Prayer of Encouragement, Voices of Youths, 2022

Prayer of Encouragement for 26 September

Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 26 September 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.

You know, every time I consider the issue of forgiveness, it is like entering a rocky road that takes time to complete. There are so many concerns. Wow! When you really think about it, individuals make up families (regardless of their compositions), families make up communities, communities make up parishes and parishes make up our country.

We all carry out different functions, and as such, we need to relate with each other. If those things hold to be true, then our experiences can have ripple effects. It means that my experiences can affect my country. So although there is good, we end up with all sorts of social issues. We conduct surveys and studies to understand what has led us to be in a certain state or condition. We apply strategies to fix problems but are we really taking the right approach? Do we deal with the problem at its root?

I recalled a very devastating experience many years ago. I was about 9 years old. My late father used to operate a shop for a short while. My mother and I were in the shop on a particular day. We heard some noise on the outside and decided to get an understanding of what was happening. I kid you not! We saw a man with a head in his hand and he pointed it at the women who were walking on the road saying to them that “A dis woman get when dem disobedient”. The women were screaming and running away from him.

I learned that it was the head of his common-law wife, which he took to the police station. I even saw when the undertakers took the rest of the body for the morgue. The man and his family lived in a place that did not have good roads at the time. It was literally a far and bushy area. I also knew of another devastating situation where another man killed his wife and destroyed her body. It was discovered many years later. Both men were charged with murder and punished.

Recently, I thought about those families who would have been affected by such horrible experiences. I thought about the degree of pain that they carried and may still carry. I thought about the build-up of anger, resentment towards people and God, and the way those things affect their relationships. Also, I thought about the pain and anger that one family member can cause another, the secrecy and the attempt to repress true feelings. I thought about the lack of forgiveness and the lack of healing. It breaks my heart.

As I reflected on what happened I remember Absolam, King David’s son. Absolam was a handsome young man with great potential. We may say that he was on his way to achieving great things. However, on that life’s path, there was a disturbance that devastated him and impacted his family and an entire nation. This resulted in a turnaround to a point where he was a stench in the eyes of many. He became angry and resentful.

What gave rise to the change in Absalom? The scripture tells us that Amnon,  Absolam’s brother, fell in love with his sister, Tamar. Amnon was troubled by this, which was seen by his advisor Jonadob. Jonadab basically told him to deceive his father into believing that he was ill, and request that Tamar attend to him. This was done as planned (2 Samuel 13: 1-10, NIV).

At the time that Tamar was carrying out Amnon’s request, he raped her. “But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, ‘Come to bed with me, my sister.’ ‘No, my brother!’ she said to him. ‘Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.’ But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her.” (2 Samuel 13: 11-14, NIV).

Absolam took his sister and cared for her but he was angry. He was full of anger for Amnon. His father was also angry. When King David heard all this, he was furious. And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.” (2 Samuel 13:21-22, NIV). Initially, Absalom had passive anger towards Amnon.

Amnon was not punished by king David and Tamar became a desolate woman who ended up living with her brother Absolam (2 Samuel 13:20). It was two years later that Absolam decided to apply jungle justice where he thought there was no justice. He never forgave his brother so he let him pay for his actions. He arranged for Amnon to be killed, then fled and went into hiding (2 Samuel 13:23-29).

David loved his son, Absalom, but he was angry with him. One of his servants, Joab, saw the pain in David and devised a successful scheme to get permission for Absalom’s return. He was returned with the understanding that he was not allowed to see his father. David had not forgiven his son (2 Samuel 14:1-24).

On the other hand, Absalom wanted to see his father and when his request was not fulfilled his anger boiled.  He was disturbed by his father’s silence and was not sure of his future. Life got worse for him. He became a greater stench and the impact was not only on his family but others. Here we learned that Joab also paid dearly. “Then Absalom sent for Joab in order to send him to the king, but Joab refused to come to him. So he sent a second time, but he refused to come. Then he said to his servants, ‘Look, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire.’ So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.” (2 Samuel 14:29-31, NIV).

Absalom got Joab’s response and carried out his request to petition for his father’s attention. David gave a positive response and received his son, Absalom. David kissed his son. It must have been an eye-watering experience. We may say that he opened his heart to forgive and receive his son (2 Samuel 14:33).

Even then, we learned further that Absalom was still filled with anger and actually devised a plan to overthrow his father as king. David ended up fleeing for his life (2 Samuel 15). Absalom was advised to sleep with his father’s “wives” to show his power and gain leverage. “So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and he slept with his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.” (2 Samuel 16:22, NIV).

In the end, Absalom was killed and David wept. He lost his son. “The king covered his face and cried aloud, ‘O my son Absalom! O Absalom, my son, my son!’” (2 Samuel 1:4, NIV). It all started as a family issue. Absalom’s behaviour further affected his community and nation. It affected workers, it affected relationships and it affected lives. It caused pain, resentment, and disgrace that lingered for many years because there was unforgiveness and lack of healing.

Was it too late for David? Did he deal properly with the issue of Tamar’s rape? Even then, would there still be the need for forgiveness?

You know, we can be healed. We can move on but we must forgive. When we forgive, we love as Christ loves. Think bout it, chat bout it. What are you going to do about it?

Let us pray

Almighty God, we give You all the glory and praise, and magnify Your name. You are awesome! Hallelujah! You are above all else. You rule with great might, power and authority. Still, You are our Father, Lord and Saviour. We acknowledge Your infinite greatness. Hallelujah!

Lord, we thank You for forgiveness, for the air we breathe and for waking us to witness another day. Despite the challenges that we encounter, we hold on to the promises in Your word, especially those that appeal to You from our lips based on the needs that emerge in our lives. Thank You, Lord.

Lord, we thank You for daily providing, protecting and guiding our lives as individuals, families, communities, Churches and associations, businesses, government and our country as a whole. If we lift up our eyes to the mountains— where does our help come from? Our help cometh from You Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. You will not let our feet slip. You who watch over us will not slumber. Indeed, You who watch over Israel neither slumber nor sleep. Lord, You watch over us. You are the shade at our right hand. The sun will not harm us by day, nor the moon by night. Thank You, Lord, that You will keep us from all harm— You will watch over our lives. You will watch over our coming and going both now and forevermore (based on Psalm 121).

Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ we ask that You have mercy on us. Forgive all of our sins and empower us to forgive those who trespass against us. Deliver us from all forms of evil. Let not evil rule over us but rescue and deliver us in Your righteousness. Turn Your ear to us and save us. Save us from bloodguilt, threats and abuse, and destruction of all kinds. Lord, have mercy.

Lord, we lift up to You the leaders in our country. 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, let not evil rule over us; grant to our leaders the wisdom and courage to do what is in our best interest. Grant creativity and strategies that will help us to manoeuvre through these unusual times. Protect us and continue to provide for us.

We pray that You grant wisdom, insight and courage to those who are meeting at the United Nations. We ask that You cause it that they make decisions that are in the best interest of those whom they serve within their domestic jurisdictions. Lord, we ask that they operate in ways that are selfless, and bear good fruit. Oh God, be glorified.

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 continue to keep in prayer Sister Jhenelle Black who left for the United Kingdom (UK) to pursue further studies in Dentistry. We thank You, Lord, for safe passage as Sister Jhenelle and her mother Sister Ruth have arrived in the UK. We pray for Your continued favour as they travel to Wales.

Lord, we ask for extraordinary protection over our children, youths, teachers, and workforce as a whole, especially those who are venturing outside of their homes. Lord, cover their minds and comfort their hearts as You grant them strength and peace. Help us to act quickly so that we do not lose those who seem to be losing touch with being educated. 

Lord, we ask that You fill our hearts and minds with Your peace. Empower us to realise that we are overcomers and grant us victory in our circumstances.

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.

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