John G. Lake was born March 18, 1870 in Ontario, Canada. He was born into a family that suffered much grief with the deaths of four brothers and sisters. At the tender age of sixteen John Lake accepted Christ and surrendered his life to Him. As a youth, he was very interested in the art of science and physics. He would continue to study the Bible not only to understand it, but also to prove its accuracy in everyday life.
After two years in his marriage to Jennie Stevens, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and heart disease. In a few years her condition would worsen when the doctors told him there was nothing more that could be done for her. With his home family still having ill members and now his wife, Lake began to wonder where God’s power was. John had experienced God’s healing power in his youth when he suffered from rheumatism. He came to Dowie’s Healing Home in Chicago, where an older man laid hands on him and he was healed instantly. Over the years, Lake continued to take other family members to the Dowie Home to be healed.
During Jennie’s final hours out of hopelessness, Lake threw his Bible against the fireplace mantle and it opened to the book of Acts chapter 10. His eyes drifted to verse 38: " …God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him." Lake realized through this verse that God was not responsible for Jennie’s illness or any illness. He then knew that it was the devil that was the cause of her being sick and the devil was the one destroying his life.
Notice that this is the same scripture that Alexander Dowie received in his hour of frustration. The revelation of this scripture is responsible for the launching of yet another great healing ministry. With this, John marched into the bedroom and boldly stated that his wife be healed, and she was. This became national news bringing many from across the way to visit their home to see God ’s miracle and to receive healing for themselves.
In 1901, Lake moved to Zion, Illinois, to study divine healing under John Alexander Dowie. Others recognized the gifts in John Lake and offered him the job of top business consultant to top business executives and he began making a fortune. He tried to juggle this great success but at the same time God continued to grow in him. But Lake waited on God’s perfect timing for his ministry before he gave up his secular job and sold all that he owned.
After his baptism of the Holy Spirit, his desire to enter full time ministry increased, so Jennie and John sold their estate and their possessions and with a great move of faith they became entirely dependant on God. In 1908 they trusted God and prayed for the finances to take the family to Africa.
Even though God provided for their trip to Africa, they had only $1.50 left. This takes great faith. It wasn’t just himself that was taking a risk in believing God for his sustenance, but he was relying on God to provide for his wife and seven children.
Upon their arrival they were moved to find that God had arranged for them to have a furnished home for their family of seven children. They did not have any denominational ties so there was no support waiting for them when they arrived. But as we walk in faith believing God, He will make provision. A woman came to the dock and was looking for a specific number of people that had come as a missionary family. The Lord told the woman to look for a family that had seven children and two adults.
Lake never took offerings in his ministry, yet he would find baskets of food and envelopes of money on the family’s doorstep.
In 1919 a plague that was so contagious wiped out a quarter of the population in Africa. Lake and his assistants were among the few to help with the dead. One doctor asked Lake what he was doing to protect himself since he never seemed to be afflicted with the illness. John Lake said, " Brother it is the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. I believe that just as long as I keep my soul in contact with the living God so that His Spirit is flowing into my soul and body, that no germ will ever attach itself to me, for the Spirit of God will kill it." He went on to say after showing the doctor what will happen when he puts germs on his hands, " you can fill my hand with them and I will keep it under the microscope, and instead of these germs remaining alive, they will die instantly." Great miracles were performed through Lake’s ministry in Africa that still affect that country today.
Dr. Lake was off ministering in another area when he received word that his wife had passed away. As he returned, he learned of the tragic circumstances surrounding her death. You see, John often gave away food that he bought to bring home to his family to widows he met along the way. He would also bring people home and Jennie would have to stretch an already meager portion of food to feed the guests.
So as John was away from home, people began to gather in the yard of their home and Jennie would try to feed and care for them. She did so at the denial of her self and she finally died of malnutrition.
In 1912, Lake returned to the United States after the death of his wife. He eventually remarried and fathered more children. His children from his first marriage became rebellious because of the neglect that they had suffered. Their father was hardly ever at home and was always ministering to the needs of others. This is a lesson that must be learned. We see the same thing happening all over today. Ministers must understand that there is a limit to what they can do and that they are called to God first, then their family.
John learned this lesson and became a father to the children of his new marriage. You can contrast the difference between the children of the first marriage and those of the second and see a stark difference as the effects of neglect in one family and attendance in the other took its toll.
He would travel the nation and then he set up healing rooms in Spokane, Washington where over a hundred thousand healings took place. The Better Business Bureau decided to take a look into this ministry, but they postponed the investigation after finding positive results. When asked how he explained these miraculous healings Lake stated, " When you see those holy flashes of heavenly flame once in a while in a person’s life, as we observed with our Sister Etter; when someone is healed, it is because her consciousness and Christ are one. She is fused into God. I saw a dying, strangling woman healed in thirty seconds as Mrs. Etter cast out the demon. The flame of God, the fire of His Spirit, ten seconds of connection with the Almighty Christ at the Throne of God, that is the secret of it."
John Lake had an awesome gift of God to encourage faith and revelation in the hearts of others who listened to him. The ministers who sat under Lake’s teachings went on to find that their ministries too had faith and remarkable healings. Lake said, " If he, a Christian has not the Spirit to minister in the real high sense, he has nothing to minister. Other men have intellectuality, but the Christian is supposed to be the possessor of the Spirit. There should never be an misunderstanding along these lines."
John Lake’s ministry was a powerful example of faith in action. He dared to believe that the Word of God is true...all of it. When his faith took action, miracles took place. Let us look within ourselves and ask God to anoint us with His power as we believe in His callings for our lives.
John Lake went home to be with the Lord on September 16, 1935.