Prayer of Encouragement, Voices of Youths, 2022

The Prayer of Encouragement for 11 December

Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 11 December 2020 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers.

My Brothers, Sisters and Friends we hope that you are well. However, if not, please let us know.

We continue to look at emotions and the way we respond to situations. In the last set of writings I spoke about the issue of fear with the experiences of the prophet Jeremiah as a main focus. Has anyone ever been unkind to you? How did you respond? You may say, hello, that is a regular occurrence.

In the last couple of weeks I have been making contact with persons from government, private sector and a number of other places, as it relates to the final arrangements for my father. I had certain encounters of unkindness. I will share some of them, as well as my responses. The first one was rather interesting and at the same time conflicting.

I went out-of-town to register my father’s death. He has to be registered in the parish of death. I went to the hospital where he died and was given a general direction to the Registrar of Births and Deaths (RGD) Agent. When I reached the gate, a female Security Guard was there. I told her where I was going. Her response was; “Wash yu han.” I looked across trying to figure out the how and where. She repeated in a stern voice, “Wash yu han.”  

I noticed that a health assistant was sitting on a bench with her. She pointed me to use the soap and a makeshift pipe. When I looked across I saw a dispenser that is usually used for sanitizing. I placed my hand for the liquid to come out. The Security Guard said, “A di soap that, wash yu han.” I proceeded to do as she required. She then said; “Dry yu han.” I noticed that there was a paper towel dispenser which was not working properly. I decided to leave it and turned my attention to her.

She instructed me to; “Go dung and yu see one glass door, go thru it.” I proceeded straight ahead. She shouted; “Mi say fi go dung!” I turned towards her with a confused demeanour. I asked her, down where? Her reply was; “down deh suh;” pointing towards her left. I looked at her and said. Are you telling me to make a left turn? I saw the glass door, and repeated; Okay, so you are telling me to make a left turn, thank you. I then walked towards the door.

When I reached the RGD Agent, she asked me for the medical examination certificate, which she dubbed the “cause of death.” I gave it to her. She then asked me for my identification (ID) and my father’s. You are also required to pay a small fee. All of those things are required for us to get the “Burial Order.” She was extremely kind and assisted me.

A note of information, the Burial Order is signed by the person who did the committal and you return it to the RGD Agent. Subsequent to that, they would process the Death Certificate, which can be retrieved through a similar process as your Birth Certificate.

After the opposite style of encounter with the RGD Agent, I proceeded to the gate with the same Security Guard. I asked her if I should walk through the same gate to get out. She said, “Yes.” I told her thanks and wished her a good day. Her response was, “Same to you.”

Brethren, my emotions could have boiled like a hot pot on a blazing fire on a Monday morning resulting in me telling the Security Guard what I thought of her delivery of service. However, it did not, thank God for His Holy Spirit who lives in me.

As I reflected on those experiences, I am reminded of the words by the writer of Proverbs as it relates to the way we respond to bad experiences. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:1-4, NIV).

Based on the words of the proverb, we may say that fire does not quench fire. If I had responded by cursing the Security Guard, things could have gotten ugly. If I spoke with her harshly and walked away, she would resent me or even curse me. Instead, I demonstrated a response by thanking her, and wishing her a good day. I give all of the credit to the Holy Spirit, trust me.

I must also say that I had to meet with the Senior Medical Officer (SMO) at the hospital about two weeks prior to the foregoing encounter. A Security Guard from the same company behaved in a totally opposite manner. I had to wait for over an hour to see the SMO and I saw the way she dealt with people. The nurse promised to call me when the doctor arrived but did not. I saw a doctor and felt it was him. So I asked the Security Guard and she said it was him. She also asked me if I wanted her to call him. I said yes and she went and called him for me.

If I did not have that experience, I could have walked away with a bad taste from that security company, and branded them in my mind. You know, this is also a lesson for us to carefully evaluate and assess before concluding. So it is important that we have an open mind and treat each situation in its context.

Brethren, I have been to a number of places, which I will share in the next couple of writings, and found that every client/customer is treated as a terrible person. I believe that the underlying issue is fear. It seems like the service providers are afraid of being bombarded or people being unruly so they try to drive fear into those who they serve. They make no distinction and place everybody on the same level. The Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to poor service delivery and coldness in some of the places that we do business. Should we find creative ways to be kind and offer good service? Each of us needs to check and see if we are doing the same. What do you have to say?

As we meditate on our own lives and the way we deal with situations and people, let us look to Our Father.

Let us pray,

Heavenly Father, we thank You for waking us up this morning in our right minds. We thank You for Your kindness, goodness and mercies. We praise, honour and glorify Your name. Lord, You are above all else, and are worthy to receive all of the glory. We thank You for Your love for us and Your faithfulness.

Lord, we ask that You forgive all our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Out of the depths of the earth, we cry out to You. Hear O Lord, and have mercy.

Lord, we thank You for our families, church, communities and country. We also thank You for our leaders of churches, private and public sector. Lord, we ask that Your hand of mercy and covering be upon us and our families. We ask that You will renew the right spirit in us. Lord, transform us into vessels of honour and help us to make the right choices for our lives, those of our families, and those whom we serve.

Lord, we pray for true wisdom, knowledge and understanding. We ask that Your guiding hand be seen and felt in the leadership of this country, and indeed world leadership.

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, leader of the opposition and their families; Jamaica Defence Force and Jamaica Constabulary Force personnel and Security Guards, all other leaders of government and their support staff.

Minister of National Security, Horace Chang and his team, as they fight the good fight to overcome the challenges we face each day. Lord, we put to You and ask for Your blessings on the Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck. We also remember the judges in our congregation, Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie

Lord, we also present to You the business leaders in our congregation:

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 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, the Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to positives for some persons but negatives for many. We pray that service is not compromised but creative ways are found for us to be kind and compassionate towards each other. Lord, show us the way because the way that seems right unto humankind may only lead to destruction. So we thank You for our health workers and ask that You strengthen them. Lord, cover them and their families as they continue in the fight against the Virus. Help us, Lord.

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; 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.

Lord, You see and know all things and there is nothing that You do not know, even what is to come. So we ask that You guide our individual paths. Help us not to be robbed or exploited in any way or form. Lord, protect our movements and shadow our pathways. Grant us peace in our troubled minds. Heal our broken spirit and mend our physical ailments.

Lord, we also ask that You take every community from the east to the west, and from the north to the south of this country and deal with the criminal elements at work. Lord, turn the hearts of humankind to you and grant the hope and peace that they seek. So help us to be the best keeper of our neighbours, and family members.

Lord, let your blessings, favour, covering and peace be upon us, and remain with us always. In Jesus’ name 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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