Deacon Arlene Burton offers “Our Prayer for You 12 June 2020” for Front-Line, Essential Workers and Business Owners.
My Brothers, Sisters and Friends,
I am hoping that you are well. You know, I am still reflecting on the issue of injustice that is found at different levels of societies, in communities, our main institutions, government and among us. The focus at times seems to be shifted to government (agencies, bodies, leadership etc.). If we are not careful, a wholesome assessment is not attained. We agree that the government must be held accountable by its citizens in the way it carries out its function. Citizens must be held accountable by its government in respect of our behaviour. Each of us must be held accountable to each other. Yet all are held accountable by God. If this is the case, why does the world experience injustice of all kinds?
We could describe injustice as a sin, which may not be incorrect but I find myself going back to a micro-analysis rather than looking at the issue from a macro level. This approach is revealing to me that I cannot adequately examine the issue without dissecting the mind of the individual. In so doing, a number of words emerge: prejudice, discrimination, perception, preference, self, background, belief, value, norm, law, wisdom, discernment and Christ-likeness. When we truly examine each of those concepts, and look at what is happening around us or to us, it appears that we have pieces of a puzzle that are forming a picture but never forming the correct picture. This kind of conflict can throw our environment, and the world into turmoil. Each one of us has a role to play.
Now I have more questions popping up. Is it individuals who make up groups, institutions, churches, agencies? Can individuals choose to act in the best interest of the people they serve? Can individuals choose to act in the best interest of those who hold them responsible? Are the choices they make influenced by their background, values, beliefs, prejudices, perceptions…?
In recent happenings, I hear people saying that they did not know about the kinds of injustice that has been happening to the minority race, especially the black race in the U.S.A. Locally, pertinent persons are saying that they did not know that there are individuals in prison for forty years or so without a trial. Just to say that it is heart-warming and commendable to hear our local Chief Justice apologize and put strategies in place to deal with the wrong committed in this regard. I am not throwing any blames but the more I hear those responses of not knowing, the more I am recalling the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus.
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”John 3:3-12 (NIV)
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit…”
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? (John 3:10-12, NIV).
Are certain kinds of injustice being heard for the first time? How could we not know, when we are to be responsible for each other, to be our brother’s keeper? Are our minds clouded by our prejudices, perceptions, preferences, backgrounds, self, discrimination….? As followers of Christ, do these things get in the way of us being Christ-like? Are we aware of the earthly things and believe? How do we proceed in these times? Are we discerning and understanding, the spiritual things, the will of God? Are we busy doing what God wants of us?
We have much to contemplate, and much to pray about.
Let us pray, as we lift up our leaders, front-line and support workers, business owners and the workforce to the Lord:
Our Father, King, Saviour and Lord, we honour You, praise and magnify Your name. You are an Awesome God, You rule and reign in all things. You are all-knowledgeable, all-mighty, all-knowing God, You are still in control. So we exalt You and glorify Your name.
Thank You Lord for sustaining us in our right minds. We thank You for the air we breathe. We thank You for keeping us as individuals, families, church and country especially during these challenging times of Covid-19 and civil unrest. Thank you Lord.
We approach You in the name of Jesus Christ and ask that You cleanse us of all unrighteousness, and forgive all of our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
Lord, we present to You our leaders of every area of life: church, families, businesses, government, and by extension, the world. We lift up especially our local leaders 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 with the responsibility for Education, Karl Samuda, Leader of the Opposition Peter Philips, and their families; Jamaica Defence Force and Jamaica Constabulary Force personnel and Security Guards.
Lord the workforce and children doing external exams are going back out from the lockdown, and Jamaicans overseas are coming back home. The country is going to be opening for business in the tourist and other industries. Father, we ask that You help our leaders to put the right laws and policies in place and ensure that they are known, understood, and implemented to protect the health of our nation.
Dear God we ask that You will grant our leaders true wisdom, discernment, insight and understanding, and the courage to be effective. Lord You see the rise in abuse and other criminal activities. Have mercy on us and help us. Lord God, we ask that You eradicate every form of prejudice, discrimination, selfishness that darkens the mind and abilities of our leaders in this country.
We lift up Jamaica to You dear God, from the east to the west to the north to the south. Lord You know the perpetrators of abuse, murder, wounding, robbery and other forms of criminal activities, so we ask that You visit every parish, every household and erase every criminal thought, attitude, belief and behaviour or intended behaviour. We ask for divine breaking of the darkness of crime from off our country. Let God alone arise and every criminal enemy of our country, Jamaica, be diminished in the name of Jesus Christ, through the blood of Jesus Christ.
We ask for healing and restoration of our land and our people. Have mercy on us and deliver us dear God. Help us as a people to not destroy but build-up; erase laziness and replace it with a productive attitude; take selfishness and replace it with care and support for each other.
Lord, we thank You for sustaining the front-line and support workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Lord, we are grateful for each person and ask for a special blessing and favour upon each life and that of their families. We lift up especially those connected with our church:
- Medical Doctors: Asana Anderson Wilks and Rohan Wilks, Kahlete Falloon, Tina Kong, Vernon Jones, Leighton Logan;
- Dentists: doing emergency cases; Jhenell Black, Dana Jones, Eleanor Reynolds;
- Pharmacists: Sandra Bucknor-Jones, Viveen Watson;
- Other doctors and nurses; from GMC or in connection with members and adherents of GMC who are working on the front-line (for example Dr. Richard Reynolds) and their families.
Lord, we ask that You restore businesses in our nation and by extension, the world. Lord remember especially: Ewan and Maxine Oliver; Lanna and Desmond Bennett; Warrick Bogle, Carol and Leroy Blake, Marcia Leair, Robert and Beveline Smith, Paulette Dixon, Kemorine and Karl Henry, Ava Comrie, Catherine Barkley and husband, Cornel Richards and family, Everton Lewis, Pauline and Mark Garvey, Maxine and Benedict Ranger, Melva Knight, Nicole Fender, Sharon Baldie, Karl Jones and others. Lord, You know the challenge each owner faces at this time. Therefore, we ask that You visit them and grant them the attitude of fair practices, true wisdom, discernment, blessings and favour.
Hear our cry O Lord and attend unto our prayer. From the ends of this nation we cry unto to You, as we give you thanks for what you have done and will do,
In Jesus’ name.
If you are also in need of prayer or comfort, please contact us with your request. We would be very happy to share with you.