These Prayed

Evan Wiggs



William Duma 1907 - 1977

“Take Your Glory Lord!”


Ten year old William Duma sat in the Kraal as the other boys played and wrestled.  “Oh mother!  I look at the sky and think of the Great, Great One.  I stare at the big mountain and wonder how it came here.  It makes me frightened not to know.  I wonder and wonder what God is like.  How can I see Him?  How can I tell people about Him if I don’t see Him?  My heart cries to itself.  I am so lonely.  Sometimes I long so much for Unkulunkulu that I think someone must come from the sky to me.  Nothing happens and my heart feels as heavy as a stone.”

Duma means “Thunder” and God did truly thunder out of the South African skies as William Duma, a man of prayer, sought Him.  Duma’s mother was a Christian brought to a saving knowledge by a widow woman who had lost all her family and lived alone in her hut with such peace and joy.  His kindly pagan father had watched his wife and one day while in Kimberly; “a stranger came to me in distress. ‘Tell me, Zulu,’ he said, ‘tell me if you know it, the Name of the God-Man who died for my sin.  I have forgotten His Name, but He is in my heart.  I’m going home to my heathen people.  I must tell them of Him.  He found me a few days ago.  He died for me and my people must be told He loves them too.’  I told the old mnumzane His name was Jesus.  He took both my hands in a grip of gratitude and walked away glowing, his old lips murmuring, ‘Jesus, His Name is Jesus, I must remember, oh I mustn’t forget, His Name is Jesus’

‘”Shame nearly drowned me and somehow my heart broke.  I had tossed that Name here at home, but this stranger!  I believe he would have forced his trembling spirit to stop everyone on the busy street, white or black, to learn the Name of this strange new lover in his heart.

‘”At that moment Christ’s love poured into my heart bring peace and joy, and since then my spirit soars like the wings of a bird up and up surely to the gates of heaven.  What is my secret?  Jesus Christ is my Lord and Master.”

It was this event, announced at the beginning of a festival of ancestor worship, which caused the Dumas to have to leave the Great Kraal.

Vika, the father, had an infectious, joyful, abounding faith and reached out to everyone in their new neighborhood.  He built a prayer hut high up on a hill and went there every night.  Many of the neighborhood followed him there and there many hearts gave way to the flowing love of Jesus.

William had committed his life to the Lord at fifteen, but from twelve to twenty he suffered serious ill health.  He struggled to come to terms with his illness and to find answers to him many questions.  He slowly learned that he would have to surrender his question of ‘why’ and lay it as a love gift in the center of God’s will.  These years of suffering, of unanswered prayers, of disappointed hopes of recovery, of waning health were a hard training ground.  He did not realize that his faith was being prepared for an extraordinary ministry dominated by an unwavering faith in the God of the impossible.

Between fifteen and twenty years he was committed to going to school and working to support his family.  He was also committed to working in the small local church.  At 20 he decided to fast for seven days to seek healing for his many ailments so that he would be free to preach without sickness.  Here is the account of that event.

“Each morning he left Elangeni for his hidden sanctuary with honeycomb, lemon and water for sustenance. Each sunset he returned home.

At the end of the seventh day, he left the quiet spot knowing that God had met him, that the wind of the Spirit had blown upon him – but had not healed him. Making his way slowly home, he turned to look at the place of blessing where he had hoped to be touched by God.  It was there the burning desire to be healed was replace by a greater longing – that God Himself should be his only desire.  Although his future was no clearer, he had gained one certainty, that he would not miss God’s appointed destiny for him.

At midnight on the seventh day of his fast, unhealed, he got up to pray.  His communion with God was so deep that the hours passed unnoticed.  In the middle of the night, he felt a touch to his head and knew it was the finger of God.  Heat like fire raced through his body, causing him to sweat profusely.  He collapsed and, as he lay on the floor, he felt a surge of cold follow the heat and realized, almost incredulously, that the pain was no more.  He described the moment.

‘”Although I knew God had touched me, I was afraid that the pain would gradually return.  I placed my hands on the parts of my body which for years had been torn by pain.  I tested and retested myself, then gathered courage to see if I could walk without pain.  I walked, walked faster, then stopped in the joy anchored in certainty – I was healed!  Dumb with gratitude I knelt, knowing my healing was His charter for my life’s work.  In His good time, it had arrived.”

Later Duma went to Durban and attended Bible school there and worked.  He attended Bible classes under Miss G. Hitchcock, a gifted American missionary much in demand at conventions.  He also took charge as an evangelist at a small vigorous church under the American Board of Missions.

It was during this time that He experienced a first healing of someone else.  His Uncle and Nephew arrived at his door on their way to the Zulu Mission hospital because the young boy and embedded a large needle and cotton in his leg by accident.  As the boy didn’t seem in great pain they decided to sleep and go to the hospital in the morning.  That night the boy awoke crying with his leg in seeming spasms.  Duma sat and stared at the boy until a voice spoke to him and said; “Why are you looking at the boy and doing nothing it?  Why are you not praying about it?  Why are you not praying for him and with him?”  Shamed into action by the voice Duma prayed and the boy began to scream and looking at the site where the needle and thread had entered they watch as the leg spasms stopped and the needle and tread were expelled by a strong force.

In 1939 he took on the Umgeni Road Baptist Church, a church of seven people.  It was there the glory came down and the mighty ministry of William Duma took root.  Duma had many mighty wrestlings with the Lord to bring the Umgeni Church into the place where the Holy Spirit resided and His mighty miracles were a common occurrence.   God used those times to draw him close to Himself while looking unsparingly at his heart.  Everywhere sin resided within was cut and killed.  Duma was shown by the Lord that he must never dally in any of the thousands ways of sin but remain close to Him and reside in the secret place.  In particular the glory seeking of the soul was scourged from him and his cry from that point on was always; “Take Your Glory Lord!”.

One other event put an exclamation point on the Ministry of William Duma. Bhengu, a middle aged evangelist in the rural area of Zululand, rang to tell Duma of the tragic death of his seventeen year old daughter.  Bhengu had not called a doctor under the direct order of the Holy Spirit to “Trust Me alone.”  Duma never shunned doctors and even recommended them in certain cases.  But now Litta lay as a corpse and Duma was stunned.  It seemed the enemy had arrived with all his black mocking laughter.

Here we take up the story; “Duma left Durban immediately by taxi for the burial.  He was dropped five miles short of his destination.  Trudging the remaining miles he became suddenly conscious that his dejected spirit was being lifted up by the Holy Spirit.  Inexplicable joy overcame his grief, and he began to praise God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  He realized also that in his spirit he was making an incredible request to God, that Litta should be resurrected from the dead to the glory of God.  As he passed through the countryside, barrages of insults were fired at him from workers in the fields, from women at their cooking pots, from passing horsemen and pedestrians.  To all these he was not only impervious, but unaware.  Nothing pierced the depths of his communion with God.

The district was offended because no doctor had been called.  They howled, ‘Is that the teaching of your church?  You should be ashamed.’  Cocooned in God’s presence, he pressed toward the end of the journey where he was joined by two companions, who had been waiting for him.  Mrs. Magwaza, a woman among women, whispered in reminiscent of Bethany, ‘Mfundisi, if you had been in prayer, Litta would not have died.’  Jali, a humble saint of Duma’s church, walked unnoticed, in silence by Duma’s side.  As they approached the house of mourning, muted singing wafted towards them.  It was a favorite hymn of comfort.  The relentless sound of spades, cutting the earth as the grave was being prepared, was a grim accompaniment to the hymn of hope.  Duma walked on seeming not to hear, head uplifted, as if in another dimension, seeing no one, greeting no one.

Entering the home, he walked through the rooms crammed with people to the place where Litta lay rigid on her mattress on the floor.  Closing the door, permitting only the parents, Jali and Mrs. Magwaza to remain, he examined the corpse to make certain for himself that she was dead.  Ice cold, no pulse, no heartbeat.  Jali, versed in the tribal tests for ascertaining death, said, ‘She is gone.’  Experienced Mrs. Magwaza confirmed his verdict.  Duma had seen and examined too many corpses to have any doubts.  This was no coma – Litta was dead.

In the room of death, Duma was strongly under the power of the Supernatural.  The four onlookers sensed his total engagement with an unseen Presence.  Instinctively they drew aside and stood against the wall.  Whatever he was experiencing was totally beyond them.  The saw, not their beloved little minister, self – effacing, with a quiet voice, but a man clothed with a new stature, invested with an unearthly authority, for removed from them in spirit.  Calling for a basin of water and a small towel, Duma gently bathed the face of the girl.  For him time was no more.  Silence curtained the room.  Standing, he silently anointed Litta, with oil.  Suddenly he sank on his knees beside the mattress.  He was unable to stand any longer.  Still kneeling, he took the girl’s hands clasped together in the unyielding clutch of death and, with tremendous wrenching, separated them placing them widely apart.  He then lay, limb to limb on the body, as Elisha had done, but not with mouth to mouth.  Years later describing the experience, his voice subtly changed, as if again becoming aware of the mysterious dimension in which he had moved at that awesome time: ‘I prayed a few words in my own language, then I lost my “humanity”.  I was no longer a person.  I did not know what I was saying.  I spoke, not in other tongues, but beyond tongues.  I was unconscious of mind, a brain, or a thought.  I was away from the body, totally in the Spirit and yet I cannot tell how.  I forgot everything – who I was – what I was – where I was – what was happening.  I know only that I called in a voice louder than my own, a voice somehow reinforced, “Litta!”

Almost immediately, I felt a strong movement against my breast, a pushing, which grew stronger.  I rolled off the body, onto the mattress and further onto the floor.  I was incapable of standing.  I turned to look at Litta.  There was a slight movement.  We watched, scarcely breathing.  Time seemed to stand still as, unaware that we were watching, she raised, or it seemed that she was being raised slowly, inch by inch, until she lay upright against the wall, her startled eyes unrecognizing, unmoving, unknowing.  I tried to stand.  I longed with all my heart to run from that house, from that room, away, away from the power of the presence of God which was too “intense”.”

Litta slowly came back to health, but awe was upon the people on what had happened in that glorious, powerful encounter.

Duma’s ministry eventually reached out to Africa and the World and his Umgeni Road Baptist Church became a beacon to all those lost and sick that needed the power of Jesus to save and heal.


Source: “Take Your Glory Lord” The Life Story of William Duma, by Mary Garnett.