Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 12 March 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, I pray that you are well. However, if not, please send us your prayer request through this website. Please know that I appreciate your comments. You know, I consider it an honour and privilege to be a child of God. He has established His Kingdom above and beyond any that man has the ability or resources to create on earth. He is the King of all kings, Lord of all lords. His Kingdom reigns and will continue to reign through eternity. Yes, His Kingdom stands. We give Him all of the glory, honour and praise.
How are you really doing? It is a tough time for many of us, and the routine of staying clean of the Corona Virus and maintaining our distance is tiresome. Is it? There is the issue with whether or not to take the vaccine when it becomes available. There is the issue of caring for self and family. Then there is the issue of dealing with our illnesses and losses of different kinds, and the list goes on. Could it mean that our prayers must go on? And, our relationships with God must get stronger? You know, there have been times when I felt overwhelming emotions emerging, I looked to the Lord with a simple prayer, keep me, Lord. I closed my eyes and prayed, just keep me, Lord.
I pray that the God of all gods will be your shield, glory and the lifter up of your head. May He empower you to face the challenges that are ahead; may He satisfy your desires with those things that please Him so that you are renewed; may He renew your energy to take the journey; may He equip you with insight to make the right decisions; may He equip you with the grace for the journey, His peace, favour, love, strength and the resources needed. May He help your doubt; and may you trust that He is working things out for your good and His glory. May you respond to His will. Amen!
As I reflected on the passages that I found on my hill walk, I was amazed by the way the Lord used the lepers in 2 Kings 7. He provided for them first, causing them to discover the food and valuables at the abandoned enemy’s camp (2 Kings 7:5-9). He caused it that they did not contaminate the food or other valuables though they had a contagious disease, leprosy. The Lord made them clean, yet, there was no account of healing for them. I mean, power, power, God’s power… at work! Yea! That is why I praise Him! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
In our own limited capacity, we have profiles of how someone should look; how they should sound and where they should come from; what they should have; who they should be and where they should live in order for them to have our sustained attention; for them to be credible; for them to be in our space. We may laugh at, reject or ignore and mock those who divert from our profile. Yet, in the case of the lepers, God used them for His glory.
Do you remember Jesus Christ’s work here on earth and the type of opposition that He encountered? He came to earth as a recompense for a lost world. It was the next series of episodes in God’s plan (His second Covenant- the New Testament) for the redemption of mankind; that is, mankind who wish to be redeemed. He came to make things new. Amen!
Brother Matthew enlightened us to some of what Jesus faced. In particular, the feedback that Jesus got when He tried preaching in His hometown. He went “bac a yaad” after conducting a number of teachings.
Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offence at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his own town and in his own home.”Matthew 13:54-57 (NIV)
We may garner that Brother Matthew provided us with some insight into how Jesus felt about the way we treat someone or something that comes from outside of our local area. We may think that it must be better, even in the face of evidence to prove otherwise. Do not mention if it comes from foreign. If it comes off the plane or boat. Brother Matthew helped us to see, among other things, that at first people were amazed until the background, the appearance etc. started to discredit what was evident. This resulted in a belief that was misconstrued but held tight and right in the mind, so there was a rejection of anything that proved otherwise. Do you see how powerful the mind operates? Many people talk about a battle of the mind, wherein the devil is trying to circumvent what God has given us.
At the end of the day, when we surrender to the wrong voice, the wrong force, the wrong power, who loses? When we ignore what God wants, regardless of what He wants to do, and regardless of who He chose to use, who loses? Brother Matthew also tells us ”And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” (Matthew 13:54-58, NIV).
Do you remember what the lepers did? “Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.” (2 Kings 7:9, NIV). They got an insight into the way they were doing things and acted in a manner that was expected of them. They acted outside of self, and their thoughts and actions became the same, so there was…congruence. They did not stick to lips but with feet and hands, they moved into action.
What happened when they went to the palace? Can you imagine being approached by someone who is obviously contaminating? Our response may be “Laud, Laud, stay over that side; do not come near me.” We may not even wait to have a second look at them. We may even run away and have a shower to get rid of the thought of being touched by them or rub up with some alcohol.
Yet, the people at the palace gave them an ear. Remember that it was a time of famine in Samaria. The palace officials went and reported what they were told by the lepers. The palace responded positively by checking it out. They discovered that it was as told by the lepers and a nation was redeemed.
It reminds me of two sides of a coin. Each of us may be on one side or the other. At times we may be required to act and there will be times we are required to respond to an action; and the other way around. How do we know what to do when on either side at any point in time? Personally, I rely and depend heavily on the work of the Holy Spirit; and at times, I need to be patient and tell myself that God does things in His own sweet time, so I wait and wait; and for some things, still waiting. Brethren, it is important for us to discern what is the good will and purpose of God in each situation that we face; or we may lose… big time. What say you?
As we meditate, let us look to the Lord in prayer:
O Lord, O Lord, You are majestic! You are awesome in all that You say and do! O God, You are indeed awesome. Lord, You epitomize consistency. You are the perfect keeper of promises. Your love is unconditional and immeasurable. We extol, honour and glorify your name. Let the people praise You. Lord, let all of the people praise You. Cause it that nations become joyful and bless your Holy name.
Thank You, Lord, for this another day, one that You have created. Thank You for the many ways in which you have provided, protected and sustained us as individuals, families, communities, Churches and related associations; as businesses, leaders, health workers, and as a nation, as a whole. We are so grateful, Lord.
We thank You, Lord, for your redeeming power that we experience daily through your grace and mercies. Lord, we are so grateful for those harsh experiences that You endured prior to, and on the day that You gave your life for our sins. You were a man of a different kind, from a different place. Yet, You connected with all because You were knowledgeable of all humankind. O God, we stand in awe of You. We praise your Holy name. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Our souls magnify your name. You are awesome!
Father, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, asking that You have mercy on us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Create in us clean hearts O God and renew the right Spirit within us. O God cast us not away from your presence but renew unto us the joy of thy salvation, and grant us obedient spirits to sustain us.
Lord, we pray for our leaders in families, communities, Churches and related institutions, government, private sector, businesses, political directorate, the health sector, education and the nation as a whole. Lord, we ask for your mercy as we stand in the gap confessing every wrong decision, thought and action committed or inaction where there was the need to act. We also ask for your forgiveness and mercy. We ask that You provide insight, creative thoughts that are translated into effective and beneficial actions for those who we serve. So Lord, grant, wisdom and understanding to think and act selflessly within the different spheres of our authority.
Lord, continue to sustain our economies and provide for us as nations. Speak to the hearts and minds of those countries with more solid resources and cause it that they act selflessly, assisting especially the more vulnerable nations. Cause it that united institutions and organisations will become more influential in galvanising assistance for the lesser equipped nations, whether it has to do with the vaccine, economies, living conditions or otherwise.
Lord, we present those who have chosen the way of criminality and cover it up through legitimate businesses and political ventures. We ask that You circumvent their schemes and activities. Nullify their actions and cause it that their hearts and minds are turned to You for help and that You become the Lord and Saviour of our lives.
Lord, we lift up our local leaders in particular; leaders of churches and associations and related institutions, 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, 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.
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; Esther Reynolds (final year medical student). 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, help us to live according to your purpose. Fill us with your peace and presence. Cause it that your hand of power establishes the work of our hands. Help us to willingly assist each other, to be responsible in what we say and do. O God grant us peace, strength for each day and envelope us with your love 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.