Dortha at EOG

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice rise like a fountain for me night and day” (Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1869).

National Day of Prayer for 2003 is May 1st, when all citizens are asked to make prayer a priority, especially at noon. Our theme is RIGHTEOUSNESS EXALTS A NATION, based on Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” The Committee has letters from all 52 governors giving an accounting of churches, pastors, and special events that took place last year. The numbers are encouraging and make us feel proud to be a part of that great crowd of believers. However, we do not pray to make statistics but as instructed by Jesus in Matthew 6: “When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily, I say unto you they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (verses 5-6).

Evangelist Dr. Luis Palau has written the prayer for all of us to repeat at noon along with words from our hearts: “Our Father and our God, we thank You for the many blessings You have poured out on America and we praise You for Your mercy. You have said: ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.’ We confess, O Lord, our national and personal sins. We repent and ask forgiveness for all actions that dishonor You. O God, bless our President and other leaders. Provide them with wisdom and move them to honor You. Deliver this great nation from all enemies as we recommit ourselves to trust, serve and obey Your commands. We pray in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Be in prayer throughout this day (May 1st), sending little sentence prayers to God. From headlines and TV newscasts it is evident that the spiritual awakening after 9/11 has faded as most Americans have reverted to “business as usual” with rampant moral bankruptcy in many segments of our society. Traditional marriage and family values have been increasingly under fire. Troubling accounts of corporate corruption, violent disregard for human life, and legislative compromise have regularly surfaced. Crimes double in America every ten years. As a nation, we are much in need of prayer and a closer relationship with God, to turn from wrongdoing and pursue the teachings of Jesus. In James 5:16, we are told that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. Please encourage others the importance of interceding on behalf of our country, asking forgiveness of our sins and giving thanks for our tremendous blessings.

Prayer is our only way of communicating with God. To me, the most phenomenal event in life is partnershipping with Him as I seek His guidance in conflicts that come about. I love the way events fall in place. They are never coincidences—always God’s helping hand. I want to share with you some ultimate adventures with my daughter, Dortha.

We talked that night before Senior Day in Galveston in 1972. She asked, “What shall I do, Mom?” Her boyfriend was working and she didn’t want to go single. I said, “Hit the streets downtown, putting your application in every business. You’ll have a head start on all the other seniors in getting a job.” She did, and returned home an employee as a clerk/typist in the accounting department of Houston Natural Gas Corporation…which later became ENRON…the only company where she has worked.

Dortha had a very successful career. In 1978, she became a Certified Professional Secretary. This is a select group of top level secretaries, one of the highest honors available in the secretarial profession. At that time, there were only 12,064 in the whole world (1,217 in Texas). Dortha was one of 940 who passed the exam out of 5,258 who took the course! In May, 1980, she was chosen “Secretary of the Month” by the Houston Chapter of the National Secretaries Association (International). She became Executive Secretary to the Assistant Controller of corporate accounting at Enron Corporation.

Isn’t it ironic that my two daughters worked for two companies that have been in the headlines and front page news since the collapse of Enron? Wanda was private secretary to Paul Frame, CEO of SEITEL. She had resigned after remarrying two years before Seitel was plunged into deep financial trouble over inflated revenues. Fortunately, she cashed in all her Seitel stock when she left the company.

Dortha’s Enron stock accumulated through 30 years of payroll savings fell from a million dollars to “pennies.” I was devastated. My heart ached for my daughter. We both cried as she said, “Mother, what am I going to do? How can I find another job at my age (47!) paying anywhere near my salary?” Dortha’s job entailed reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission, a specialty with experience only valuable to companies such as Enron. This limited her field of employment opportunities. To Enron, she was a key employee, and had job security as long as they remained in business. But how long would that be?

The only comfort I could give was, “I’ll pray for you…earnestly…every night. I KNOW God has a job for you. He has plans, and we will keep praying for His guidance.” This was in December, 2001.

Among Dortha’s friends are Kathy and her boss, Tim, former employees of Enron from several years ago. Both are employed at EOG, across the street from Enron. Kathy does the same type of work as Dortha. The two girls met for lunch in January, 2002. Kathy spoke: “You know I have a part time job designing the overhead screens in the Sanctuary at my church. They want me to work full time. I feel that the Lord is definitely pulling me toward this job, which I love doing. They want me to work full time. I’m praying about it. I just don’t know what to do. If I quit at EOG, would you take my place?”

“YES!!!” Dortha exclaimed. In April, Kathy made the decision to resign. Tim called Dortha on the phone and said, “Dortha, get yourself over here. We want you!”

Dortha called me. We were overjoyed. Through tears, I said, “This is one of the most beautiful answers to prayer I’ve ever had!” Dortha lamented, “I just hate to tell my boss. You know, his boss resigned and so did my back-up. There’s no one left in this department but Bob and me!”

“Don’t you fret a bit,” I said. “You did not go out looking for another job: it just fell in your lap—a gift from God Himself! There’s a company that Enron can hire to do your work! Like you said, everyone else is leaving the sinking ship. Why not you?” Indeed, Enron had boosted bonuses to keep key employees. When Dortha told Bob, he was overjoyed! “I am so happy for you! I hate this mess! I’ve been seriously wanting to quit, too—but was concerned about what would happen to you!” Dortha set May 31st as her last day.

On May 1st, Bob went to the CEO to turn in his resignation. Later, he called and said: “When I told my boss I wanted to give 30 days’ notice, he became so angry, he said I could leave right now. He called Security to escort me out of the building! Would you please box up things in my desk and ship them to me by UPS?”

Dortha loves her job at EOG. She has been there almost one year now and couldn’t be happier. Those last seven months at Enron were very stressful, especially the month of May. Now she works in peace among caring friends. Tim met with the company president to approve Dortha’s salary at the same rate she earned at Enron, which was more than Kathy was making. Also, they bridged her service with Enron so she’d be fully vested in all benefits, including better group insurance, a great retirement plan and five weeks of vacation.

When Dortha married Allen Dale, I asked her if he went to church. She said, “No. He said he went with his parents while he was growing up; but would not go anymore after leaving home. He knew when he married me, that I go to church regularly.”

I said, “I’ll pray for him.” Every Sunday, Dortha faithfully attended church for NINE years, praying for a day he’d go with her. Then, one Sunday morning, he asked: “Are you going to do that church thing today?” “Yes.” “Would I have to wear a coat and tie if I went with you?” “NO! a sport shirt is o.k.”

Five months later, on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2000, Allen Dale was baptized by Dr. Ed Young in the outdoor baptistery fountain at Second Baptist Church on Katy I-10. I said to him, “I’m happy you are on the freeway to Heaven. You‘ve been running along the feeder road long enough.” God is good! Praise Him!

In April, 2002, Dortha and Allen Dale put their two-story home up for sale and began the building of a new one-story home. We prayed seriously and intensely for a buyer of the two-story house. The new home was completed in August. Prayers went up that they would not be making two house payments. The old home sold on the Friday before the payment would be due on Monday. God is great…His blessings abundant.

I don’t know how people live without prayer: a personal relationship with God. A skeptic may say, “What are the chances all these things would have happened without prayer?” I’d hate to take that chance. In fact, I couldn’t. God is real to me. I know Him. He loves me so much that He sent Jesus to earth to teach me how to live; then to die in punishment for MY sins—the only way I can be assured of eternal life in Heaven. Who else could love me that much? Jesus loves you, too. We were on His mind as He died on the cross.

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of” (Alfred Lord Tennyson).

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16)

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up” (James 4:10).

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