Alfred Garr ministered in the early part of the 20th century. He is remembered as a pioneering church planter, a globe-trotting missionary, and a divine healer. Some people today call him an apostle that was raised up and sent out by God to ignite revivals in America and the nations. But how did Mr. Garr get his start and become this kind of leader? 

Alfred was born in Kentucky in 1875, the youngest of five children. During his childhood, his family oscillated through trying seasons of great poverty and also comfortable wealth. He understood first-hand what it felt like to live with very little and also to live with plenty. Spiritually, although his parents were not particularly religious, they encouraged Alfred to seek answers for the deep spiritual hunger that ached in his heart. He tried going to church and getting baptized. He dove into long talks with the pastors. He sought to visit churches far away from his town. But none of this satisfied him. More than anything else, he wanted to encounter God. He believed that a true experience with God should impact his feelings and change him profoundly. Nothing less would satisfy. 

One day, this young boy went home and fell to his knees, weeping and crying out to God in the secluded front room of his house. He poured out his heart to the Lord, and it strangely gave him peace. It became his practice to often hide himself away in a closet in order to draw closer to the Lord. This confused his parents, and they often pestered him about it, but his hunger for God was a fire that would not be extinguished. As he got older, his intense pursuit of God affected those around him, and it led to many of his siblings and even one teacher putting their trust in Christ. 

When Alfred entered his teenage years, he stumbled into a very dark period of his life. He fell into sin. He simply stopped caring. How did this happen? Alfred did not abruptly turn his back on His Savior. It was the teaching he was hearing all the time. The popular ideas of that day insisted that he could not live a holy life, that it was impractical, that it was virtually impossible He saw leaders openly participate in sin and make all kinds of excuses, without any shame or repentance. He witnessed hypocrisy and widespread compromise. In time, he fell into the ways of his peers and started living an inconsistent and worldly lifestyle.

One day, he heard a preacher in Kentucky talk about actually living a holy life by the power of the Holy Spirit. The message jarred his heart and awakened the old and powerful longings for God once again. He wanted so badly to be holy. He began to wrestle against the temptations in his life that had tragically become the norm. He also started to sense that God was calling him to preach the Good News as a minister. Finally, he understood that he needed to trust God and to obey Him so that he could return to the days when he walked close to God. He committed to seek after the Lord and to follow Him without reservation. Now, the time was ready for God to shape and employ Alfred for even greater things. 


  1. How did elements of Alfred Garr’s early life impact his spiritual growth? What aspects of your family and childhood have shaped the way you think about God? How has your family supported your journey with God? What things from your past have become obstacles to your present spiritual walk?
  2. What is your first impression when you heard about Alfred’s deep hunger for God? When was a time when you were incredible hungry for God? What did this look like in regular everyday life? Has there been teachings that confused you and possibly even discouraged you from living fully for God? 
  3. What does it mean to you to live a holy life by the Holy Spirit? How does compromise and hypocrisy corrupt one’s walk with God? Why do you think obedience to God’s personal voice is so important to maintaining intimacy with Jesus?

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