“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

Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience. Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas. Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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