Amanda Benedict: The Early Pentecostal Prayer Warrior in Springfield, Missouri

AmandaBenedict_1400This Week in AG History — March 19, 1927

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 19 March 2020

Amanda Benedict (1851-1925) is remembered as a fervent prayer warrior and one of the early participants in the Pentecostal movement in Springfield, Missouri. When she died, Assemblies of God leaders credited her prayers for the success of the local congregation and national ministries located in the city.

When Benedict moved to Springfield around 1910, she was 60 years old and had already served the Lord with distinction in a rescue home for girls in Chicago and in a faith home for children in Iowa.

Soon after moving to Springfield, while working as a door-to-door salesperson, Benedict met Lillie Corum. The two ladies got acquainted and, in conversation, Corum shared about her experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Corum had been baptized in the Spirit on June 1, 1907, under the ministry of her sister, Rachel Sizelove, who had brought the Pentecostal message from Azusa Street.

Benedict expressed interest in receiving this blessing and began seeking it. The two ladies began praying together regularly, and soon Amanda herself was filled with the Spirit. Corum, Benedict, Birdie Hoy, and a few others prayed fervently and helped with the beginnings of what became Central Assembly of God.

With a burden for lost souls, Benedict prayed and interceded for days on end, until she felt the burden lift or victory came. She often prayed all night in a grove of trees near the corner of Campbell Avenue and Calhoun Street, which later became the site of Central Assembly of God. She prayed many times for Springfield to make a spiritual impact on the world, and that God’s blessings would flow through Springfield to the ends of the earth. At one point, she felt led to fast and pray for Springfield for one entire year — living only on bread and water.

In 1915, Benedict moved to Aurora, Missouri, where she started a Pentecostal church that became affiliated with the Assemblies of God. After pastoring in Aurora for almost a decade, she died in 1925 at the age of 74. At her funeral service at Central Assembly of God in Springfield, church members, Bible school students, and others gave inspiring testimonies of her life.

Stanley Frodsham, the editor of the Pentecostal Evangel, reported that Benedict helped to launch a tent meeting in the early days of revival in Springfield and “spent whole nights praying under the canvas.” Among other things, “She prayed for a Pentecostal Assembly in Springfield.” And on the very site where she prayed, the first building for Central Assembly was erected. Frodsham and others believed that Central Assembly of God, Central Bible College, and the Assemblies of God national office, all located in Springfield, resulted largely from Benedict’s fervent, effectual prayers.

Benedict was buried without a grave marker in Eastlawn Cemetery in Springfield. In 2007, 82 after her death, a marker was finally placed on her grave. The marker features a fitting tribute: “She prayed and fasted for the city of Springfield.” On the back is a Scripture verse: “Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Frodsham published a sermon by Benedict, titled “Abundance for All,” a couple of years after her death. The sermon compared the blessings of the baptism in the Holy Spirit to a multitude of savory items held in a locked bakery. She said, “I would fail to satisfy a vigorous physical appetite to look through the windows of a locked bakery.” She continued: “Just so it is unsatisfying to a healthy spiritual appetite to see what Pentecost meant in the years that are past, and yet not partake of it now in this present day.” She felt that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was necessary to receive all the blessings of God. She said, “Pentecost means appetite and a free table loaded with solid food and with dainties hitherto unknown.”

She exhorted the reader to depend on God and ask Him for this blessing: “If you are a seeker of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, see to it that you receive with the God-appointed sign, promised by Christ himself (Mark 16:17), that the disciples received when they were first filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:4).”

Read “Abundance for All,” by Amanda Benedict on page 5 of the March 19, 1927, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Holy Ground,” by James H. McConkey

• “Judgments of God and Revival Fires in Poland,” by Gustave H. Schmidt

• “Job,” by Ernest S. Williams

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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