He was born in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma.
He left high school and his further education consists of about two years of college study undertaken at Bible schools in Oklahoma on a part-time basis. In 1938, he married a preacher's daughter, Evelyn Lutman Fahnestock. They expanded his preaching in tents to preaching on radio, and eventually on television, with a vast viewership.
In 1980, Oral Roberts reported that he had a vision of a 900-foot-tall Jesus, who encouraged him to continue to build his City of Faith Medical and Research Center, which opened in 1981. The center later proved too costly to keep open and it closed in 1989.
In March 1986, Oral Roberts claimed to have spoken directly to God, and was told that he would be "called home" (that is, die) if he was unable to raise $8 million by March 31, 1987. Of course, there was a great deal of negative discussion and derision regarding this rather enterprising (and arguably blasphemous) approach to ministry. After the deadline, having failed to die, he stated on April 1 that the 8 million dollars had been raised and his life had been spared.
In June, 1987 Oral Roberts announced that he has raised the dead and will return after his own death to rule alongside Jesus Christ. His son, Richard Roberts, part of his ministry, stated that he had seen his father raise a child from the dead.