Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 10 September 2021 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers. Deacon Burton owns the copyright to this post. We reprint here with her permission.
My Brothers, Sisters and Friends, we are hoping that you are well. However, if not, please let us know. Just a reminder that if you or anyone you know needs prayer, please let us know. You can post your prayer request here on our website.
I am extremely grateful to Almighty God for perseverance. I am grateful that He has equipped me for each day, that He has endowed me with the power to stand and walk through the hardest of times. Yes, His resurrection power lives within me and if that power raises Jesus Christ from the dead, how then can I not believe that the same power can raise me out of my dead or almost dead situations? I know there are times when the experiences are repeated and/or multiplied but thanks be to God His power cannot be diminished.
Yet, the truth be told, life is hard. I mean hard and it does not necessarily have to do with lack of funds because there are those who lose loved ones or face other kinds of obstacles such as mental and physical challenges. There was a time in my life when the word of God and my relationship with Him did not play a central role in my experiences but I have come to appreciate the need for it to be so.
I noticed that Peter and James had some interesting suggestions concerning perseverance. Peter said, “…make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV). Therefore, you start with a belief in, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ but not to sit on it. He enunciated the need to grow beyond a belief by allowing other things to be added with perseverance stuck right in the midst of it all.
What was the reasoning behind Peter’s suggestions? He said, “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” (2 Peter 1:7-9, NIV). Ouch! I felt that from Peter. He is not just talking about gaining those things but in increasing amounts.
Notice, people! Peter is not just talking about knowledge. He is suggesting that we can have knowledge but be ineffective and unproductive. It seemed to suggest that we have to allow for the work of God to take place in us, in our lives. When we do not take this approach, we lack insight, not seeing the things that we should and not hearing what we should. Thus, not doing what we should and not accomplishing the will of God for the glory of God. Ahh, Lord!
As if what Peter said was not enough, James had some other things to say that we should consider. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1-2-4). Joy? What joy? How can I have joy when pain hits and destruction comes to my door? Really, what is he talking about?
You may notice that James got a lot more direct than Peter. He talked about the trials and testing of our faith. James seemed to be saying that we cannot just grow but that growth will involve some testing and trials so that there is a solidification of our sense of being as children of God. It is when we pass those tests, whatever they may be according to God’s design, we start maturing. I also think that getting to the point of completion and lacking nothing is through Jesus Christ, through the grace of God. One may see Peter’s point on possessing the qualities in “increasing measure” and James’ point on testing and trial as coming together to tell us that perseverance may entail multiple experiences, tough ones too. Hmm…
James went on to tell us of a reward in store, that whatever we go through will never be in vain. Praise be to God! Man! He said, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12, NIV).
We could also add something that the apostle Paul said, “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: 6, NIV). I say Amen! This assures me that I am not in this thing by myself. I have my Saviour by my side who will lead me to the very end. Yet, I need to be submissive, allowing His work in me for His glory. A tough journey at times but worthy of the calling. Amen!
I had an experience some years ago when I climbed the Blue Mountains. A group of us walked for hours starting in the night until morning gave us light. When I eventually looked up from a distance and saw the Peak of the mountain, I literally lost all energy. I threw down my backpack and collapsed on the ground in exhaustion. I was not unconscious. It felt like my limbs said, “no, you ain’t going any further”. I was so close to completion. I was at the very point of reaching my destination and my body gave up. A friend came and took my backpack. Gradually, my mind coaxed my body, telling it that we did not come this far to stay there. We came to reach the Peak and it is to the Peak we are going! I eventually got up and went to the Peak, praise God.
I also recalled when I was at university doing my last set of exams for the first degree. It was a tough experience because I was working full time and trying to complete the degree as a full-time student. I started to lose my energy and did not feel like studying. All of the prior years of tiredness seemed to have become like a sponge just sapping my energy away. It took a lot of self-talk to get through. I felt like a ranger fighting along a rough journey so I built what I called “emotional support stones” on which I leaned.
In life, we go through many challenges. However, the time when we need to push is during those times we may feel like giving up. The apostle Paul encourages us, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV).
I kept hearing that whatever I am called to endure will never be worthless. The physical make-up and world, and spiritually dark world may tell me that I am tired, I cannot make it, I do not have what it takes. But the word of God tells me that He who has begun a good work in me will complete it. What did it say? He will complete it! Amen! Tell whoever and whatever needs to know, He will complete it! “For no word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:37, NIV).
Paul was assured of God’s commitment so he said, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV). Hallelujah! Enough said! Think bout it, chat bout it. What are you going to do about it?
Let us pray:
Lord, we thank You for provisions, protection and guidance for each day. We thank You for healing and restoration. Even then, we empathise with those who suffered losses and thank You for comforting their hearts and restoring them.
Lord, we honour You, we adore You, we bless and magnify Your name. Lord, we give You all the glory. We praise and thank You for each experience. You are an awesome God and we acknowledge Your infinite greatness. We praise You, O God. Hallelujah!
Most righteous God, we come in the name of Jesus Christ asking that You have mercy on us. Forgive all our sins and help us to forgive those who trespass against us. Protect us from evil and save us from destruction. Lord, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from all evil.
Almighty God, as we survey what is happening in our country and the world around us, we see losses of all kinds, pain, confusion and the work of evil on display. In some places, we see political and civil unrest, genocide, war, and the list goes on. Sovereign Lord, strong deliverer and our shield, as individuals, families, communities, Churches and Associations, businesses, workers, government and our country as a whole we ask that You keep us safe from the hands of evil and wicked hearts. Protect us from violence and arrogance.
Lord, You are our God, hear our cry for mercy. Let not evil rule over us but rescue and deliver us in Your righteousness. Turn your ear to us and save us. Lord, be our rock of refuge. Our eyes are fixed on You, and in You we take refuge. You are our only hope, keep us safe from the Coronavirus, hurricanes and other disasters, and criminal activities that are set to trap us and cripple our movement. O Lord, hear our prayer, listen to our cry for mercy. In your faithfulness and righteousness come to our relief for our hope is in You.
Lord, 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, grant wisdom, knowledge, understandings and insights, the boldness and courage to act in the best interest of our country. Take away our hearts of stone, renew the right spirit within us, and cause it that each citizen will consider the welfare of the other.
We lift up to You those among us who are in business: Ewan and Maxine Oliver; Lanna and Desmond Bennett; Warrick Bogle, Carol and Leroy Blake, Marcia Leair, Robert and Bevelin Smith, Paulette Dixon, Kemorine and Karl Henry, Ava Comrie, Catherine Barkley James and husband, Cornel Richards and family, Everton Lewis, Pauline and Mark Garvey, Brother Astley Hall, Maxine and Benedict Ranger, Melva Knight, Nicole Fender, Sharon Baldie, Karl Jones and others. Lord, grant the strength and courage that they need to be sustained. Provide and protect their ventures, guide and direct their path.
We also pray for the frontline workers connected with GMC: Medical Doctors: Asana Anderson Wilks and Rohan Wilks, Kahlete Falloon, Tina Kong, Vernon Jones, Leighton Logan, Emily Reynolds; trainee doctor (Gabrielle Channer); Dentists: doing emergency cases; Jhenelle Black, Dania Jones, Eleanor Reynolds; Pharmacists: Sandra Bucknor-Jones, Viveen Watson; other doctors and nurses from GMC or in connection with members and adherents of GMC who are working on the frontline (for example Dr Richard Reynolds) and their families. We ask that you endow and empower them with compassion for those who they serve. Also grant to them strength for each experience and the will to serve with excellence even in the midst of challenges. Protect them and their families and provide all the resources that they need on this unusual journey.
Lord, we lift up the children, youths and others who have returned to school. We pray for their strength, guidance, soundness of mind, peace and excellence in all that they do. We also ask that You give the teachers, students and administrators, parents and guardians, the wisdom, knowledge, compassion, courage and strength to continue on this unusual journey of life.
Lord, we also ask for Your continued provisions, protection and coverage as individuals, families, communities, Churches and Associations, businesses, workers, government and our country as a whole. Help us to be conscientious in the way we conduct ourselves.
Lord, in times like these we need You more than before. Our only hope is in you. So help us to feel Your presence in our circumstances. Grant us insight and help us to exercise good judgement and operate with soundness of mind in all that we say and do. Lord, instil hope in us, hope, O Lord, and grant unto us your peace. Hear, O Lord, and answer in Jesus’ name we pray with thanksgiving.
Our Prayers of Encouragement are for everyone. Therefore, please contact us with your request if you are also in need of prayer or comfort. We would be so very happy to share with you.