A WOMAN WITH A SONG IN HER HEART
Little did 17-year-old Marie Wagner know in 1916 that the tiny baby she named "Audrey" would grow up to become a musician, preacher, songwriter, and bubbling friend to thousands.
As a young woman, Audrey left her Leechburg, Pennsylvania, home for Los Angeles, where she came under the ministry and influence of Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. She was ordained with the church in 1939.
Audrey had been a church pianist before leaving elementary school, but under McPherson she began writing songs and conducting choirs. She formed the inspirational Harmony Chorus in the early 1950s and ministered with composer and evangelist Phil Kerr in the popular Southern California Monday Musicals.
One of Audrey's compositions that has led many a congregation and radio-TV audience to the very throne of God is "His Name is Wonderful." How she could lift believers and sin-sick hearts alike in adoration of the Lord with its majestic musical lines!
He's the great shepherd, / the rock of all ages, / Almighty God is He.
Bow down before Him, / Love and adore Him, / His name is wonderful, /Jesus my Lord.
Of the many other gospel songs she composed, the best remembered are: "I'll Never Be Lonely Again," "All He Wants Is You," "He Belongs to Me," "It Matters to Him About You," "To Be Used of God" and "When You Pray."
Along with her musical ministry, Audrey helped found two orphanages in Korea, bringing many Korean children to the United States for adoption. Two of these--Liane and Mark--were adopted by Audrey and her husband, Charles, as siblings for their son Mike.
Audrey Mieir was recognized as a vivacious gospel music innovator until her death on November 5, 1996.
Her career influenced generations of others who would extend the kingdom through a new style of gospel music. Many gospel music songwriters and performers--including Rich Cook and Andrae Crouch--came under her tutelage.
At her passing, Manna Music president Hal Spencer said, "The flame that burned so brightly in her life will continue to burn in her songs and in the many lives of the people she touched."
Had she been here to comment, Audrey would have said, "To God be the glory."
Wayne Warner is the director of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. He is the author of Kathryn Kuhlman, The Woman Behind the Miracles and the compiler of three books on Smith Wigglesworth: The Anointing of His Spirit, Only Believe, and The Essential Smith Wigglesworth.
"His Name is Wonderful" by Audrey Mieir, copyright 1959. Published by Manna Music, Inc. Used by permission.
Photograph: Courtesy of the Flower
Pentecostal Heritage Center, Assemblies of God
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