Prayer of Encouragement, Voices of Youths, 2022

The Prayer of Encouragement for 10 January

Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 10 January 2021 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers.

My Brothers, Sisters and Friends, we thank God for His love, mercy and grace. It is a new day! It is a new week! What an awesome and mighty God we serve? Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! May the Lord bless, favour and cover you for each passing moment. May His light shine upon you, and may you experience His peace. If you or anyone you know is in need of prayer, please post your request on our website.

You know, the journey continues so I have some more experiences to share during this phase of life. I had to go somewhere recently to do Justice of the Peace related work. Since my vehicle is out, I asked that a ride be arranged for me. So they sent a taxi. First of all, the taxi driver was early. I understood that he was on his way from dropping off another customer at the time of receiving the call to pick me up, so he headed straight to me. I was grateful.

When I looked at the car, I realised that it was not a public passenger vehicle (PPV). It is not the norm for me to take taxis with a private plate. I noticed that the taxi driver was bare-footed. On our way, he went through a stoplight and made an illegal “U” Turn at the same time. He was frequently on his telephone receiving calls and text messages. He took all sorts of unnecessary shortcuts. The road did not seem busy. I asked him if he thought that the road busy. He said no.

The taxi driver was even complaining to me about the Education Ministry’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. He was concerned about his child attending school and the fear of a further outbreak. He knew that his actions were wrong but it became a habit for him to behave in that manner. When I related what happened to the person responsible, she just laughed.

On another note, I have been going into various business places and realised that there was a common trend among those who were testing persons with the thermometers as it relates to possible symptoms for Coronavirus. I noticed that when there was a long line the company’s representative quickly put the thermometer towards your hand wrist and sprayed it with the sanitiser at the same time. Adequate time was neither given for the reading nor to mentally note the reading. This seemed to be a habit in most places that I have done business.

As I reflected on those experiences, the issue that kept pounding in my mind is “habit”. I am of the view that we have good and wrongful habits. However, wrongful habits can be detrimental to our lives, as well as the lives of others. How would you describe a habit? One may say that it is a routine, style or pattern that we develop over time. It becomes ingrained in us to the point where most times we are not aware of our actions.

As it relates to my current experiences, when I considered wrongful habits the story of Zacchaeus came to mind. Zacchaeus was in the habit of overcharging taxes. Interestingly, it is said that the Greek form of the Hebrew name Zacchaeus means “innocent” (Holman, 2015). Writers have indicated that Zaccheus was a chief tax collector from Jericho who had grown rich by overtaxing the people (Nelson, 2004).

Luke gave us an understanding of Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus. “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.” (Luke 19: 1-2, NIV). You may note that Zacchaeus’ name meant innocent. Yet, he was considered to be a corrupt tax collector in the eyes of the people. What a conflict?

Zacchaeus was eager to see Jesus. “He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him since Jesus was coming that way” (Luke 19: 3-4, NIV). He was a man short in stature but certainly not in wealth. What a contrast? However, he did not allow his height to hinder him from seeing Jesus.

One may say that Jesus saw Zacchaeus and was moved with compassion. “When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” (Luke 19: 5-7, NIV). Here we see Jesus reaching out to Zacchaeus, a sinner who caused the people a lot of discomforts. The people misunderstood Jesus’ intention so they proceeded to criticise Him.

Zacchaeus gave a classical response, which one may consider a rebuttal on a debating floor. But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’ Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:8-10, NIV). God restored Zacchaeus and he restored the people beyond what he had stolen. Amazing! What an awesome God we serve. Wow! Thank you, Lord. Hallelujah!

The apostle John advised that “Everyone who sins breaks the law. In fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:4-6, NIV).

He also stated that “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us;” (1 John 1:8-10; NIV). We should therefore consider and be alerted to the way we deal with sin, whether personally or as it relates to other people.

Many times we may have wrongful habits or come across other people with wrongful habits. We may not pay attention or see our own sin. Some persons may avoid other people who sinned or criticised those who try to reach them. But should we do so? Is that what Christ would have done? It is not the norm for me to ride in a taxi like the one previously mentioned. Some people may stop it and get out. You may be right in so doing. Could it be though that in some instances God wants to reach the person through you? Think about it. What do you have to say?

As you meditate, let us look to the Lord in prayer.

Almighty God, we honour and adore You. We magnify and glorify your name. You are God of gods, Lord of lords. Your Kingdom is established and rules over all kingdoms. You are Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omni-present. We praise and glorify your name. Hallelujah to the King!

Lord, our sin is ever before You. We have done wrong in your sight, time and time again. So we acknowledge and confess our sins to You. We come in the name of Jesus Christ, asking You to forgive all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Out of the depths of the earth, we cry unto You O Lord. Let your ears be attentive to our cry for mercy. Lord, let us not be like the horse or mule which has no understanding and must be controlled by bit and bridle.

Lord, You are our hiding place. Protect us from trouble and surround us with songs and words of deliverance. Instruct and teach us in the way we should go. Let not evil rule over us but counsel us with your loving eyes. For who can discern their own errors? Lord, forgive our hidden faults. Keep us from willful sins. May they not rule over us. Then we will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. If You kept a record of sin, who could stand? Lord, we know that with You there is forgiveness, so we wait on You. As the watchman waits for the morning, we wait.

Hear our cry O Lord, and have mercy.

Lord, we know that it is because of your great love we are not consumed, for Your compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. So we confess the deep sinful acts of our families, churches, church associations and related institutions, communities and nations, and leaders of each category. We appeal to your heart of compassion and ask that you cleanse, purify and restore us.

We pray especially for 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. 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.

God of compassion, we put to You those who are mourning such as Sisters Audrey and Prunella Vassell and family. We pray for your mercy, a hand of comfort and peace on them as they deal with the loss of their mother.  

Jehovah Rapha, remember those among us who are on the usual sick and shut-in list, as well as 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, Mr. Alan Ashley (Sister Dawn Ashley’s father), Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr. Isaiah Japp, Mr. Norman Grant (Sister Juanica’s husband),  Mr, Delorn Dixon (Sister Rachael Dixon’s husband) and any member or family member who is currently struggling with the Covid-19 virus. We pray for mercy, healing, comfort and restoration

Lord, we pray for those who are displaced and emotionally disturbed, trying to strike a balance in life. We also pray for those who have suffered different types of losses. So O God, apply your restorative power and comfort to us.

Hear O Lord and have mercy.

Lord, cause your light to shine on us, and fill us afresh with your Shalom, in the name of Jesus Christ we pray with thanksgiving.


Our Prayers of Encouragement 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.

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