As racially charged protests and riots continued to rock the nation last week in light of the officer-involved death of George Floyd, one Oklahoma boy was hard at work helping to calm hearts and minds in his community.
Exposed to the turbulent nature of the current social climate when criminal justice reform protests took a turn for the destructive in his home town of Tulsa on June 1, 7-year-old Trey Elliott felt compelled to pray for local law enforcement.
A brief personal or family prayer from home, however, was not the extent of what Trey would do, though.
Instead, running into a handful of law enforcement officers that same day at a local coffee shop with his mother, Trey decided to stop and pray over them directly, petitioning God to bless them, their families and the surrounding community with protection and healing.
“Tulsa had a really big peaceful protest on Sunday, and then Sunday night it turned into rioting and businesses being destroyed — busted out windows, things like that in our area,” Trey’s mother, Brittany, told The Western Journal in an interview. “So, Monday I was telling Trey about it because we drive right through that area.”
“I was just kind of explaining it to him and explaining to him what was going on and the difference between protesting and rioting, and what was happening with our police officers.
“And so he said, ‘I think I’d like to pray for the officers’ … which is a lot coming from him because he does not enjoy praying out loud,” she said.
In the days that followed, photographs and video of Trey praying over scores more Tulsa Police Department officers would go viral on social media, leading officers to seek him out at public events and even at home.
As of Wednesday, the young prayer warrior had shared similar touching moments of faith with as many as 105 law enforcement officers, his mother told The Western Journal.
Among that laundry list of officers was Tulsa PD Chief Wendell Franklin, who made clear June 4 on Twitter that Trey’s series of small, loving gestures was having a massive impact on the department and officer morale.
“Trey prayed for our community, police department and me today,” Franklin wrote. “It was an honor to meet this young man involved in his own mission to bring our community together.”
Trey prayed for our community, police department and me today. It was an honor to meet this young man involved in his own mission to bring our community together. He is that mustard seed planted which yields a tree used by all. @TulsaPolice pic.twitter.com/o2YMoYMKdO
— Tulsa Police Department Chief Franklin (@TPD_Franklin) June 4, 2020
“He is that mustard seed planted which yields a tree used by all,” the chief added, referring to the biblical parable of the mustard seed — a famous illustration from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount that’s included in three of the four Gospels.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches,” Jesus tells the masses in Matthew 13:31-32.
According to Trey and his mother, that’s exactly what his moments of prayer with Tulsa PD illustrate: the way a single servant-hearted act of faith can take root, grow and spread.
“All he hopes is that other people think to pray for their own officers and their own towns. That’s the whole idea behind Trey’s movement,” Brittany Elliott said.
“Get outside of your own head, get off social media for a little bit and if you see that officer at the coffee shop or at the gas station, just stop and ask them, ‘Would you be OK if I prayed over you?’”
“Because it probably means a lot more to them than you would even think,” she added.
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