Elizabeth Juanita Dabney (1???-1967),was a young, unknown woman when she set her heart apart to live a consecrated life before the throne of heaven. Not much is known about her life outside of her ministry. Her father died when she was young, but her mother determined to instill in Elizabeth the value of a life in God. Dabney married a very successful singer, and they pursued a self-centered lifestyle, traveling from city to city “free from responsibilities.”1 However, it was not long before this lifestyle made for a very miserable young couple.
Dabney’s husband had been running from a call to preach the Gospel since he was five years old, when he used to preach to sticks in the ground. Through a series of shakings in the lives of this young couple—which included several unnatural plagues of roaches, tremors on a train, and serious prophetic words—Dabney’s husband accepted his call to preach the Gospel. Elizabeth wanted her husband’s ministry to have a meaningful impact in their city; personally, she wanted “to go to that place where Christian women went in the ancient days.”2 Dabney longed for the revelation of Jesus to be made manifest in her heart.
Feeling an expectant burden from the Lord, Dabney entered into a three-year period of consecration during which she gave herself to day and night prayer along with extended days of fasting and Bible study. She said, “I never permitted anything to interfere with my conversation with God. I suffered. The flesh on my bones was numb; I fasted, not eating or drinking natural food, but I had a directly supply from heaven.”3
Dabney had to press into the Lord, because the enemy repeatedly tried to discourage her, using other believers to convince her that she was too radical. It was during those times that Dabney testified of the Lord, “He amused me with the Scriptures, and He supported me with His arms.”4 Through the power of the Holy Spirit manifest in prayer meetings, some of Dabney’s most vocal critics witnessed miraculous healings take place in the lives of their own families. Chemically burned eyes were completely restored, and dead men were brought back to life.
During her time of consecration, the Lord brought a number of inquiring minds alongside Dabney. Her abandonment to God attracted the attention of those around her. Elizabeth took those inquiring minds under her wing and nurtured and discipled them. She said, “If an individual had a pure heart, and wanted to sacrifice time and sleep to pray with me, my heart and soul encouraged him to do so.”5
When her three year period of consecration ended, the Lord appeared to her in a furnace and said that He had anointed her in the place of prayer and that anywhere she traveled with her prayer ministry, many people would be saved. He told Elizabeth that the nations would gather with her to pray and that she must be mindful of the dangerous deception of popularity and prosperity. Dabney began traveling all over the United States of America, and the Lord confirmed His Word to her by establishing the testimony of Jesus in the hearts of thousands of men and women, old and young. The local church that her husband had been shepherding for years also experienced tremendous growth, and a gift was given to them in the form of a beautiful new facility completely paid for in advance called The Garden of Prayer.
Dabney’s prayer ministry continued to flourish at The Garden of Prayer, and thousands of people were added to the Kingdom in an atmosphere that was “pregnant with the presence of God.”6 The Lord also manifested His glory through the healing of thousands of people from all manner of sickness and disease. This fascinating testimony of Jesus on the earth was simply the overflow of the life in prayer of a young African American woman who set her heart apart to live a consecrated life to the Lord.