The Power of Thanks

As promised, this is a story as told to me by my friend— who I mention in the previous post:

“Three months ago, I was in Dallas in a hotel, where I saw the name tag of a former student of mine, taking a course that I taught on the internet. I approached her and confirmed that I indeed had recognized the correct person.

I asked her about my course. She expressed delight in what she had learned but especially the final assignment in urban issues that I had required. It was to express thankfulness to her city for mediating goodness and grace in some symbolic way. Because she works at a ‘rescue mission’ for the homeless, she decided to walk the streets of the worst section of her city and pray God’s grace and kindness in front of every home that she passed. According to her, her husband was very upset that she would risk walking in the hood, but she did so anyway.

Then she decided she needed to express thanks and pray for the top city administrators who bear the burden of such communities, and requested an appointment with the mayor. His secretary, after much hassle conceded her 5 minutes. When she arrived, she was ushered into his office and thanked him for his services to the community. She said that he was shocked, in that generally people come at him with complaints or demands. Suddenly his apprehension turned into warmth. As she volunteered for pray for God’s strength in his many difficult responsibilities, he suggested that his staff join him for the prayer. Soon word got out and the Chief of Police wanted a similar time with her . . .and the superintendent of schools. They were all astonished that a regular citizen should care for each of them in this way.

She said that a strange turn has occurred since then, concerning the relationship of the mission to the community. Previously what had been a detached, often confrontative relationship between the city and the mission, now became one of mutual support and interest, with government officials now considering the mission a friendly ally, with benefits to both. And just that week, the mayor had called her to ask for special prayer for his sick wife.”

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