The impact Oral Roberts had on the latter half of the 20th century was staggering. From a dirt-poor childhood to a ministry that touched hundreds of millions worldwide, Roberts, who passed away on December 15 at age 91, set in motion waves that continue to be felt today.
Born outside of Ada, Oklahoma, in 1918, Roberts was raised in poverty with his sister and two brothers. At age 16 he contracted TB so severe that he wasn’t expected to live. A traveling evangelist, George Moncey, held a tent service in Ada that Roberts attended. It was at that service that, Roberts said, he first heard God talking to him: “It was as if I was totally alone. I heard that voice that I’ve heard many times since: ‘Son, I am going to heal you, and you are to take my healing power to your generation. You are to build me a university and build it on my authority and the Holy Spirit.’”