiny. The Only Authorized Biography of Kathryn Kuhlman.” Bridge Logos, Alachua Florida, 1999page 59
- Kuhlman, Kathryn. “I believe in Miracles.” Bridge Logos, Alachua, FL, 1962
- Ibid loc 60
- Ibid loc 22
- Buckingham, Jamie. “Daughter of Destiny. The Only Authorized Biography of Kathryn Kuhlman.” Bridge Logos, Alachua Florida, 1999. p 275
- Ibid page 57
- Kuhlman, Kathryn. “Victory in Jesus and The Lord’s Healing Touch.” loc 79
- ibid loc 45
- Liardon, Roberts. “Kathryn Kuhlman A Spiritual Biography of God’s Miracle Worker.” Whitaker House, New Kensington, PA, 1990, PP. 30-31
- p 35
- Ibid p 35
- Ibid p 33
- Buckingham, Jamie. “Daughter of Destiny. The Only Authorized Biography of Ibid p41
- Ibid 42
- Ibid 44
- Kuhlman, Kathryn. “Victory in Jesus and The Lord’s Healing Touch.” loc 137
- Ibid loc 114
- “Sermon by Kathryn Kuhlman. ‘Not Doing What We Like, but Liking What We Have to Do.”
- Liardon, Roberts. “God’s Generals, Why They Succeeded and Why Some Failed.” Albury Publishing, Tulsa OK, 1996 p 279
- Ibid p. 282
- Ibid p. 283
- Kuhlman, Kathryn. “Victory in Jesus and The Lord’s Healing Touch.” loc 241
- Buckingham, Jamie. “Daughter of Destiny. The Only Authorized Biography of Kathryn Kuhlman.” Bridge Logos, Alachua Florida, 1999. page 80
- Ibid page 81
- Warner, Wayne, E. “Kathryn Kuhlman: The Woman Behind the Miracles.” Vine Books, Ann Arbor, MI: 1993, pages 93-94
- Daughter of Destiny p 88
- Sermon by Kathryn Kuhlman, “The Secret of All Miracles in Jesus’ Life.”
- Liardon, Roberts. “God’s Generals, Why They Succeeded and Why Some Failed.” Albury Publishing, Tulsa OK, 1996 p 290-91
- I believe in Miracles p113-14
- Buckingham, Jamie. “Daughter of Destiny. The Only Authorized Biography of Kathryn Kuhlman.” Bridge Logos, Alachua Florida, 1999. p 94
- Ibid p 103
- Kuhlman, Kathryn. “Victory in Jesus and The Lord’s Healing Touch.” loc 173
- Buckingham, Jamie. “Daughter of Destiny. The Only Authorized Biography of Kathryn Kuhlman.” Bridge Logos, Alachua Florida, 1999. p116
- Ibid 116
- Ibid p 119
- Ibid 120-121
- Ibid 122
- Ibid p 123
- Pittsburgh Courier. Sat, Nov 18th, 1950. “Who is She? Kathryn Kuhlman.”
- Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s the Holy Spirit that Heal,’ Says Kathryn Kuhlman.” Tuesday Sept 19th, 1972
- Liardon, Roberts. “God’s Generals, Why They Succeeded and Why Some Failed.” Albury Publishing, Tulsa OK, 1996 p 293
- Ibid 293
- Ibid 295
- Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s the Holy Spirit that Heal,’ Says Kathryn Kuhlman.” Tuesday Sept 19th, 1972
- Kuhlman, Kathryn. “Victory in Jesus and The Lord’s Healing Touch.” loc 33
- Warner, Kathryn Kuhlman, p 234
- Buckingham, Jamie. “Daughter of Destiny. The Only Authorized Biography of Kathryn Kuhlman.” Bridge Logos, Alachua Florida, 1999. p 155
- Ibid p149
- Ibid p 157
- The Record-Argus, “Speak Your Mind.” Thursday, Nov. 17th, 1949
- Liardon, Roberts. “God’s Generals, Why They Succeeded and Why Some Failed.” Albury Publishing, Tulsa OK, 1996, p 304-305
- “A tribute to the Lord’s Handmaiden.” Quoted from the Abundant Life Magazine (Tulsa, OK: Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association, May 1976), cover