Friday, December 29, 2017

Lucy Farrow - The Woman Who ignited the Flame at Azusa Street

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, California is known as a catalyst for the modern Pentecostal movement to burn all over the world. William Seymour, a black half blind preacher, was credited for the revival fire at Azusa Street, but Lucy Farrow, an old black woman born in slavery, was the spark that ignited the flame.

Lucy Farrow was born a slave in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1851. Her uncle was famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass. We don't know much about her past, but she was married and living in Mississippi in 1871. By 1890, she had moved to Houston, Texas, was a widow who had borne seven children of which only two survived. There is only one known photograph of her with a group of people.

In Houston, Lucy pastored a small mission-church in 1905. A young black man attended her church named William Seymour. During this times, Reverend Charles Fox Parham began holding crusades in downtown Houston and preaching about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. He had started a Bible college in Kansas where many of his students received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Lucy decided to move to Kansas for two months and left her church in the hands of William Seymour. There, she attended Parham's school and work as a governess for his children.

When Lucy returned to Houston, she shared her experiences with Seymour. As short time later, Parham opened a new Bible school in Houston, and Farrow convinced Seymour to enroll. After attending the college, Seymour moved to Los Angeles to preach the Gospel and about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Seymour had not yet received the baptism. Seymour and those in his ministry collected an offering to send for Lucy. She preached and taught there, and through the laying on of hands, many received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues including Seymour. Word spread and Seymour moved to a building on Azusa Street to accommodate the seekers, both white and black at a time when segregation was a major part of church life. Revival spread throughout the nation and the world.

Lucy didn't stay in California for long during the revival. In August, 1906, she traveled to Norfolk, Virginia. On her way, she stopped and preached Parham’s Apostolic Faith Movement camp meeting where many received the power of the Spirit, spoke in tongues. In Virginia, she held a series of meetings in Portsmouth for several weeks where 150 received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and about 200 were saved. In 1911, Lucy contracted tuberculosis and died in her home in Houston.

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and was a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest. Her Novel, Alice’s Notions and her novellas Resurrection of Hope and A Christmas Promise are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


  1. The power of a woman on fire for the Lord....thanks for the post!

  2. Great post, Tamera! I love reading about women who made a difference.

  3. I've heard about this revival, Tamera, but didn't know the details of how it began. Thank you for this informative post!

  4. Thank you for sharing your interesting post.

  5. What a fascinating post, Tamera--thanks for sharing! I know a little about the Azusa Street Revival and William Seymour, but I didn't know about Lucy Farrow. So encouraging to hear how the Lord used her.

  6. I enjoyed reading this post. What an amazing woman, Lucy Farrow, was with her vital role in igniting the flame, known as Azusa Street Revivial. Even though I've read books about this revivial and the Pentecostal movement, I do not recall a lot about Farrow but Seymour and others who led the movement are mentioned more.

  7. wow. Thoroughly enjoyed this, Tamera. What a great pioneer in the faith!