Prayer of Encouragement for 7 November
Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 7 November 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 continued 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 I have been thinking about the term “Bowels of Compassion” a lot recently. What are bowels? Some writers say that the word “Bowels” is always used in the plural and denotes “the physical organs of the intestines”. I think it is a central part of our physical being.
The Elder and a disciple of Christ, John, had this to say. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-19, NIV).
I must say that the NIV seemed more toned down when it said, “…but has no pity…” versus the KJV, which says “… and shutteth up his bowels of compassion…”. The KJV gives a vivid picture, which directs me to my central make-up. In reference to having an attitude of words without action, from a psychological standpoint, we call it incongruence. I will say that if we do not notice that our behaviours do not line up with what we voiced, people know but most of all, God knows.
Compassion is seen in the apostle Paul’s writings as affection. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul expressed concern about the exchange of compassion, among other things. He said, “ We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange — I speak as to my children — open wide your hearts also.” (2 Corinthians 6:11-13, NIV).
You may note that Paul had great compassion for them and actually saw them as his children. As I thought about that I remember this verse, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him, for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14, NIV). Our heavenly Father is acquainted with our frailty. He understands our make-up. Yet there is a clarification to note who He has compassion on, “…on those who fear Him”.
The apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians in one instance expressed love that I felt just by reading his writing. He stated that they were in his thoughts. He saw them as partners in the gospel and he was grateful for them. “ I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians:3-5, NIV).
Paul sent them a word of affirmation: “ being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:4-6, NIV). Imagine that! They must have felt some kind of elevation.
Paul was feeling the love and He was giving the love. Wowy! “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.” ( (Philippian1:7-8, NIV).
Paul prayed for their growth in love, knowledge, discernment, etc., so that God is glorified. He felt the need to bless and cover them, praying that they aimed for perfection, to be pure and blameless. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11, NIV).
If we travel over to Colossians we can see where Paul gave an encouraging word which could be taken as instructive. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14, NIV).
You may note that his emphasis was on love. Paul seemed to be telling us to put on compassion etc. and wear them. He used the word clothe. A thought just hit me. At times, we need to take off what is already on so that we can fit properly into what we need to put on. This may be for someone to sit on. Now, having put those on he said, as a covering over everything else “… put on love”.
Do you think we can carry too much weight? We may have already clothed ourselves with some things and are trying to put on the right kind of compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, etc. over them. This hinders us from feeling and giving the right kind of compassion, etc. So we have difficulties discerning and understanding what God requires. Oh Lord, help us! I also find that at times we convince ourselves that we are empowering people, but instead we are putting them down to bring comfort to our status.
I have to mention one more thing before I go so please bear with me a bit. Jesus pushed for the heart of affection to go even further. In His “Sermon on the Mount”, He told the disciples and others “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matthew 5:46-47, NIV). Aah! O Lord, help!
May God teach and help us to love the way He loves, to take off the clothing that hinders us and put on those that bring glory to Him as we aim to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48, NIV). Think bout it, chat bout it and decide what you are going to do about it. Yeah!
Let us pray:
Praise the Lord, you His servants. Praise the name of the Lord. Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, He seats them with princes, with the princes of his people. He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children; and I take it, a happy wife. Hallelujah! (Psalm 113).
Almighty God, we honour and adore Your name. We give You all of the glory, honour and praise. Be exalted, O God in the heavens and on the earth. Hallelujah! We thank You for the birth of a new day, new week, new month. We thank You for sustenance, protection and guidance. Lord, we thank You for sending to us Your one and only Child who died for our sins, a sacrifice that was, and still is, incomparable. Thank You, Lord.
Lord, as individuals, families, communities, Churches, political representatives, government and a country as a whole, we come in the name of Jesus Christ asking that You cleanse us from all unrighteousness and forgive all of our sins. Lord, make us worthy vessels in Your sight. Cause it that we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from all forms of evil.
Lord, unless You build the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless You watch over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain we rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for He grants sleep to those he loves.
We thank you, Lord, for the heritage of children, which comes from You, and the offspring, a reward from You. We are grateful that like arrows in the hands of a warrior so are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents.
Lord, we are Your children but help us to appreciate our children and youths and not verbally or physically abuse, put them in danger or speak ill of them. Help us to deal with children and youths in the way you showed us with deep compassion. Cause it that we see each child/youth as our own. Help us to genuinely open our hearts to them; to be present in their lives and not deal with them at a distance. Teach us how to reach them and meet them at their point of need.
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. Also, grant creativity and strategies that will help us to maneuver through these unusual times. Protect and continue to provide for us.
Lord, we remember those who are not well, especially Deacon Loy, 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, Mr, Delorn Dixon (Sister Rachael Dixon’s husband), Brother Cornel Richards 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 is pursuing further studies in Dentistry in the United Kingdom (UK).
May our meditation be pleasing to You, as we rejoice in You, Lord. May Your glory endure forever, may You rejoice in your works— You who look at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke. Awesome are You Lord. Our souls praise You, Lord.
Lord, fill our lives with Your peace, Your presence and Your power. Lord, we also ask for Your continued protection, provision and guidance in all that we say and do. Help us to realise that we are overcomers and grant us victory in our circumstances. Let Your kingdom come on earth, in our lives, as it is in heaven. 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.