The Prayer of Encouragement for 15 November
Brother Anjesh Zodge offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 15 November 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.
I have been looking at emotions and the way they impact others. My focus has been on the prophet Jeremiah. In the last set of writings I mentioned Jeremiah’s complaints and conflict in thoughts.
Jeremiah was called to be a prophet to the nations but the tasks involved warnings of doom and destruction. Some of the people did not want to hear what he had to say so they went against him. He kept going back to God complaining about the attacks and threats that he had to contend with from the people. There were times when Jeremiah even complained about God. We mentioned an instance when that took place in the previous writing (Jeremiah 15:16-19). The Lord corrected him concerning his response. At another time he said; “You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived. You overpowered me and prevailed….” (Jeremiah 20:7, NIV). Yet, in this instance, God chose to extend His mercy and not reprimand him.
As I reflected on Jeremiah, I am also reminded that he was not the only complainer. The Psalmist on a number of occasions, complained in a similar manner. Let us have a look.
Concerning mockery and insult:
“…I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me;” (Jeremiah 20:7, NIV). “Those who sit at the gate mock me….” (Psalm 69:12, NIV),
“Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long;” (Jeremiah 20:8, NIV). For zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me;” (Psalm 69:9, NIV).
Concerning use of the tongue:
“They said, “Come, let’s make plans against Jeremiah; for the teaching of the law by the priest will not cease, nor will counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets. So come, let’s attack him with our tongues and pay no attention to anything he says;” (Jeremiah 18:18, NIV). “Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy.” “They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows;’(Psalm 64:1, 3 NIV).
Concerning what his enemies said;
“Listen to me, Lord; hear what my accusers are saying!” (Jeremiah 18:19, NIV). “Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught because of what my enemy is saying, because of the threats of the wicked;” (Psalm 55:1-3, NIV)
“Should good be repaid with evil? Yet they have dug a pit for me…” (Jeremiah 18:20, NIV). “See how they lie in wait for me! Fierce men conspire against me for no offense or sin of mine, Lord.I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me. Arise to help me; look on my plight!” (Psalm 59: 3-4, NIV).
Concerning a request for God to avenge the wicked in anger:
“…Do not forgive their crimes or blot out their sins from your sight. Let them be overthrown before you; deal with them in the time of your anger;” (Jeremiah 18:23, NIV). “They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, hoping to take my life. Because of their wickedness do not[c] let them escape; in your anger, God, bring the nations down; (Psalm 56:6-7, NIV). You may also recall Jeremiah asking God not to deal with him in anger but asked God to deal with his enemies in anger; and not forgive them “Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure— not in your anger, or you will reduce me to nothing;” (Jeremiah 10:24, NIV); so did the Psalmist.
Brethren, you know what was also interesting? Jeremiah likened the word of God in him to fire. One could get the impression that his body was emotionally set ablaze. The word of God placed him in discomfort. It could not be contained, it had to be released. It sounded like holding our breath but no matter how hard we try, at some point it will escape. He said
But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”Jeremiah 20:9 (NIV)
The Psalmist, David, had a somewhat similar experience to that of Jeremiah. He seemed afraid to speak the wrong thing, so he neither said good nor bad. He tried to contain self but his thoughts burned within him. David felt there was no choice but to speak. He said
“I will watch my way and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.” So I remained utterly silent, not even saying anything good. But my anguish increased; my heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue.Psalm 39:1-3 (NIV)
Later he asked God for mercy, which suggested he said the wrong thing. He said to the Lord, “Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools. I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this” (Psalm 39: 8-9, NIV).
Both David and Jeremiah had words in them, one emerging from self- thoughts, whilst the other from what God said. David was trying to put a muzzle on his mouth and not asking God to do so. It appeared that Jeremiah had no choice. If he did otherwise, he would have experienced great discomfort. Yet, in another experience the same David asked God:
“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.”Psalm 141:3-4 (NIV)
I am also reminded of Jonah. He was told to “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.” (Jonah 1:2-3, NIV). He had the word of God in him to warn the people. Of course, Jonah ended up in a boat and they threw him overboard. What happened next? “Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17, NIV).
Jonah was physically caught in the current and waves of the sea.
“…From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.”Jonah 2:2-3 (NIV)
He was in an emotional and physical turmoil when thrown out of the boat, whereas Jeremiah and David were in emotional turmoil. One may say that Jonah smelt death; tasted death and was on the edge of death but God showed him mercy.
Brethren and Friends, we may get caught up in our own emotions. We may become stubborn and want to take a decision and move in a direction outside of God but these men who we looked at taught us that it may not be a good approach. They showed us that some of us may wrestle with the things that are of God, as well as those that are not of him. Jeremiah also taught us that the will of God can cause us to go through hardship. However, God showed Jeremiah mercy, and kept encouraging him. What is your takeaway? What is your approach?
Let us pray
Today’s prayer is led by Anjesh Zodge. Anjesh is a member of Grace Youth Ministry. He is slated to do a mini-sermon this morning. We pray God’s blessings upon him. Also on Nackeemi Smith and Romeo Elliott who will also do mini-sermons. Lord, in the name of Jesus, we pray that you empower, bless and cover them. Thank you Lord. Amen.
Great and Heavenly Father, we thank you for all you have provided us with, and all which you will provide us with, especially deliverance from these hard times which we are currently facing. You have kept us under your watch and in your hand during the times which you have chosen to put us through. Whatever reason you have Lord, whether it is to punish us, or teach us a lesson, we appreciate what you are doing, even though it may not seem nice on the outside, we cannot comprehend what you could be doing.
Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, asking that you forgive all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Lord, we would like to take a moment to pray for the leaders of the church. We ask that they will understand what you are trying to say to the people and spread the word to everyone.
We also pray for the leaders of the country, to stay strong and to continue persisting and ensuring that we keep up with the protocol concerning the Covid-19 Virus. Lord, we ask that you touch the leaders’ minds and hearts, to ensure that they continue to make the correct decisions for our country.
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. We also remember the judges in our congregation: Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie. Lord, help them to be the leaders our country needs at this time.
We also pray for Jamaica’s youth who will have to grow and withstand these times of protocol and little socialization. Give them the strength to survive and know that light is always at the end of the tunnel.
Lord, we pray for those on our sick and shut-in list; as well as Sisters Iris Lawrence, Lelith James, Jennifer Nicholson, Violet Campbell (Sister Sonia Dean’s mother), Virginia Muir, Marville (Cherry) Murray (Sister Iris Lawrence’s daughter), Janet Chen-Young, Joyce Bailey, Lucille Alexander, Jhada Graham, Ethlyn Atkins, Cherrie Lee, Brother George Gabbidon, Brother Cornel Richards, Mr. Alan Ashley (Sister Dawn Ashley’s father) and Andrew Robinson (Sister Claire Robinson’s son), Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr. Isaiah Japp, and any family member who is currently struggling with the Covid-19 virus.
Lord, we pray for your hand of comfort on Elder John Roomes and his family as he mourns the loss of his mother.
Lord, we ask that you restore those persons who were badly affected by the recent heavy rainfall. We ask that you help us to fix the roads so that those persons who have been displaced can be reconnected.
Lord, comfort the hearts and minds of those who are in distress and discomfort of all kinds.
These and many other things we ask, as we say thanks, 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.