Encouragement and General Prayer for 2 August
Sister Annola Morris offers this Encouragement and General Prayer for 2 August 2020.
My Brothers, Sisters and Friends, we are hoping that you are well.
Have you ever been crowded by a swarm of yellow butterflies that emerge from the lignum vitae trees? My understanding is that those trees provide them with nectar, which serves as food. In some places when you stop at the traffic light a swarm of them may approach you. You may note that they are beautiful but have a short life span.
Have you ever considered the reason for their existence? I am not sure if you realized that their emergence signaled a change in season. What if they also exist to brighten our days? Do we appreciate it or try to get rid of them? Sometimes I am in a line of traffic, my head turns one way and by the time I look the other way, a swarm of them approach me. It usually gives me a good feeling, a smile on my face, and I actually speak to them. Usually, I tell God thanks because the experience felt like a breath of fresh air.
Butterflies have certain distinct features. They are the only insects that have scales covering their wings. They and moths go through a process where they are first caterpillars. When you look at the lignum vitae trees during a certain time of the year, as it relates to the ones that emerge from those trees, a number of caterpillars can be seen on those trees. At that stage, they are not beautiful. They cannot be forced to evolve into a butterfly or else they will not be able to fly. They have to go through a process of development.
Many people who have saved caterpillars to watch the process of birth into a butterfly may become impatient and try to help the process. However, this usually results in a lopsided butterfly or a dead caterpillar.
When I consider the process of development for a butterfly, I am somewhat reminded of our Christian walk. Sometimes we try to haste persons into positions and situations and they are not prepared; and it is not in accordance with God’s timing, nor is it His will.
Some persons may force themselves into positions and situations outside of God’s timing and will. Some people wish to stay far from some positions because of what they signify. In all of those situations, we can end up experiencing what I call “hot messes.” Persons may lose faith or become stagnated or remain active but lose sight of who God calls them to be, and what God calls them to do.
You know, the butterfly has beauty; it is unique, its life has a short timing, it has purpose and work to do but it also needs to develop. I am drawn to the Psalmist as I reflected on these points.
The Psalmist said, as it relates to beauty: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made….” (Psalm 139:14, NIV).
In terms of timing: “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” (Psalm 90:4, NIV). “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, NIV).
As it relates to living our purposes I like when Isaiah admitted to the Lord: “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8, NIV).
Yet, the Psalmist is asking: “May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:17, NIV).
We are the work of God’s hands but His tasks for us need to be established in our hands.
When we doubt who we are I find that Peter gives an assurance by affirming us:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”1 Peter 2:9-10 (NIV)
Brethren and Friends, we are beautiful, unique, chosen but life is short. We are called to do great works but we have to deliberately, purposefully and timely allow God to prepare us so that His tasks are accomplished in and through our lives. Time in this world is short so it is God who can establish the work of our hands. We are built to praise Him, and make ourselves available to be His vessel of honour.
Is it an easy process? Nope! It is not. Is it worth the try? Yes, it is but sometimes we may need to change gear, wheel and come again, start over, you name it. Jesus thought it was worth dying for us. He knows that we cannot repay Him but He expects us to be His called children. Just…think about it.
Today’s prayer focuses on healing, and our own Sister Annola Morris will lead in this regard. Sister Annola is involved in the Ushering Ministry.
Let us pray:
Most Righteous and Holy Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, we thank You for Your grace and mercy. Lord, we thank You for Your loving kindness towards us. We ask that You cleanse our hands O God, and purify our hearts.
This weekend, as a country, we celebrate emancipation from slavery. But Lord, with all of the acts of injustice that have been happening around us it appears that we are not truly emancipated. Even then, we are thankful for the blood of Jesus Christ, which emancipates us from sin, that is, for those who believe in Him.
Lord, we ask that You give our church, church associations, business and national leaders vision, for without vision the people perish. Help them not to lean on their own understanding but in all they do, to acknowledge You and You will direct their path. Help them not to be anxious but with prayer and petition make their requests known to You who are able to do exceeding and abundantly above all that they could ask or think according to Your power at work in them.
Lord, we pray for Your healing on relationships among leaders throughout our country, especially the politicians in opposition and the leading party. Help them to work together, always acting in the best interest of our country. Cause it that those who are wrong be held accountable for their actions. Help us as a nation to be truly emancipated, and appropriately extend our hands of forgiveness.
Lord, we call by name: The Honourable Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, Minister of Health Christopher Tufton, Minister of Finance Nigel Clarke, health workers and support staff, Minister of National Security Horace Chang, Minister of Education, Karl Samuda, Leader of the Opposition Peter Philips, and their families; Jamaica Defence Force and Jamaica Constabulary Force personnel and Security Guards, all other leaders of government and their support staff, Minister of National Security, Horace Chang and his team. Lord, we put to You and ask for Your blessings on the Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck. We also remember the judges in our congregation: Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie.
Lord, as we face this hurricane season, please protect us and save us from any form of destruction. Have mercy on us, Lord.
Lord, Jamaica belongs to You, and our young people belong to You. We stand against any plan, intent or desire of evil set to destroy or disturb the progress of our young people, in every home, community and all other places in this country. No weapon formed against them shall prosper, and every tongue that rises up against them in judgement shall be condemned. We declare that there is no failure in them and everything they put their hands to will prosper.
Lord, we pray for Your hand of healing on those of our young people and their families who are experiencing abuse, crime and violence. We pray for every community in this country, O God. So help us and let your peace reign.
We present to you those who are currently doing CSEC and CAPE exams. Lord, remember those in our congregation; Romeo Elliott, Jhada Graham, Nachkeemi Smith, Shane Brown Garvey, Travis Lawrence, Kimeka Facey, Renae Lindsay, Justin Grey, Taye-Vaughn Jones, Nigel Stewart, Alya Dyce, Parisa Martin, Danielle Russell and Carissa Heslop.
Lord, we ask that You fill them with Your spirit of excellence in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge. Help them to remember everything that they have learned and studied. Lord, give them peace, a peace that passes all understandings. Cause it Lord, to dwell in their hearts and minds. Help them to seek You for direction as to where they will go from here.
“ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)
Lord, fill your people’s minds and hearts with Your words of comfort and peace, and help them to fix their eyes on You.
Lord, your word reminds us: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4, NIV). “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, NIV). “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants” (Psalm 116:15, NIV). “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV).
Lord, we present to You those who mourn, and their families: Elder Mary Clarke who lost a Sister-in-law; Brother and Sister Crooks who lost a relative; Brother Andrew Getton who lost his mother; Sister Arlene Tomlinson who lost a brother (buried); Sister Melva Knight who lost an aunt; Deacon Darlene Jones who lost her mother (thanksgiving service scheduled for August 15, 2020); and Brother Orville Beckford and Sister Ann Beckford who lost a Sister and Sister-in-law respectively (funeral service was last week). Lord, grant them comfort, strength and peace.
Lord, we also present for Your healing touch on our families who are ill: Sisters Iris Lawrence, Jennifer Nicholson, Virginia Muir, Claris Johnson (mother of Jehan Johnson), Marville (Cherry) Murray (Sister Iris Lawrence’s daughter), Janet Chen-Young, Joyce Bailey, Lucille Alexander, Jhada Graham, Ethlyn Atkins, Cherrie Lee, Brother George Gabbidon, and Andrew Robinson (Sister Claire Robinson’s son), Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr. Isaiah Japp.
Lord, we also lift up to You those persons who are on our usual sick and shut-in list. Lord, we cast all the cares of those who are ill, the sick and shut-in on You because You care for them. You give power to the weak, and to those who have no might you increase strength. Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint. So we decree and declare their healing for by Your stripes they are healed.
Lord, we ask for your healing touch on those who are suffering from different kinds of emotional issues such as anxiety, lack of sleep, depression and anger. Lord, some are suffering in silence for fear of being judged. Therefore dear God, deliver and renew their minds, and fill them with Your presence. Grant them hope and strength, and fill them with your peace. Comfort them, Lord.
We ask all of this in the mighty and matchless name of Jesus Christ.
Our Weekly Prayers are for everyone. Therefore, if you are also in need of prayer or comfort, please contact us with your request. We would be so very happy to share with you.