Healing and Revival


 

"Healing and the Downtrodden"

 

Anna Weed Prosser was born in Albany, New York on October 15, 1846 to Erastus J. and Lucy Prosser. Her mother became crippled shortly after her birth and struggled for the next several years. In 1853 the family moved to Buffalo, New York. She describes her early life as longing for God, but upon receiving no instruction from parents, she lost the initial conviction. She describes a life of parties and superficiality. Although being given the gospel three times between the ages of 12 and 20 she was unaware of what it really meant. At 20, in an attempt to remove a sense of guilt she joined a church. Shortly after this Prosser became very ill. She collapsed and had to be carried to bed. She became sickly for the next 10 years. At one point she fell and hit her head and hurt her spine and was bedridden for two years. Her circulation was so poor her extremities would become cold and she would lose feeling in her arms and legs. She endured ghastly surgeries and became extremely sensitive to sound and light. Her father brought in physicians and traveled with her to see specialists, but nothing improved the problems. Her parents took her to a hot springs spa hoping that she would improve. There was a clairvoyant there who had supposedly helped people and they were desperate enough to try a visit. While at the hot springs her mother, under the stress of caring for Anna, developed pneumonia and died suddenly.

There seemed no hope for improvement. One day Prosser's sister told her about a Christian woman who was praying for people in her home and they were getting well. Prosser thought the idea absurd but agreed to let her sister go and visit the home and find out more. Prosser had drifted in Unitarianism in her despair. The woman (probably Carrie Judd) came to see Prosser and gave her a clear presentation of the gospel and Christ's willingness to forgive sins and heal the sick. She agreed to take Prosser into her home and to pray for her. At this home the word was read and expounded to Prosser, until she saw clearly her need for a saving Christ. She threw herself on the floor and gave her life to Christ. She was flooded with peace and given the scripture "Daughter be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole." Her health began improving from that moment on. Within ten days she had walked around the block for the first time in five years. She gradually improved and within a few weeks was walking three miles a day.

Prosser returned home greatly improved. Whoever came to her house heard her testimony, for she had promised God that she would be a witness to Him and his truth. She went to Long Island for a month and met a man who had been healed through the ministry of Dr. Charles Cullis. He shared Cullis' teaching on faith and Prosser felt she took a major leap forward. She also attended a Women's Christian Temperance Union meeting. The WCTU was a highly evangelistic group, which held a mission for those who were struggling with alcoholism. She began to help in the meetings, gave her testimony, and finally was put in charge of the Mission. Carrie Judd came to help at the Mission and because of her healing testimony became close friends with Prosser. Prosser often supported Judd in her Faith Home work, attended meetings at the home, and raised money for the home's support.

Prosser joined a group of Methodists who taught on sanctification and she came into a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit. One evening while Prosser was leading a prayer time a man was dramatically saved, delivered, and healed. Prosser pressed on in God. She and a group of her converts from the WCTU Mission opened another mission in the worst part of town. As a Methodist she was allowed to work as an evangelist and held revival meetings. At one point in the middle of a blizzard she was attempting to reach an evangelistic meeting. She stopped at a house and asked God to break through the storm. By the time she arose from her knees the storm had ceased and the sunshine had broken through.

A young woman with epilepsy started attending her meetings. They were one of the few places where the woman felt she could go and be accepted even if she had a seizure. Prosser felt God was asking her to take this young woman in, but didn't feel she was capable of doing it. Prosser became ill and was taken in Carrie Judd. Feeling that she had allowed an opening to the enemy by not doing what God had asked her, Prosser agreed to take the young woman into her house. The woman was saved and healed and went into missions work.

Around 1887 Prosser became involved with the Christian and Missionary Alliance organization. In 1890 became Vice-President and in 1891 became President of the Buffalo Branch of the C&MA. She was a regular speaker at Buffalo conventions and taught at the Alliance Convention held at Keuka College on Keuka Lake, Yates County, New York. Although people had been healed under her ministry it wasn't until she attended a Convention in Old Orchard Beach, Maine that she saw that Jesus wanted to heal, based on the atonement of Christ at the cross. Struggling with believing the Word over her experience she knelt before Christ and told Him that she would believe His Word. God gave her a vision of Jesus on the Cross bearing our sins and sicknesses. She began regularly praying for the sick and seeing many healed. She also stood on Acts 10:38 which said that people could be sick because they were oppressed by the devil.

God began to call Prosser to open a "Faith House" where people could come for prayer and receive ministry. This was to be a place where she was totally dependent upon God to meet her financial needs. It seemed overwhelming. God gave her a dream showing her the area of the city he wanted her to have her Faith Home in. Amazingly when she went to the area in the dream the original house that had been used by Carrie Judd for her Faith Home was for rent. This was house that already been consecrated by prayers and faithfulness to God! It was open and dedicated on October 15, 1896. Elizabeth Baker from Rochester came to dedicate the Home.

With everything God was asking, God asked yet another thing. Prosser opened a Missionary Training School to prepare young people for the mission field. People came in a continuous stream for prayer and training. The blind received sight, mental problems were healed, and lung problems relieved. Prosser struggled with ill health twice during the time she was running the house, but God healed her both times. She faithfully kept the charge that God called her to until she died on December 20, 1902.

Prosser was a significant person in the "Faith Homes" movement of the late nineteenth century. She had relationships with Carrie Judd Montgomery, A. B. Simpson, the Duncan sisters of Rochester New York, Dora Dudley of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Mary Mossman, who had Faith Homes in Ocean Grove, New Jersey and Melrose, Florida. She wrote many articles for Judd's "Triumphs of Faith" magazine and as well as her autobiography in 1901 titled "From Death to Life".

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