Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 14 February 2021 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers.
My Brothers, Sisters and Friends, we are hoping that you are well but if not, please let us know. You may post your prayer request to our website and we will include you in our prayers.
I thank God for His immeasurable, unconditional, faithful love. His love extends beyond my faults and weaknesses. Thank You, Lord God Almighty. Hallelujah! I pray that you will be strengthened by the power of God. May you know and embrace the fact that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God to carry out His purpose. In all of your experiences, may you feel His presence, power and love. May you be assured that He will never let you down because He is faithful.
In the last writing, I spoke about a friend who was full of energy and laughter, always ready to take on a task. She is at a point of tiredness and wants to get away from everything that is happening in her life. In assessing my friend’s situation, I was drawn to the prophet Elijah’s experience on Mount Carmel where He showed that there is only one true God with whom nothing is possible. Elijah demonstrated courage and boldness. He was fearless. He was fired up and even poked fun at the people’s gods who they faithfully worshipped (1 Kings 18).
One of the things that Elijah did was to kill the false prophets. One could say that king Ahab acted more like he was a reporter/journalist than a king. He gave his wife Jezebel a report of what happened on Mount Carmel (which I looked at in the previous posting). Jezebel’s attitude and behaviour were that of a king in operation (though operating by fact but not legally the king). Jezebel had a heart and mind that seemed to have arrived from a different place than that of king Ahab.
Jezebel stepped in and took things into her own hands, and proceeded to threaten Elijah.
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”1 Kings 19:1-2 (NIV)
The bold and courageous man of God who previously stood high and showed the people the one and only true God, lost his balance, his sense of focus. He lost his fighting strength. He lost confidence in God. His faith wavered. The same Elijah who was on fire for God, who proved the power and existence of God by setting up a big screen demonstration became fearful of Jezebel. Who was he fearful of? You heard it correctly.
The man of God, Elijah, allowed Jezebel to throw her words on his fiery attitude and put it out. The light went out of him and guess what? He picked up speed and ran for his life. “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there.” (1 Kings 19:3, NIV).
Brethren and Friends, imagine the effect Jezebel had on Elijah. He ended up in the wilderness and asked God to take his life. One may say that like my friend, he was tired and frustrated. He had enough. He wanted to be away from it all.
…while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.1 Kings 19:4-5 (NIV)
During the time, an angel of the Lord attended to Elijah by providing him with food more than once so that he could be strengthened. The angel seemed to have alluded to Elijah’s concern about his journey, that it was tough, it was too much for him.
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”1 Kings 19:7-9 (NIV)
The Lord met with him after he regained his strength.
My thoughts sent me to Jesus’ experience after he had fasted 40 days and 40 nights. He was hungry, of course, and the devil decided to tempt Him. After allowing him to make some stupid demands, one could say that Jesus let the devil know when enough was enough. So He demanded that he leave. Like Elijah, he was also attended to by angels of the Lord. “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him….” (Matthew 4:2-3, NIV).
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.Matthew 4:10-11 (NIV)
Do you realise that Jesus had enough of the devil’s stupid demands and dealt with him accordingly? Whereas, Elijah thought that it was enough, ran and asked God to take his life. What a contrast? Is Jesus teaching us to take a different approach?
One may say that Elijah had set up a public demonstration on Mount Carmel but the Lord set up a personal demonstration for Elijah to remind him of His power. It was showtime and the action was roaring, earth-shaking.
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.1 Kings 19:11-13 (NIV)
You may note that after the showtime, there was a gentle whisper. Imagine the hush…Elijah was in awe. Wow. Which do you think had a more powerful effect, the power of the wind, shattered rocks falling, the earthquake? Or that gentle whisper? Remember, Elijah had to pull his cloak over his face in reverence to God. Wow, the power of the Lord’s, whisper. Think about it. Wow. Wow. God is Awesome!
You know, after all of the running up and down, tiredness and frustration, the Lord sent Elijah back to do what He purposed. On Yeah! He even got a new assistant, Elisha. I am thinking that Elijah had a dripping anointing that was even in his very coat. He just threw the coat over Elisha and anointed him for service (1 Kings 19:19-20). Further reading will show that Elisha was also a forward plan. He took over from Elijah and begged for that coat, which he inherited. Wow. Wow.
Brethren and Friends, sometimes we may think that the journey is too much for us. We become tired and burnt out, and our energy and lights dim. Some people may want to go away where there are no more problems, to take a long break, or even want to die. Some may take their own lives. Guess what? One could say that running away from our purpose is not wise. The thing to do is asking God for mental and physical renewal. He will strengthen and revive us. A time of fasting and prayer is always an excellent approach, especially during these uncertain and unusual times. I am taking that approach, will you?
As you meditate, let us pray:
Almighty God, we thank You for another week. We thank You for your love, grace and mercy. Lord, we thank You for providing for us as individuals, families, Churches and associations, communities and as a nation. We are so grateful that in the confusion and turmoil that the world faces, your power and authority remain. You are an awesome God, filled with authority and power. We extol your name on high. We praise, honour and adore You. Hallelujah! Lord, You are Awesome!
Who can be compared to You? Who counsels You? You are infinitely Awesome! You are the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Oh God, we bless your Holy Name. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Glory to your name, Oh God! Hallelujah!
Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ asking that You have mercy on us as individuals, families, Churches and associations, communities and as a nation. Lord, we have fallen short so many times, we have done wrong in your sight. So have mercy on us. Forgive all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Out of the depths of the earth, we cry. Let your ears be attentive to our cry for mercy. If You O Lord kept a record of sin who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness. Therefore You are feared. Yet, it is because of your compassion that we are not consumed. Great is your faithfulness. Thank You, Lord.
God of provision, we ask that your mercies continue to flow in our lives. We also pray for our leaders of families, communities, churches and associations, businesses, workforce, government and the political directorate. Lord, we ask for your divine intervention to reconstruct our mindset, the framework within our minds to operate according to the needs of the times that we face.
We pray for boldness, consistency, dynamic thinking and attitudes, renewal of mental and physical strength and energy. Cause it that we act selfishly taking the concerns of each other into account. Lord, also help us to be responsible in our attitudes and behaviours. Sustain our economy, our security, health and education system. Provide for us. Show us the way we should go and cause it that we walk along that path. Help us, oh Lord.
We pray especially for 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 pray for those who are leaders of criminal activities. Nothing is hidden from You, Lord. So identify and deal with every criminal mind and intent. Also, let there be confusion of criminal plans and activities. Diminish the resources for every criminal activity. Hold each person responsible and accountable, and turn every heart to You.
God of compassion and peace remember those who are hurting and mourning especially Sister Jennifer Blake and who lost her mom and Elder Linley Reynolds who lost a cousin. So we ask that You be a banner of strength around them, and fill them with your peace.
Jehovah Rapha, remember those among us who are on the usual sick and shut-in list, as well as Sisters Iris Lawrence, Sister 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, Ethlyn Atkins, Cherrie Lee, Brother Lloyd Trusty, Brother George Gabbidon, Mr Alan Ashley (Sister Dawn Ashley’s father), Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr Isaiah Japp, Mr, Delorn Dixon (Sister Rachael Dixon’s husband) and any member or family member who is currently struggling with the Covid-19 virus, Mr Lyn-Cook (Sister Marcia Lyn Cook’s husband). So we pray for healing, comfort and restoration.
God of love, there are many who seek love in the wrong places or look for love in the wrong things. Therefore, we ask that those hearts will seek for the ultimate and everlasting love in You. Comfort our hearts, and fill us with your presence. Surround us with your banner of love so that we can fall into your embrace. Help us to not just seek love, but learn to love self, to give love and love You. Cause it that love of Christ shines through us, especially in these times where distancing is required.
Hear our prayer O God and be attentive to our supplications. 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.