The Prayer of Encouragement for 13 June
Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 13 June 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 here on our website.
You know, we write the pages of our life’s story. We mainly do so without ink, and that aspect has more impact on those who are affected. It is what others see and experience as they observe and relate to us. It is not what we may try to pull together in our own words and through the lens of our eyes. Yes, there may be perceptions and understandings that lead to misinterpretations on our side as well as on the side of other people. Whether it is in our favour or not, it is what people see and experience that they hold to be true. Yet, it may or may not be the truth.
How do we ensure that the script written without ink portrays the correct picture? Do we have control over the script? Let me try to address this in terms of the progression of my life. I grew up in a family that was church focused. We had to attend church services and related activities. It was considered the most decent thing to do. My parents were very active in church and it was like a lifeline for us as a family.
There was also the national Youth for Christ organisation that gave us another perspective on life. I did not accept the Lord as my Saviour until long after leaving home. The truth is, I prayed the sinners’ prayer umpteen times prior to consciously and purposefully committing my life to the Lord. However, there were certain practices that I maintained, such as reading the Bible and doing daily prayers.
When I became a true follower of Christ, I felt like my lifestyle was shaky. I attended a few churches before basically settling down. I did not feel purposefully and personally nurtured, I felt thrown in the general pot of a Bible study and church service. There were times when we had small groups but they were highly opinionated and were the avenue for people to unload and socialise. This seemed to be a necessity. However, I noticed that people tend to sway into this kind of mode even when we try to form small groups that should seriously focus on studying the Bible.
The Lord took me through some experiences and I realised that it was time to take a new approach. I had to forget about blaming or solely looking to others for my growth and development as a follower of Christ. This took me on a mission to study the Bible; acquire as many tools as possible; buy books and read them; pray and fast, and build a relationship with the Lord. I relied heavily on the guidance and counsel of the Holy Spirit as I proceeded on my quest. I had an opportunity to do some theology courses during my last set of studies, and that was of tremendous help.
My eyes started to open more to God and the things that concern Him. It took a holistic approach to studying the Word, prayer, fasting, building a relationship with Him, understanding and carrying out His will, and developing an acceptable yet not perfect disposition. I had to make this approach a lifestyle but this was initially shaky for me. It required intensity in mode, focus, spending a lot of time with God and talking to Him. Then I had to learn to listen to Him.
The presence of God was frightening and literally scary to me, and very intense. I realised that this relationship needed to be constantly maintained and enhanced. I had to stay on top of things. Even then, I concluded that I cannot escape being subjected to judgment by others. I took the approach of being in training under God to unseat the demeanour of the self-righteous and perfect Christian. As my life is written without ink, I aim to please God above all else. I look forward to taking each step with humility under the guidance and counsel of the Holy Spirit.
May your life be one that brings a positive impact to the lives of your families and other people. May you be humble and consistent in thoughts, speech and deeds in all circles of life. And may the Lord, God Almighty bless and favour you always.
You know something else? As I reflected, I concluded that you can influence your script that is written without ink. I am taken to the story of two women in the Bible who had a great and rare opportunity to be leaders, Deborah and Athaliah. They operated from two different spectrums and were of two different backgrounds. Deborah gained leadership and Athaliah seized leadership, yet, one may say that they both influenced their script.
Deborah was a prophet in Israel (Judges 4:4). She was a judge and held court for persons to have their disputes settled (Judges 4:5). She referred to herself as “…a mother in Israel…” (Judges 5:7, NIV). The scripture said that the people of Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord and He sold them into the hands of King Jabin of Canaan. Sisera was the commander of his army. The Israelites cried out to the Lord for help (Judges 4:1-3). As a prophet and leader in Israel at the time, the Lord spoke to Deborah concerning the demise of Sisera. Deborah told Barak that the Lord was going to deliver Sisera into his hands.
Deborah told Barak “…The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor.” (Judges 4:6, NIV). The opportunity was for Barak to lead a great charge to help a great nation but his response to Deborah was “…If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” (Judges 4:6, NIV). Barak did not get the honour because he was not prepared to do as instructed. He sat in his chair of comfort. Deborah told Barak “Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honour will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” (Judges 4:9, NIV).
Just as the prophet, Deborah, stated a woman got the honour for killing Sisera instead of Barak. “But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.” (Judges 4:21, NIV). One could say that Deborah’s script saw her as compassionate, providing guidance to the people of Israel as she led. She was also a proven prophet because what she said came to pass.
Athaliah, on the other hand, was nurtured in the household of king Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Some writers are referred to her as a tyrant and vicious, obviously influenced by Jezebel. One could say, she took the behaviour of Jezebel to another level. Her son, king Ahaziah of Judah, was killed under the ruling of king Jehu of Israel (2 Kings 9:27-28). Athaliah was upset about what happened. She set out to kill the royal family members. She later took hold of the reign of Judah for six years (2 Kings 11: 1-3).
Something else happened. Unknown to Athaliah, one of the princes, Joash was hidden by his aunt so he did not die (2 Kings 11: 1-3). He later became king and took over from Athaliah (2 Kings 11: 12-14). When she realised what happened, she tore her robe and cried out “Treason, treason.” (2 Kings 11: 14, NIV) but nobody seemed perturbed. Instead, Athaliah was killed. They did not want her to be killed in the temple of the Lord so the priest ordered for her to be taken out (2 Kings 11: 15-16, NIV).
King Joash took a different approach and under the instruction of the priest set out to write a different script. It was not a perfect script but one that brought some amount of pleasure to the Lord (2 Kings 12). Based on the kind of life she lived, we also saw where Deborah’s script would have been pleasing unto God. Could Athaliah have changed the script that brought the influence of Ahab and Jezebel on her? What script are you writing without ink? “Think bout it, chat bout it” What are you going to do about it?
Let us pray:
Almighty God, we give You all of the glory, honour and praise. You are omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God. You are awesome and Your power can never be diminished. Lord, You are awesome. Words cannot satisfactorily describe You or accord to You the glory, honour and praise that You deserve.
Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, thanking You for sustaining us as individuals, families, communities, Churches, government, businesses and our country as a whole. We ask that You have mercy on us, cleanse us from all unrighteousness and make us worthy vessels in Your sight. Out of the depths, we cry. Hear O Lord and have mercy.
Lord, You see and understand the many challenges that we face but we are still grateful that through it all You continue to sustain us. Yet, there are those who feel the need to cause harm and destruction to others and themselves. Lord, have mercy and help us to be sober in all that we think, say and do. Let not evil rule over us. Turn the hearts and minds of humankind to You and cause it that we seek You wholeheartedly, looking to You as the author and finisher of our faith.
Lord, we remember those who are doing exams. We pray for Your guiding hand of coverage and the spirit of excellence, and strength upon them as they take the uncertain journey of life.
We stand against the spirit of suicide and suicidal ideation that has been showing its ugly head among our people. Lord, we lift up every household, parish and the general atmosphere of our country and ask for the eradication and demolition of such spirits from us. We take the east, west, north and south of our country and pray for a tearing down of the dark clouds of hopelessness and helplessness. Cover us with Your garment of praise, and lift us up with Your power of hope.
We lift up to You those who are still hurting and experiencing losses of all sorts throughout the world. We ask for Your divine mercy and provision. Lord, we pray for the hearts of world leaders, especially those who are currently meeting in the United Kingdom at the G7 Summit. Lord, grant the wisdom, knowledge and discernment that each leader needs. Also, cause it that they take a selfless approach in reaching out to and assisting countries that are vulnerable.
Lord, we pray for those of us who are followers of Christ. Help us to be true followers, and pull us close to You. Help us to seek, understand and do Your will so that Your purpose is accomplished through us. Cover us Lord and provide for us as we proceed. Open our eyes to see the plank that hinders us before we pluck something from the eyes of other people. Help us to develop the right posture before You.
As the psalmist prayed so we pray (Psalm 25, NIV):
“In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.
2 I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.
4 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.
8 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, Lord,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
12 Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.[b]
13 They will spend their days in prosperity,
and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The Lord confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies
and how fiercely they hate me!
20 Guard my life and rescue me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope, Lord, is in you.
22 Deliver Israel, O God,
from all their troubles!”
Lord, we pray for all leaders of 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 also remember the judges in our congregation, Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie.
Lord, we 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; Brother George Gabbidon, Brother Lloyd Trusty, Mr Alan Ashley (Sister Dawn Ashley’s father), Sister Jennifer Japp who mourns the loss of her father, Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr Isaiah Japp, Mr, Delorn Dixon (Sister Rachael Dixon’s husband),
Lord, we lift up to You our Brother Roy Reynolds and family who mourn the loss of a sibling, Brother Cornel Richards and family who mourn the loss of his mother, Mrs Eunice Richards; Sister Ann Logan and family who mourn the loss of her mother, Sister Jennifer Jap who mourn the loss of her father; and any member or family member who is in need of healing and comfort. So Lord, grant healing, strength and peace.
Lord, be a banner around us and fill each day with a new sense of hope, peace and compassion. Hear our cries for help and attend to our prayers we ask with thanksgiving in Jesus’ name.
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.