“Mother” Dabney

Many of us have heard of Mother Teresa, but have we heard of Mother Dabney. Not much is known about her life outside of her ministry. What we do know is that in 1925, she and her husband went to work for a mission in a North Philadelphia neighborhood. God had called her husband to preach. God had called Mother Dabney to pray. But she didn’t just pray, she prayed through. She believed that if God’s people prayed “through” it, whatever “it” could be, God will break “through” it, revealing God’s wonder-working presence. Over the life of her prayer ministry it is reported that thousands came to know Jesus as Lord.

Mother Dabney’s prayer legacy may have been forgotten were it not for one headline. In 1941 The Pentecostal Evangel published her testimony as an African American prayer warrior under the title, “What It Means to Pray Through.” That one article sparked a prayer movement all around the world. Mother Dabney received more than 3 million letters from people who wanted to know how to pray through. It has been said that she dedicated her life to prayer and fasting until her knees bled and were constantly raw.

This is a prayer written by Elizabeth J. Dabney in 1945 entitled, “Dear God, Thank you for the Morning Light.”

Dear God, thank you for the morning light
This day I have lived to see.
Guide my speech, order my steps aright,
As I leave this place, to meet Thee.
I praise you for your training school,
The teaching you do impart,
Make me one of your praying tools:
Abide within my heart.
As I leave this home you gave;
Dear God, protect it for me.
Let the blood of Jesus save.
My prayers ascend to Thee.
If it pleases you to call me home
Before my covenant ends today,
Let me rest in Thine arms;
Accept this prayer I pray.
Bless all the leaders of the land;
Bless everybody everywhere.
The time has come. I must be on my way.
Look for me I shall meet you there. Amen.

Source: Conversation with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans, 173

About Fred

I am a follower of Jesus, husband and father. I am a son, brother, friend, multi-vocational pastor with Williamsburg Christian Church, TEDx alum, ethnographer, community organizer, published author, founder and president of 3e Restoration Inc, and adjunct professor at Rochester University and Regent University. I received my B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and my Masters of Religious Education in Missional Leadership (MREML) from Rochester University. I am currently working toward my Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology at Northern Seminary.
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