Asa Alonzo Allen was born in Sulphur Rock , Arkansas on March 27, 1911. He had a deeply unhappy childhood. His parents were alcoholic, his mother (a Cherokee Native American) was unfaithful and he grew up in dire poverty. His mother would put him to bed, as a baby, with alcohol in his bottle to keep him quiet. As a young boy AA would make some extra money by singing on the street corners. At the age of 14, feeling desperate to leave the misery of home behind, he ran away. He bummed rides, hopped freight trains, and did odd jobs.
In 1934 Allen drove by the Onward Methodist Church in Miller, Missouri and heard the sound of joyous singing. Curious he went into the meeting. A woman evangelist was preaching. He went to the meeting again the next night and committed his life to Christ. He began to turn his life around. There was no work where he was so he moved to Colorado to work on a ranch. He met a young woman named Lexie Scriven, and they were married in 1936. He also came into contact with Pentecostalism through a home meeting and bcame filled with the Spirit. Allen had a desire to preach the gospel that had changed him. He decided to become a minister and affiliated with the relatively new Assembly of God denomination. Allen would chop wood to make money and then travel to small towns to preach the gospel. This was the depression and offerings came in amounts of pennies at a time.
In 1936 he took a pastorate in Holly, Colorado a small town near the Kansas border. His first child had been born. Allen was officially ordained as an Assembly of God minister during his time there. During this pastorate, Allen fasted and prayed and God met him. He was given a list of thirteen things that would cause him to see the power of God in his ministry. Many of these items focused on total consecration to God and laying down sin. God told him if he did all of these things he would see healings and miracles.
He left the pastorate and began to hold meetings as a singing healing evangelist. In Missouri a coal miner who had been blind for several years was healed. Allen held meetings and was constantly on the road. This was a strain for Lexie and their four children. Income was not stable and the responsibility was wearing on her. In 1947 Allen accepted a call to pastor a church in Corpus Christi, Texas. He wanted to settle down and have a family life. The church blossomed. Allen had a vision for reaching more people. He wanted to start a radio ministry. The church turned him down and he was devastated. He realized, over time, the enemy had taken advantage of his hurt and attacked him
In 1949 the healing revival, notably led by William Branham, was making news. He was incredulous at first, but felt stirred to look into what was happening. He went to an Oral Roberts tent revival meeting. He realized as he watched what was happening that this was the ministry God had called him to. He had been unwilling to pay the price to see it, however. He resigned his pastorate, in 1950, and once again began holding evangelistic meetings. People would be healed in their seats as he preached. He also had his first article in the influential “Voice of Healing” magazine put out by Gordon Lindsay. He became a regular contributor to the magazine for the next few years.
In 1951 he bought his first tent. By 1953 he was on radio stations across the US, Mexico, Cuba, and Latin America. Allen was pulled over for drunk driving in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1955. Allen always said that someone had put something in his drink at the local restaurant to make him woozy and set him up. Rather than fight it Allen paid the fine so he could continue to his next meeting. The Assembly of God organization asked him to pull out of ministry for a while to clear up the issue. He felt that it was a play on their part to save their reputation. He resigned and continued the ministry. He also resigned from the “Voice of Healing” association.
Allen continued as an independent minister. He started his own magazine called “Miracle Magazine”, which by the end of 1956 had over 200,000 subscribers. He began the Miracle Revival Fellowship aimed at ordaining ministers and supporting missions. He came under intense pressure and attack as other healing ministers began to pull back. He style, which was always aggressive, became increasingly flamboyant. As the healing movement became increasingly segmented he began to attack “denominationalism”.
In 1958, Allen felt called to build a Bible school in Arizona. Someone donated 1250 acres of land near Palominos, which he dubbed Miracle Valley. He also began shifting from healing to a prosperity message. In 1960 he built a 4000 seat church on the land. In the 60’s he and his wife separated and he became afflicted with arthritis. He was sued for $300,000 in back taxes. Still he pressed on with his ministry taking young evangelists with him to train them. In 1970 he wrote his autobiography titled Born to Lose, Bound to Win with co-author Walter Wagner.
Allen died on June 11, 1970 after flying to California to redo radio contracts and see a doctor about knee pain. He was using pain killers for the arthritis and there was alcohol in his blood. The coroner’s preliminary finding was that Allen died of a heart attack, but he later changed the report to say that Allen was an alcoholic. Allen’s family fiercely disputes that claim. Don Stewart, in his book “Only Believe“, talks about his close association with Allen and gives his view of Allen’s ministry. Paul Cunningham, who also traveled with Allen the last few years of his life steadfastly declared that suggestions that Allen was an alcoholic are lies and wrote a statement to that fact which he had certified in El Paso County (Colorado Springs), Colorado.