If there was ever a man who walked in the revelation of God in man, John G. Lake. A man of purpose, vision, strength and character, his one goal in life was to bring the fullness of God to every person. He often said that the secret of heaven’s power was not in the doing, but in the being. He believed that Spirit-filled Christians should enjoy the same type of ministry Jesus did while living on earth, and that this reality could only be accomplished by seeing themselves as God saw them. John G. Lake lived his life and fulfilled his ministry in the earth with this type of spiritual understanding.
John Graham Lake was born on March 18, 1870 in Ontario, Canada. When he was small his family moved to Michigan, in the United States. While he was still young, Lake attended a Salvation Army meeting and became convicted of his need for a savior, and he invited Jesus to become Lord of life.
Lake was incredibly impacted by illness. He was one of sixteen children, and over the course of his young life eight of them died. He grew to hate the sickness, grief, and death that was so much a part of his family life. His brother was an invalid, one sister had extensive cancer, another sister had bleeding problems, and his wife had tuberculosis and heart disease.
In 1899 the family had heard about John Alexander Dowie, in Chicago, because he was receiving substantial media attention. They took Lake’s brother to the healing rooms in Chicago, and he was instantly healed. Both sisters then went, as well, and were also healed. Finally, Lake had contacted people to pray for his wife in June of 1899, and she was also healed. He opened the scriptures to see Acts 10:38 ASV Even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. He saw outlined clearly for himself that Jesus is the healer and Satan is the oppressor of men. Lake became a member of Dowie’s Christian Catholic Church and a branch was opened in Sault Ste Marie, where he was living at the time.
Lake felt a call to the ministry, and studied to become a Methodist minister. He took to heart the Methodist teaching on sanctification and sought it passionately. When his studies were done, however, he made a decision to go into business and start a newspaper in Illinois. Then he moved back to Michigan and began a career in real estate. He met Jennie Stevens and married her.
Lake became a deacon in the new church. In August 1900 Lake’s wife Jennie was accidently shot by her 4 year old son. Following Dowie’s teachings the Lakes refused medical help and depended on prayer. The event was so startling an article was written up in the Chicago Daily Tribune, which regularly reported on Dowie’s activities.
In 1904 Lake moved to Chicago to work with Dowie. Seeing the power of God, Lake began to cry out for more of the Holy Spirit.
He said “I was led to set aside certain hours of the day that I dedicated to God, as times of meditation, and prayer. Thus a number of months passed, until one morning as I knelt praying, the Spirit of the Lord spoke within my spirit, and said, “Be patient until autumn.” My heart rejoiced in this encouragement and I continued my practice of meditation and prayer as formerly. It became easy for me to detach myself from the course of life, so that while my hands and mind were engaged in the common affairs of every day, my spirit maintained its attitude of communion with God… I said, ‘God, if you will baptize me in the Holy Spirit, and give me the power of God, nothing shall be permitted to stand before me and a hundred-fold obedience.
“I prayed for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for nine months, and if a man ever prayed honestly, and sincerely in the faith, I did. Finally one day I was ready to throw up my hands, and quit. I said, ‘Lord, it may be for others, but it is not for me. You just cannot give it to me.’ I did not blame God.
One night a gentleman by the name of Pierce said, ‘Mr. Lake, I have been wishing for a long time you would come over, and we would spend a night in prayer together. We have been praying for the Baptism for a whole year and there is not one of us baptized yet. Brother, I do not believe that you are either, so we can pray for one another.’ I was so hungry to pray, so I went with all intentions of praying for the rest, but I had not been praying five minutes until the light of God began to shine around me, I found myself in a center of an arc of light ten feet in diameter, the whitest light in all the universe. So white! Oh how it spoke of purity. The remembrance of that whiteness, that wonderful whiteness, has been the ideal that has stood before my soul, of the purity of the nature of God ever since. He spent nine months seeking a fuller level of the presence of God.
Lake went, with another man to pray for a sick woman. God’s presence fell on and over him like he’d never known before.
Arriving at the home we found the lady in a wheel chair. All her joints were set with inflammatory rheumatism. She had been in the condition for ten years…While my friend was conversing with her, preparing her to be prayed with, that she might be healed, I sat in a deep chair on the opposite side of a large room. My soul was crying out to God in a yearning too deep for words, when suddenly it seemed to me, that I had passed under a shower of warm tropical rain, which was not falling upon me, but through me. My spirit, and soul and body under this influence soothed into such a deep still calm, as I had never known. My brain, which had always been so active, became perfectly still. An awe of the presence of God settled over me. I knew it was God.
The Spirit said, ‘I have heard your prayers, I have seen your tears. You are now Baptized in the Holy Spirit.’ Then currents of power began to rush through my being from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. The shocks of power increased in rapidity, and voltage. As these currents of power would pass through me, they seemed to come upon my head, rush through my body, and through my feet into the floor… Even at this late date, the awe of that hour rests upon my soul. That was how it all began.
John felt called to Africa and he acted with obedience and went there in 1908, in South Africa Lake saw 1,000,000 converts, planted hundreds of churches, and raised up over 1000 local ministers.