The Prayer of Encouragement for 11 April
Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 11 April 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 but if not, please let us know. Just a reminder that if you or anyone you know is in need of prayer, please let us know. You can post your prayer request on our website.
I am grateful to God for the consistency of His promises that are demonstrated in my experiences. His thoughts are higher than my thoughts and His ways are higher than my ways so I am not always aware of what my journeys will entail. I am not sure what He will allow to happen in my life. There are many inconsistencies and uncertainties in life but He remains my perfect, constant force that gives me hope for each new day. I thank God that He is always with me, and His Spirit lives within me. I am glad that I can reach out to Him anytime, even if my prayer is “O God” or “Jesus.” It may mean that at times all I can do is just call on His name. Yet, that is enough in crisis.
I am so grateful that God is my source of strength. When I am weak, then I can become strong in the strength of the Lord. His strength is made whole in my weakness. I pull from Him because it is through this approach that I reasonably gain stability and balance. Yet, I have to be constantly alert to the maintenance and enhancement of my relationship with Him. It does not mean that I do not go through emotional highs and lows, or that I do not process uncomfortable feelings, that I do not feel pain. I certainly do, trust me! It means that I have a refuge, a fortress, a supernatural deliverer; a shelter, a Shepherd who will not abandon me. Thank You, Lord. I am so grateful to You.
I pray that you will garner insight into the type of intimacy that God wants to have with you. He wants to relate with you in all that you say and do. He wants you to acknowledge Him as your constant companion. God wants to be your first point of call at all times. He wants you to acknowledge His walk with you through the uncomfortable times and He wants to celebrate with you in the good times. He wants you to spend good quality time with Him. May you embrace Him in this regard and may His blessings and favour rest and remain with you always.
Brethren and Friends, you know something? At times, the challenges of life seemed so insurmountable and overwhelming. Many people have been hit without warnings at the wee hours of the night or just any time of day with all sorts of problems. This has caused us to become destabilized and discombobulated, so we have to try and gain balance. At times when the challenges slap us the only thing we can utter is a groan or find ourselves in a state of daze. It means that the words for prayer may not come. Some people may choose to reach out to others for support while some may suffer in silence. Still, the words for a prayer may not come.
I learned over time that a sustainable relationship with God makes a difference when we face challenges. However, sometimes there is a struggle to keep the relationship. Like other relationships, it requires action. It is not only about feeling but doing what is required to get the relationship going. A relationship with God does not mean much if it is sustained by words only (“not a bag a mouth,” please), or an occasional contact. It requires regular action. At times other things may seem more attractive and provide greater comfort. If a relationship with God is important to us, we learn to trust the processes when there are discomforts. It does not mean we cut off connection with Him, it means that we stay with the relationship, and work on it. It means that regardless of our circumstances, we spend good quality time with Him. Yep!
As I reflected on the challenges that we face and the way that we can be easily thrown off balance, I am reminded of an exercise that I started doing on the hill walk. I call it a “Mind Strengthening Exercise.” It has to do with walking on the path of a wall with my chest held up and the rest of my body in proper posture. There are vehicles on one side and there is a little gully on the other side, so I have to keep my focus. There were times when the vehicles drive at a high speed and this brings heavier wind. I go against the wind so it requires focus.
As a child, I would walk on the side of the road where there is a concrete structure. I tried to just walk along the small part of the structure without falling off, so I am not that afraid to walk on the wall. The wall on the hill is different. At first, though it was a little nerve-racking. However, with time it became more and more comfortable. There are parts of the wall that have gravel on them. Some parts are narrow. There are parts that are broken and require me to jump across to keep on the path of the wall. Sometimes people tell me to be careful.
There were times when I fell off balance while walking on the wall. I had to be cognizant of the corners and approach of vehicles, the gravel, the wind and the voices that distract me, as I tried to keep focused. I find this exercise to be very helpful. Gymnasts do more dangerous things but I do not recommend that you do it unless the Lord guides you in that way. The Lord has me on a journey right now, which may require certain approaches that are outside of the norm.
What caused me to share that experience? Do you see any connection between my experience on the wall and the challenges that you face, which many times throw you off balance? What do the corners, wind, the height of the wall, voices, gravel, broken paths and the impact of vehicles represent to you? We may think that on the path of our life’s journey, we face challenges and each may mean something different for us during our experiences. It may be the bumps along the way, brokenness, discouragements, warnings, threats, exploitations, uncertainties as we take the corners or fear to take the corners, the intensity of our experiences, our vulnerability, etc. Nonetheless, the key is our response.
You know, we have been served with a couple of dishes of spiritual meals from the tables of the books of Kings in recent times. These have shown us the way a number of persons reacted to challenges that they face in life, and the way they have been thrown off balance. Remember Elijah who stood as a powerful man of God on Mount Carmel to demonstrate the sovereignty and power of God versus Baal. He later ran after Jezebel threatened him (1 Kings 18:16-45; 1 Kings 19:1-3). Did Elijah lose his balance when he ran and asked for the Lord to take his life? (1 Kings 19:4). He had to be ministered to by an angel of the Lord and subsequently regained balance. (1 Kings 19:5-9).
What about the Shunammite woman who was faithful to the work of God? She got a promised son but lost him. Did she lose her balance when she became distressed and broken? She later experienced restoration when his life was returned after Elisha prayed to God (2 Kings 4:8-36). What about the woman whose husband, a prophet of God, died and left her in financial debts? Did she fall off balance and become scared of losing her two sons to slavery as compensation for his debts? Did she experience restoration through being obedient to Elisha’s instructions concerning a small bottle of oil? (2 Kings 4: 1-7).
In contrast, you may recall Naboth who was killed and his vineyard taken by Ahab after a scheme that was set up by Jezebel to trick and falsely accuse him (1 Kings 21: 19-29). The account of Naboth’s experience showed us that he was offered a place of prominence by Jezebel who had a history of carrying out wrongful acts. He took it knowing that they were after his property. One may say that Naboth did not experience restoration as those persons previously mentioned. However, Ahab and Jezebel were severely punished and shamed for their wrongful acts (1 Kings 22: 20-40; 2 Kings 9:14-37).
Are you facing challenges? How do you respond to them? Have you ever found yourself off balance? Are you currently feeling like you are off-balance? What is God’s role in the process? Where does your relationship with Him stand?
As you try to respond to the foregoing, let us pray:
Almighty God, You are awesome. We honour You. We give thanks to You, Lord. With all of our hearts, we acknowledge all of Your wonderful deeds. We rejoice in You and we sing the praises of Your name, O Most High.
Lord, You reign forever. You have established Your throne for judgment. You rule the world in righteousness and judge the peoples with equity.
Lord, You are a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You (Psalm 9).
Lord, as we look to You, we are thankful that You know our state. We come in the name of Jesus Christ asking that You forgive all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Lord, help us to aim at living a life that shows we are set apart for Your glory. Help us to aim at being the ones who may dwell in Your sacred tent, who may live in Your holy place. The ones who walk blameless, who do what is righteous, who speak the truth from our hearts, in love and understand what that means.
Lord, help us to be the ones whose tongues utter no slander, who do no wrong to a neighbour and casts no slur on others. The one who despises a vile person but honours those who fear the Lord. Help us to keep an oath even when it hurts, and not change our minds. Lord, help us to lend money to the poor without interest, and not accept a bribe against the innocent. Help us to know that whoever does these things will never be shaken (Psalm 15). Have mercy and help us, Lord.
Lord, we pray for our churches, associations, leaders and members. Help us to daily examine our walk with You under the microscope of Your Holy Spirit. Help us to reach out to You as our first point of contact, in all that we say and do. Lord, revive in us a hunger for Your word, communion with You and an urge to constantly seek You. Lord, cause it that we follow Your lead, as You guide our path through Your mercy and favour. Help us to walk in Your purpose by doing Your will.
Lord, we ask that as individuals, families, communities, churches, political directorate and a country as a whole, You have mercy on us. Help us to be responsible and selfless in all that we say and do. Let us not just offer words on our lips but convict us to act in line with Your will for our lives and our families, church and biological; our communities and our nation.
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 remember also the judges in our congregation, Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie.
We ask that You grant wisdom to our leaders. Cause it that the decisions that are made will be done in the best interest of every citizen, especially as it relates to the Covid-19 protocol, the type of vaccines being acquired and given to the citizens; as well as the national identification proposals being currently discussed in parliament.
Lord, we pray for other countries within our region and the world at large. We ask that You grant mercy. Cause it that the hearts of people and leaders are transformed in a way that will bring You honour and glory. We pray that You sustain our economies and help us through these trying times. We remember those in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Lord, have mercy. We pray that the volcanic actions will come to a calm and that there be restoration in the lives of the people.
Lord, we remember those who are not well especially Jonathan Baldie who is currently in the hospital. 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, 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, and Lorraine Richards (Brother Cornel Richards’ wife); 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), Emery and other relatives of Brother Cornel who are ill at this time; and any member or family member who is currently struggling with the Covid-19 virus. Lord, grant healing, strength and peace, we ask.
Lord, fill us with Your presence, Your power and Your peace. Keep us safe and protect us from harm and dangers. Lord, deal with those who kill, steal, kidnap and carry out other wrongful acts against us.
Hear our cry, O Lord and attend unto the calls of your servants.
Lord, we thank You for who You are. We praise Your Holy name. In the midst of our circumstances, we honour You as the only true God because You are worthy of all praise, honour and glory. Be magnified, O God. You are truly exalted, in the name of Jesus Christ we pray with grateful hearts.
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.