Intercessory Prayer

The Intercessory Prayer for 13 September 2020

Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Intercessory Prayer for 13 September 2020.

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On Friday we looked at some concepts such as humiliation, humility, humanity and pride. We tried to see how they connect with forgiveness. As I mulled over these concepts, my thoughts have taken me to the encounter between king Saul and David. I believe that the nature of the relationship between those two men teaches us certain lessons on forgiveness.

Let us focus on the way Saul died. There are at least two accounts regarding the way that Saul died. The account given in 1 Samuel suggested that he fell on his sword and killed himself.

The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically. Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me”. But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him.

1 Samuel 31:3-5 (NIV)

Another account of Saul’s death suggested that he was injured, fell on his sword but was still alive. He saw an Amalekite who finished him off at his request. The Amalekite visited David and told him what had happened.

 A man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor. “Where have you come from?” David asked him. He answered, “I have escaped from the Israelite camp.” What happened?” David asked. “Tell me.”

… the young man said, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and their drivers in hot pursuit. When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, “What can I do?” Then he said to me, “Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.” So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and brought them here to my lord.”

2 Samuel 1:2-10 (NIV)

You may note that Saul wanted to die in a dignified manner. He was afraid of humiliation in life and death. Of course, he was the first king of Israel appointed by God. He was in favour with God, hearing from Him. He became, proud, “puffed up.” Remember that Saul became disobedient concerning the will of God and fell out of favour with Him. The people praised David’s victories and compared to Saul’s performance (1 Samuel 18). God later appointed Samuel to anoint David, to succeed him (1 Samuel 16).

You know, Saul did not seem to either forgive David or the people of Israel for publicly humiliating him as king concerning David’s victories (1 Samuel 13; 15). Instead, he became jealous of David and went in hot pursuit to kill him (1 Samuel 18; 19). There were times when Saul was fighting two battles, one with the Philistines and the other with David. On the other hand, David was trying to fight one battle against the Philistines but ended up in an unwanted battle with Saul.

Some may say that Saul’s jealousy and lack of forgiveness cost him his crown and life. Yet David seemed to have shown humility. It appeared that he kept on forgiving Saul, respecting him as the king of Israel anointed by God. One may say that Saul was humiliated in death when the Philistines found his body.

The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.

1 Samuel 31:8-10 (NIV)

Here we go again. David tried to bring some amount of restoration to Saul’s dignity when he died and was humiliated. David ordered the death of the Amalekite who confessed to killing Saul. Some may say to finish him off because he was severely injured.

Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed.’”

2 Samuel 1:15-16 (NIV)

Saul’s men ensured that his body was retrieved from the enemies and his bones buried. David ordered a lament (mourning, wailing etc) for Saul (1 Samuel 31).

Brethren, many times we may end up in the wrong battles with ourselves and others. The encounter between David and Saul has shown us that lack of forgiveness can lead to heavy losses. We may lose our sense of being and take on profiles that God did not intend. 

Over the years, I realised that I felt lighter, calmer and more self-assured when I forgave. Lack of forgiveness is a load that many carry, avoiding people, being jealous, unkindness and always attacking the person at every chance. It does not mean that dealing with forgiveness does not cause us to feel uncomfortable. When this happens, I do the necessary self-talk, talk to God and process the pain that accompanies the hurt inflicted on me. There are times when the hurt runs deep and I have to be deeper with God and speak with a colleague.

Now, many times I find myself taking the approaches of David by forgiving, supporting and showing love to those who hurt me. We still need to manage situations within balance. Let us be mindful that it is the Holy Spirit who perfectly assists in this regard.

The Lord has taught me through many experiences that demonstrating the love of Christ is always more important than the way I feel. Can I tell you? It requires a holding of the tongue and the right disposition of my attitude. Trust me Brethren and Friends, it requires the strength of God so I have to heavily rely on Him.  

What are you saying? Do you just rush through these readings and move on, or do you allow the Holy Spirit to speak? Please…think about what was said in the context of your life.

As we continue to meditate, we ask that God help us to quiet our hearts to submit our beings, and commit life’s happenings to Him.

Let us pray:

Almighty God, we thank You for another day. We thank You for the air that we breathe. Lord, we thank You for protecting and covering us, especially through these challenging times with Covid-19 and its impact.

We thank You, Lord.

Lord, we continue to lift up our selves, families (church and biological), and country to You as we seek Your mercies. Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ asking You to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and forgive all of our sins. Help us to forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Lord, let not evil rule over us but renew the right spirits in us and grant us spirits that are obedient to Your will and desires for our lives.

Lord, we pray for our church and national leaders. We ask that You take every assigned member of parliament and cabinet members under Your microscope. Remove all selfishness, every thought, attitude and behaviour that conflicts with Your will and desires. 

Lord, we ask that You grant them wisdom, strength, courage, knowledge and understanding to carry out their tasks.

Lord, we pray for wisdom, renewal, unity, courage and strength among members of the opposition party. We ask that You comfort their hearts and heal them as they reconcile within the party.

Lord, we thank You for Your continued covering and protection during this hurricane season.

Out of the depths of the earth we cry O Lord, have mercy.

Lord, we pray for our churches and associations that are being held under heavy scrutiny at this time. Help us to be compliant and respect the laws of the land. Help us to be creative and adaptable to the changes in time. Let us not lose hope. Let us not lose our joy. 

Lord, renew within us the joy of Your salvation. Let us not be just focused on getting church to be rightly done but cause it that You are wholeheartedly worshipped and adored even through restrictions. 

Lord, we ask that You remove the tightness and heaviness from among us and let us lose ourselves and find it all in You. Cause it that there be unity in spirit, unity in discussions, unity in decisions, and unity in worship among us. Lord, we ask that You provide us with resources that go far beyond what we could ask or imagine. Cause it Lord, that we act responsibly and be our neighbour’s keeper.

Lord, we have been praying for a pastor but You know the right person and time. We commit our request to You knowing that You see the hearts of humankind.

Out of the depths of the earth we cry O Lord, have mercy.

Jehovah Rapha, remember those who are mourning the loss of loved ones (especially Sister Jehan Johnson and family who buried their mother yesterday). We pray that You will comfort every heart.

Jehovah Jireh, remember those who are dealing with losses in business and employment. We ask for Your provision and peace.

Out of the depths of the earth we cry O Lord, have mercy.

Lord, we present to You the young people who may feel like life is on hold. Dear God, we ask that You ignite hope in them. Grant them creative minds and strategies to not just survive but excel even in these times.

Lord, the world at large has issued confusing statements and energies at times. We ask that You help us to absorb only what is good and honourable in Your sight. We pray that the leaders of the world will act responsibly honouring You as Lord and Saviour.

Lord, we lift up the sick and shut-ins from our usual list. We also remember Sisters Iris Lawrence, Lelith James, Jennifer Nicholson, Virginia Muir, 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.

Hear O Lord, and have mercy.

Lord, we pray for those among us who are celebrating. Help us to rejoice with those who rejoice. We lift up Karlia Jones Clarke and Rammon Clarke who today celebrate their first week of marriage. 

Lord, may Your continued hand of covering be upon them as they venture in a world of uncertainties. We ask for continued divine blessing upon their lives as they take on life together. Grant them true wisdom, courage, unity, peace, effective communication abilities, understandings, favour and blessings.

Lord, we ask that You heal wounded hearts and send freedom to those who are in bondage. Grant us Your peace and lead us in the path of life that You desire.

This we pray with thanksgiving.


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