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Discussion Forum : General Topics : What WAS Tozer doing in there??

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Joined: 2010/6/26
Posts: 483


I heard an interesting story about Tozer. Tozer didn't begin prayer by "talking", but by "listening". Once, when he was visiting a church, he attended a prayer meeting. After a brief discussion with the other people who were at the prayer meeting, Tozer laid himself flat on the floor... and didn't say a word. After a significant period of time had passed, and the people grew increasingly uncomfortable, someone began to speak idle words. And then Tozer turned around and said "Shut up and listen!" I suspect the man needed to learn a lesson from God.

Anyways, Tozer spent time with God in the same way that Mary of Bethany would gaze at Jesus, listening to Him, waiting on Him, hanging on to His every word. May God be pleased to increase our intimacy with Him, such that we wouldn't simply bring a grocery list, but instead have an intimate relationship with Him.

In Christ Jesus,

 2011/5/17 5:10Profile

Joined: 2011/4/6
Posts: 32
Quezon City, Philippines


Very good thread. I've heard that Tozer was also deeply influenced by Madame Guyonne, and no wonder they are like that in their pursuit of God's presence and leading. I've been always trying to learn from these people on how they press on towards more of God in their lives. I also love how Brother Lawrence practiced God's presence during his whole day activities. Oh the beauty and the wonder of Jesus!

 2011/5/17 8:35Profile

Joined: 2009/8/31
Posts: 416
Ohio USA


"Be still, and know that I am God".


 2011/5/17 10:05Profile

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
St. Joseph, Missouri


Tozer once wrote, "Writing is false when virtues are overdrawn and blemishes are concealed." So I am certain he would not want to be remembered without the 'warts' as it were.

May I suggest that only God knows what went on in his prayer room. Yet Tozer's biographers have given us insight as to what was going on outside his prayer room when he was in the prayer room. This is what Paul Harvey used to call, "the rest of the story."

They tell us that he tried to avoid people, even his family. He viewed folk to have 'diseased personalities' it is said, so he would hurry away from the pulpit so as to avoid folk. His wife Ada is said to have raised 7 kids (edit 6 boys and 1 girl) almost by herself. He would take train rides for hours just to be alone with God or to study. It all sounds virtuous, but I'm not fully convinced. I certainly have no plans to imitate the behavior.

Jesus never avoided people. Jesus loved children. The disciples sent them away, but Jesus wanted them near Him. He loved people and enjoyed their company. He was not a recluse. He did not spend the majority of his days and of His life in solitude. He interacted with individuals with a view to speaking into their life face to face. This is true of what we know of the apostles as well.

Tozer has been one of my heroes, but as I have come to know more of him I have put down the comic book. That is to say, I see him as a man of God, but a man nonetheless. As with all people we have to be careful what we imitate about them and we need a fuller picture of what was driving some of their deeds. Obviously Tozer loved God and loved spending time with Him. Mix that with a general desire to avoid life and people and suddenly one is holed up in a room for hours upon hours while the wife and kids are starving for attention. Tar and feather me now, but there is something wrong with that.

We need to pray and seek God in earnest. We need to spend time with the Lord. We need to follow the example of Jesus and the apostles and not get sidelined with thinking we can imitate or emulate the behavior of a person that had these issues. If Dorsett is to be believed both he and Ada his wife confided in friends that they had lived lonely lives. Snyder is much kinder, but still leaves a strong impression that he did not have a close family life with the wife or kids. They were not close. This is a problem in my view.

If Dorsett is to be believed, Ada once remarked, "Aiden loved Jesus Christ, Leonard loves me." That sounded very selfish in my ears when I first heard it. But after some years of reflection I realize that Tozer had a responsibility to get up and see about his family. To provide them with their needs emotionally. Women sometimes get bent out of shape when the husband is glues in front of the TV watching football for 6 hours Saturday and Sunday; is it scriptural or even sensical to spend so much time in study and prayer that life comes to a halt? Just asking. I know it sound very pious, but where is the precedent for it in scripture? So part of the answer of 'what he was doing' can only be answered from without the closet door; and if the biographers were right he was causing his wife to question whether or not he loved her.

Robert Wurtz II

 2011/5/17 11:02Profile

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 39795


Again, what WAS he doing in there??

What did he pray about? Exactly HOW did he get his closeness with the Father?

I read in the Ravenhill Biography (which gives some great insights between Ravenhill and Tozer and their spirituality: Where it states that Tozer said to ravenhill that he lies there on the carpet that is r worn face down from 9-12 everyday and just worships.

What he means is he did not pray for anything, no requests, just worship and most in silence contemplation of the Holiness and glory of God.

Be still and know that I am God. Not clearing your mind but filling it with the thoughts of God who He is and adoring Him for who He is.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2011/5/17 11:37Profile


That is enlightening, RobertW and so very sad. God only knows what our brother, A.W. struggled with.

I won't tar and feather you. I totally agree. And we all have blind spots, don't we. I hope we can learn from the tragedies in Tozer's relational life to his wife, kids and congregation.

I have often heard, "What good is it if you save the world but lose your family?"

Jesus was known by His personal ministry to people not the books that He wrote. The Lord wants to make us whole so that we are able to be relational with people as Jesus was. I think that if we cannot be relational then something is amiss (missing in our lives).

Best to keep Jesus as our "hero" and imitate Him.

One Shot: Reflections on the Life of A.W. Tozer


 2011/5/17 12:24

Joined: 2007/7/6
Posts: 109


thanks robertw. I have to agree with you there. If what we read about DL Moody is true though, he seemed to have found that proper balance in life between the 'prayer closet' and relational life. He was said to be a great husband and father and yet spent the time in prayer too. I hope to get the balance myself someday sooner than later preferably.

I think though that the key is a circular pattern. The more quality time (without becoming ridiculous) we spend in the presence of God worshipping Him, the more we will be filled to live for Him and the relationships will grow and we will then have more requests to take to God as intercessors on their behalf.

Hope that makes sense.


 2011/5/17 15:45Profile


Hi Lkid,

I was blessed by some of your thoughts. Thanks.

You made me think of Romans 12.

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

I believe we can "worship" God by doing His will and doing His will is to love our wife and children, being an example of love, kindness and holiness and speaking with them about Jesus and His Word. We should not think we are being robbed or missing out. As Jesus "invested" Himself in His (love ones) disciples (thank God He did!) we invest ourselves in our loved ones.

You used to worship by yourself, now you can worship with your children. The waking up at night will pass, and then you can get up early again and pray. We should never condemn ourselves if we cannot keep a spiritual "schedule". You can spend quality time with the Lord and your kids at the same time. Jesus showed us that.

By the indwelling Holy Spirit you can stay connected to God in a quality way and also be connected to people in a quality way.


 2011/5/17 15:57

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
St. Joseph, Missouri


Just to add agreement to the last few posts, I think that the more we spend time with God the more it should reflect in our behavior towards others. I'm reminded of Acts 4:13;

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

This is a common theme that in my view illustrates true spirituality. When our behavior runs parallel with Christ's then we are 'spiritual'. Steven is also an example of how benevolence flows from those that have been with Christ and are filled with His Spirit. If the prayer closet makes a person short, impatient and unaccommodating we need to check ourselves.

Robert Wurtz II

 2011/5/17 17:19Profile


This story is troubling me since I read it earlier and I can't seem to shake it.

Ada Tozer could not be a Suzannah Wesley - who spent so much time with her 15 children, raising them up in the LORD and would NEVER speak against her husband.

Ada Tozer was Dead Wrong to say such things against her husband and their private lives. Sorry if some disagree.

I would rather have a man like Tozer than a very attentive man to myself. I'd rather just use that time to get on my face as well. I'd rather be a Suzannah Wesley with 15 than a backstabber of my husband with 7.

This is troubling indeed. I'd rather hear what Ravenhill said of Tozer, if I could get the book, but maybe someone here could have the time to just quote some things.

I'd have given my right arm to have a father or husband that took GOD that seriously.
I had neither a father to raise me nor a husband that was 'there' but for a short time, when he was what I thought was 'on fire for GOD' and would spend hours in his den, with the Word and translating the Greek, I'd keep the home quiet and rejoiced to GOD that he was occupying himself with what GOD had called him to.

If what Greg posted is true, that Tozer only laid on his face from 9-12, I feel even more that Ada was wrong to speak of a great man of GOD behind his back in that way.

What if Gwen Wilkerson did anything like that to us now?

I would like to hear from Tozer's 7 children about their mother and their father, IF they are worthy to speak of either of them because they themselves have developed a walk with GOD and are not blaming their parents if they're not.

No good wife would speak about a Godly, much used by GOD husband in that way. Nothing she is quoted to have been said, should have been said - for "GOD's" sake and the ministry of Tozer's sake.

Yes, I agree, there needs to be that balance, but how many of you men are a Tozer, Wesley, Ravenhill and so forth.

No one can understand that a true prophet is IN His presence 24/7 and have seen more of HIS Glory than 99.8% of those who call themselves 'men of the Most High GOD'.

Would to GOD that men would seek The LORD in such a way that they could be a Tozer - and have a wife like Suzannah Wesley, who only cared for the Glory of GOD herself and was in HIS presence herself, 24/7. Dead to 'self' - all to HIS Glory!

I'd much rather have a father or husband who affects the world than any other type husband on earth.
Being without either, draws, or can draw a person more into GOD than having that which the less desirous of GOD want.

Paul spoke of the married not being able to serve GOD as much as those who are, because they need to mind the things of earth more - how to please their husband, etc..

The WORD of GOD gives "the balance".

The men of GOD of renown in our Bibles had wives and children, except Paul and a few others, but how much of themselves and their ministry time did they pour out for GOD?

Granted, there are men and women who have Abused Matt 19:29 just because they didn't Want to love their wives and children and there's another verse about "he who has a wife should live as if he hadn't" - True, more men would abuse that than see what Jesus meant, because Eph 5 is plain enough about how a man is to treat his wife - but by the same token - the balance is in accordance with the GOD given calling - as seen by the great men in our Bibles.

I'm only somewhat familiar with Tozer. A few of his books and a few of his messages - but I'd surely like to hear it from his 7 children.

I don't believe the children that I've seen, in this generation, that had great fathers, have come anywhere near the greatness of their fathers, no matter how much time their Dad's spent with them. So even hearing much from Tozer's children would still not negate the role of the mother in their lives nor their own personal responsiblity to become all that they could personally be, for the Love of Christ - just as some without mother or father have.

I still have more questions coming to mind about this about and from Tozer's wife and from his children, but I'll leave them for GOD to reveal, If He feels that it's necessary to know.

All of us should be on our faces before Him - praising, petitioning and listening, for as many hours per day as possible - or better yet - practice the presence of GOD 24/7 in that two-way communion - as much as possible - but some may have to give up some sleep or free-time in order to have more quiet times. If one watches TV at all - there's some wasted time right there, etc for entertainment or 'kicking back time'. But that desire to seek Him is either there or it isn't - and if it isn't - it needs to become a matter of serious prayer. Either we can stay up later, after the family has gone to bed or rise earlier, if we mean business with Him and want to be the best that we can be, Biblically, for Him and for our families.
Some neglect family unBiblically and some unBiblically neglect GOD for family. I agree - the balance is very very much needed.

Still feeling grieved over Ada's backstabbing her husband though and would appreciate to hear more that Ravenhill had to say about Mr. Tozer - if He desires for me to know or comfort this troubled feeling that this page of this thread has produced in me, that I'm not fully able to come to grips with or put into words.
Bottomline to me with this all is just Pray.

 2011/5/17 17:24

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