In honor of Women’s History Month, the Billy Graham Library would like to recognize some of the women who supported Billy Graham’s ministry over the years. This week, we’ll take a look at the prayer ministry of Millie Dienert.
In the words of Billy Graham, “Sometimes I’m asked to list the most important steps in preparing for an evangelistic mission, and my reply is always the same: prayer…prayer…prayer.” Today we would like to recognize Mildred “Millie” Dienert, known as the “First Lady of Prayer,” for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Mildred “Millie” Dienert was born on Sept. 3, 1917, in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. Her father was a traveling minister, so she spent much of her childhood with her grandparents, while her parents shared the Gospel across the country. She often felt lonely and blamed God for keeping her away from her parents for extended periods of time—but when she was 17, she was the only survivor of a car accident and rededicated her life to the Lord.
Millie went on to marry Fred Dienert, whose advertising company handled Billy Graham’s radio and TV ministries. In the mid-1960s, Billy Graham asked Millie to go to London and organize a series of prayer groups to pray for the success of the Crusade in Great Britain. She had over 500,000 yellow dots printed to give out for people to place on their watches to remind them to “pray on the spot when you see the dot” for the upcoming Crusade. Millie did such a good job for the London Crusade that Mr. Graham asked her to stay on in the role of organizing prayer groups before every worldwide Crusade. Along with her work organizing prayer for the Crusades, she also organized worldwide prayer for all of BGEA’s Conferences. She had prayer chairmen in each of the countries where the Conferences were to be held who helped coordinate prayer groups to pray for the success of the Conferences in Berlin (1966), Lausanne (1974), and Amsterdam (1983, 1986, 2000). She even traveled across the United States to speak at prayer rallies—and she did it at her own expense.
Millie’s efforts at the Crusades, as well as the Conferences, led to her being widely known as the “First Lady of Prayer.” She was also honored as the “Churchwoman of the Year” in 1990. In her later years, Millie also became a very popular speaker in her hometown, with over 500 people attending her weekly Bible study. Millie died on Aug. 24, 2015 at the age of 97.