Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Intercessory Prayer for 23 August 2020.
My Brothers, Sisters and Friends we are hoping that you are well.
You know, I had some small soursop and was about to use them to make juice. I noticed that some of them were healthy looking on the outside but not so on the inside. Some were brownish both on the inside and outside, and the others were healthy looking both on the inside and outside. My attention was drawn to those differences when I took one of the soursop that looked healthy on the outside. I was looking forward to the inside being the same but this was not the case when I cut it open.
I kept thinking about the experience and was reminded of the time when Samuel went to Jesse’s house. His task was to anoint the future king who would replace Saul but he did not know who God had chosen.
When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”1 Samuel 16:6-7 (NIV)
The physical appearance of Eliab distracted Samuel. In my case, I assumed that the inside of the soursop was good and healthy looking based on the appearance of the outside. I built a false expectation that resulted in my disappointment. We can be easily attracted to the physical appearance and not pay attention to what comes out of the inner man. The Lord was saying to Samuel that He does not look at the things that distract us, like the outer appearance. He looks at the heart.
How then should we proceed with our limited abilities and knowledge? The harsh reality is that we cannot see the heart unless the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. When we look further at the story, all of the children who Jesse thought were eligible for the anointing were rejected by the Lord. Take note that Jesse knew that he had not presented all of his sons but Samuel did not. Nonetheless, Samuel’s approach is also critical. He was cognizant of the fact that the Lord sent him on a mission to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king, so in Samuel’s mind something was missing.
Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep. ”Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”1 Samuel 16:10-11 (NIV)
Although David’s appearance was considered to be appealing, based on his experience with Eliab, Samuel would have learnt not to make the same mistake. Hence, Samuel waited on the Lord’s leading and counsel.
So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one”. So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.”1 Samuel 16:12-13 (NIV)
Samuel was a prophet, a man of God but his experience showed us that the Lord’s guidance and teachings are continuous in the life of the believer. If we are not sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit in situations and in our experiences, we miss what God wants to do in and through us. Brethren, how easily distracted are you to the things that are not important to what God is doing within the time? How easily do you lose your focus? Are these hindrances to what God wants to do? Think about it…. It is time to pause, and pray.
Let us pray:
Almighty God, we thank You for Your love, grace and mercies. We honour and adore You. You are awesome! You are clothed with majesty and power! You are the God of yesterday, today and forevermore! We praise You! We bless Your holy name. Lord, nothing is impossible for You. You are always in control. Lord, all things fall within Your perfect plan. We place our lives in Your hands.
Most Righteous God, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, asking that You cleanse us from all unrighteousness and forgive all of our sins. Lord, take every thought, attitude and behaviour and purify our hearts and minds, and renew the right spirits within us.
Merciful Father, cast us not away from Your presence. Lord, take not Your Holy Spirit from us but restore unto us the joy of Thy salvation. Out of the depths we cry to You, O Lord, O Lord, let Your ear be attentive to our cries for mercy. If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins who could stand? Lord, we know that with You there is forgiveness, so we wait on You. More than the watchman waits for the morning, we wait. Help us to forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but grant us a willing spirit to sustain us through You.
Lord, we present to you our biological and church families. Lord, have mercy on us. Grant us the strength, wisdom and understanding we need to live in these times. Father, we can easily become distracted and confused, so we ask for clarity in thoughts, attitudes and behaviours. We ask that You grant us sound minds, and ignite the power and love of God in us to be Your instruments of greatness. We ask that You comfort our hearts and cushion us from the spirit of fear and hopelessness. Sustain us for Your glory.
Jehovah Rapha, we present to You those on our usual list of sick and shut-ins. We also lift up other members of our families and their families who are ill. Sisters Iris Lawrence, Jennifer Nicholson, Virginia Muir (who is back in the hospital), 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. Lord, we ask for Your hand of healing upon them.
God of comfort, we present to You those who are mourning; Sister Jehan Johnson and family who lost her mother Claris Johnson; Deacon Darlene Jones (mom’s funeral service held); Sister Sharon Morgan who lost her mother (funeral service held); Brother Andrew Getton who lost his mother (buried); and Sister Arlene Tomlinson who lost a brother (buried, lived in the U.S.A); Sister Melva Knight who lost an aunt; and Brother Orville Beckford and Sister Ann Beckford who lost a Sister and Sister-in-law respectively (buried). Lord, we ask that You comfort each person and their families to the measure needed.
Lord, there are others among us who are ill or having financial challenges, fearful, anxious, or despondent. We ask for Your healing and a renewal of minds to think soberly, to feel Your presence, to be assured of Your love and to be empowered for Your glory.
Lord, we present to You the leadership of our churches, associations and related institutions, and nation. We ask that You grant them true wisdom, knowledge and understanding in all they say and do. Let them act responsibly and in the best interest of our people, our nation.
Lord, we present to You our leaders and we call by name, The 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 of Education Karl Samuda, Leader of the Opposition Peter Philips, and their families; Jamaica Defence Force and Jamaica Constabulary Force personnel and Security Guards, all other leaders of government and their support staff.
Lord, You are the God who sees and nothing is hidden from Your eyes. We present every illegal bike rider, car and other vehicle drivers, walk-foot thieves who are seeking to steal, kill and destroy this our nation. We lift up every household and community to You and ask that You expose and apprehend the culprits. Therefore Lord, let there be hard evidence against them, and cause it that they be held accountable. Lord, You see the hearts and minds of men. You see the evil schemes and set-ups devised to disturb this country and our people but we are relying on You Lord to let not evil prevail over us. So let your peace reign throughout the length and breath of this country.
Lord, You see the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases and the associated increased risk. Help us as leaders and citizens to act responsibly and be each other’s keeper. Lord, hear and have mercy.
Father, we put to You the election atmosphere. It is an unusual and crazy time for elections, but we look to You Lord to take us safely through this journey. Lord, let those You need to relinquish their political hold bow out in humility. Let Your peace reign throughout every community. Lord, let Your peace reign.
Lord, we have to deal with the hurricane season along with everything else. We thank You so much for sustaining us, and we ask for Your continued mercies, coverage, protection and favour.
Lord, the time for students to return to school has changed to October. We still do not know whether or not this will happen at that time but You know. So we ask for Your continued guidance and intervention. Help us as a nation to make the right decisions.
Lord, comfort our hearts. Fill us afresh daily with Your presence. Envelop us with Your love and grant us peace, Your peace, O God.
In Jesus’ name we pray with thanksgiving.
Our Weekly Prayers are for everyone. Therefore, if you are also in need of prayer or comfort, please contact us with your request. We would be so very happy to share with you.