Day 10 (via @MarkBatterson)
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Before there was a Mother Teresa there was a Mother Dabney.
In 1925, Elizabeth J. Dabney and her husband went to work for a mission in the city of brotherly love, but there wasn’t much love in her neighborhood. It was a hellhole. Her husband was called to preach. She was called to pray, but she didn’t just pray, she prayed through.
One afternoon she was thinking about a bad situation in their North Philly neighborhood and she asked God if He would give them a spiritual victory if she covenanted with Him to pray. He promised that He would and she felt the Lord prompting her to meet Him the next morning at the Schuylkill River at 7:30 AM sharp. Mother Dabney was so nervous about missing her prayer appointment that she stayed up all night crocheting. The next morning she went down to the river and made a prayer covenant with the Lord.
Lord, if You will bless my husband in the place You sent him to establish Your name, if You will break the bonds and destroy the middle wall of partition, if You will give him a church and congregation—a credit to Your people and all Christendom—I will walk with You for three years in prayer, both day and night. I will meet You every morning at 9 AM sharp; You will never have to wait for me; I will be there to greet You. I will stay there all day; I will devote all of my time to You. Furthermore, if You will listen to the voice of my supplication and break through in that wicked neighborhood and bless my husband, I will fast 72 hours each week for two years. While I am going through the fast, I will not go home to sleep in my bed. I will stay in church, and if I get sleepy, I’ll rest on newspapers and carpet.
As soon as she made that prayer covenant, the glory of God was poured out in a new way! Every morning at 9 AM, Mother Dabney greeted the Lord with a hearty, ”Good morning, Jesus.” She wore the skin off her knees, but God extended His powerful right arm. She fasted seventy-two hours a week, but the Holy Spirit was her direct supply.
Soon the mission was too small to accommodate the people. Her husband asked her to pray for another meeting place nearby. She prayed, and a man who had been in business for 25 years closed up shop so they could rent the building. Mother Dabney would not be denied. She was a circle maker and circle makers have a sanctified stubborn streak. When they know something is in the will of God they won’t take no for an answer!
Mother Dabney’s prayer legacy would be a long forgotten footnote if it weren’t for one headline. The Pentecostal Evangel published her testimony 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 three million letters from people who wanted to know how to pray through.
Our generation desperately needs to rediscover the difference between praying for and praying through. Praying through is grabbing hold of the horns of the altar and refusing to let go until God answers. Like Honi the Circle Maker, you refuse to move from the circle until God moves. You intercede until God intervenes.
In the grand scheme of God’s story, there is a footnote behind every headline. The footnote is prayer. If you focus on the footnotes, God will write the headlines. And your prayers will change the eternal plotline!