Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 10 October 2021 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers. Deacon Burton owns the copyright to this post. We reprint here with her permission.
Hi Everyone! I pray for God’s favour and sustenance in your life as you continue on this journey during these unusual times. May God’s hand of comfort and love permeate your spirit and cause you to transcend peace. If you or anyone you know has a prayer request, please let us know and we will include you in our prayers. You may post your prayer request here on our website.
Recently I was sitting among some people. There was one person in particular who dominated the speaking. I rarely make a contribution in those kinds of settings. However, I realised that at times I am pulled into them as a form of illustration to satisfy the aim of glorification. The person spoke dominantly of self and accomplishments and their kindness shown to others. I noted that when the person spoke of others it was still in an effort to show the effect of their impact and presence.
With this person, there was no real space to express yourself because, in a number of instances, you are not allowed to have your sentences completed nor fully verbalised. Worse, your thoughts. Your accomplishments are defined by valuables. In the end, people ended up being unfairly assessed and accused without an opportunity to be adequately heard and understood. In those instances, many of us walked away feeling disappointed and uncomfortable. I am of the view that if we lack assurance of who we are in Christ, these experiences may cause us to feel like hiding self. We may try to avoid being in the presence of those kinds of people unless God dictates that we do otherwise.
When I listened and observed what was happening with the person, I saw some traits of egocentrism, narcissism and manipulation popping up. Yet there were contents in the person’s expressions that entailed an onslaught against such traits. In psychology, we refer to such behaviours as incongruent because there is a lack of consistency in thoughts and actions.
People who are considered to be egocentric see the world only through their eyes. The focus is on their experience and perspectives, and these should be the world’s. Egocentrism is a term that was used by a psychology theorist, Jean Piaget, in describing the behaviour of a developing child. The child at first does not think there is a separation between him/her and the world so everything is centred on him/her. It is expected that as the child develops, such behaviour dissipates.
If such behaviour in the child persists beyond certain states of development, it is considered to be a maladaptive behaviour. The term has also been used to describe certain behaviours of persons who are depressed. They tend to have the “me” or “I” way of complaining so everything is centred on them. I will talk about narcissism and manipulation another time.
You know, as I meditate on my recent experience I recalled my last post wherein I spoke about certain things that the Lord did through me in just one week. I also tried to make it clear that my aim was not to boast in self but to show how God can work through us. Yet, my recent experience has caused me to have another look at myself and pray that I do not fall into such a state, and if I am there in any way or form that God will kill it.
You see, the issue of self-boasting is one that displeases our heavenly Father. The prophet Jeremiah made this clear to the people of Israel. He told them what the Lord said, that is, not to boast of self but of His capacity and capabilities. “This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24, NIV).
The apostle Paul also tried to explain the issue of boasting, which in some instances appears to be conflicted. He said a number of things about boasting but a lot of it centered on defending his ministry. He felt the need to make some things known because of the level of judgement that he faced. In his letter to the church in Corinth, he spoke about them judging by appearance and told them that he was not ashamed to boast about what the Lord has done through him. He said, “So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it.” (2 Corinthians 10:8, NIV).
Paul cautioned the people to be careful about the way some people compare themselves. “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you.” (2 Corinthians 10:12-13, NIV).
Here Paul mentioned the measuring stick concerning boasting. I hear Paul saying that we should not be self-centered or compare ourselves with like-minded people as it relates to self-boasting. He enunciated that such a person lacks wisdom. Yet, we can boast but within a context that always gives the glory to God. He further said, “But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” (2 Corinthians 10:17-18, NIV).
However, you may note that Paul appeared to have gone on a different tangent when he boasted about his sufferings. “Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. In this self-confident boasting, I am not talking as the Lord would but as a fool. Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast.” (2 Corinthians 10:16-18, NIV). Here Paul seemed to be saying that they took him for a fool so he went on to boast not as the Lord would require but in a way that would please man. Although he took this approach, you may note that he reiterated that self-boasting was foolish, not wise.
We will continue this talk. However, in the meantime, think bout it, chat bout it and decide what you gonna do bout it.
Let us pray:
Lord, You are our King and our God who decrees victories for Jacob. Through You we push back our enemies; through Your name, we trample our foes. We put no trust in our bows, our swords do not bring us victory; but You give us victory over our enemies. You put our adversaries to shame. In God we boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever (Psalm 44: 4-8, NIV).
Lord, we thank You for another week; another day wherein You can be exalted through our thoughts, actions and lives. We praise and honour You, and we magnify Your name. We thank You for continued sustenance, coverage and protection with each passing moment. So, Lord, we thank You for Your grace and mercy.
As individuals, families, communities, Churches, the workforce, businesses, government and a country as a whole we come, Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ asking that You have mercy on us. Forgive all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Create in us a clean heart and renew the right spirit within. Restore to us the joy of Thy salvation. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from all evil. Lord, help us to understand Your will so that we position our lives to be aligned to Your will and Your way.
We pray for the vulnerable among us. In particular our children and youths, as well as those who cannot help themselves. Lord, help us as a nation to be equipped to deal with situations that may arise among the vulnerable. Cause it that we aim to support and protect each other rather than to steal, kill and destroy.
Lord, we pray especially for our church leaders, the Honourable Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, Minister of Health and Wellness, Christopher Tufton, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Nigel Clarke, health workers and support staff, Minister of Education, Youth and the Environment, Fayval Williams; Minister of National Security, Horace Chang and his team, Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck, and the leader of the opposition Mark Golding and his team. We also remember the judges in our congregation, Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie. Lord, grant them wisdom, knowledge, creativity, strength, courage and understanding to conduct their work in the best interest of those they serve. Help them to act with accountability and transparency. Provide for and protect them and their families.
Lord, we remember those who are not well, especially Deacon Loy Evans, Sisters Nicole Evans and Kadine Stewart. We also present to You those among us who are on the usual sick and shut-in list, as well as Sisters Iris Lawrence, Merle Braham, Valerie Smellie, Mary Clarke, Cherrie Lee, Lelith James, Jennifer Nicholson, Virginia Muir, Marville (Cherry) Murray (Sister Iris Lawrence’s daughter), Janet Chen-Young, Joyce Bailey, Lucille Alexander, Jhada Graham, Cherrie Lee, Merlena Hartley Roberts (Sister Nicole Roberts Mother); Brother George Gabbidon, Brother Lloyd Trusty, Mr Alan Ashley (Sister Dawn Ashley’s father), Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr Isaiah Japp, Sister Rachael Dixon and family, Brother Cornel Richards and family, Sister Jennifer Chin-Young and family, Sister Debbie Chin Young, Sister Fay Archer and family; and any member or family member who is in need of healing and comfort. Lord, grant healing, strength and peace.
Lord, we pray for those among us who recently lost loved ones. We pray for Sister Zaidie Duncan and her family who lost their father. Lord, we pray for God’s comfort and peace for them, especially for her mother. We continue to pray for the family of our late Sister Marlene Ellis.
Lord, we continue to keep in prayer Sister Jhenelle Black who arrived in Wales to pursue further studies in Dentistry. We pray for Your continued favour and success, protection and covering for Jhenelle.
Lord, we ask that You save us from destruction, bloodguilt and abuse of all kinds; instil hope in us. Fill us with your peace, In Jesus’ name, we pray with thanksgiving.
Our Prayers of Encouragement are for everyone. Therefore, if you also need prayer or comfort, please contact us with your request. We would gladly share with you.
Grace Missionary Church is a member of The Missionary Church Association in Jamaica.