The Prayer of Encouragement for 16 October
Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 16 October 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.
As you are aware, we have been dealing with the issue of forgiveness. I had decided to deal with the questions and concerns that come from you, our readers, even when they are not publicly stated. The feedback is being dealt with so that others can benefit. Today I will address something that was posed to me last week.
The concern is “What if you forgive a family member, co-worker or friend who hurt you but on a number of occasions there are triggers that remind you of the event, which make you feel hurt all over again?” In addressing this concern, it is important for us to be clear on the issue of forgiveness and what it really means for those who forgive, and are forgiven. I had defined forgiveness but let me further explain.
I find that forgiveness is a daily requirement. Once I relate to other persons, I need to forgive them for a number of reasons. They also need to forgive me. Vine defines forgiveness as a remission or cancellation of a punishment due to a sinful or wrongful act. Holman suggested that it means to “take away’” or “to pardon’” a sinful act.
Right now, the forceful issue that arises in my thoughts is conflict. Therefore, I will consider the issue of conflict and link it with forgiveness in this explanation. Vine defines conflict as a “contest”, “fight,” “struggle,” and, it may also be an inward struggle of the soul which usually resulted from an outward struggle (Hebrew 12:1; Philippians 1:30; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7). Some writers have suggested that conflict may be due to an impact from something or someone. You may recall the conflicts previously discussed between Paul and the Corinthians, Joseph and his brothers, Absalom and David, and Balaam and the donkey.
Conflicts of differing types happen in our relationships with God and man. There is an expectation in terms of the way I want to be treated by those persons with whom I relate. If that is not done, usually a conflict is created. If there is a difference in opinion, understanding, beliefs, values etc. a conflict can be created. There are times when those conflicts can lead to different types of arguments, which can get really hot, not just merely heated, leaving someone feeling hurt.
When conflicts are not adequately dealt with I walk away feeling unjustly treated and hurt. Now, I have to process the impact of that conflict, which includes the hurt that comes with it. Brethren, some hurts are deeper than others, and may stay longer. Depending on the environment, I realised that we may not always get an opportunity to express our feelings. Also, the other party may walk away not realising or even care that they have hurt us. Do we allow the hurt to remain unresolved?
There are times when I ignore and avoid conflict in its immediacy but I have to deal with it at some point in time. However, there are those that have to be dealt with immediately. I have to repeatedly forgive the same persons who I frequently relate to in every sphere of my life. It can be frustrating and discouraging. There is a saying that “We are creatures of habits”, so we automatically repeat the same behaviours over time. In a number of circumstances those behaviours cause hurt to us or cause us to hurt others. Hear me out. Destructive behaviours and words spoken must never be ignored but dealt with at the right time and in the right manner.
One more thing, forgiveness is a choice, which involves a process. It is during that process we deal with the healing and reconciliation. The time period depends on the type of hurt. It is about making a decision to pardon or cancel punishment for an act that was done to us. When that decision is made we have to stick with it regardless of the hurt being experienced. Please note that reconciliation with humankind is not always a possibility but it does not need to hinder forgiveness.
Our healing can take place through counselling by the Holy Spirit, a human counsellor, prayer and the Word of God. There are times when an apology helps but that is not always forthcoming. I find that when I receive healing from the hurt, I am at peace even if there are triggers or reminders. When I am not fully healed, the hurt can hit me like a force of wind. Then, I remind myself that I have forgiven the person. It may mean I have to keep reminding myself. I may cry, pray and seek the help of a fellow counsellor.
Brethren and Friends, when I think about it Christ suffered so that we may be forgiven. We can never suffer as Christ did when He was crucified for the remission of our sins. Yet, we may suffer at times, and have to forgive others so that God’s purpose can be accomplished. I recall the Apostle Paul’s encouragement to the Philippians to live a life worthy of the gospel, regardless of the challenges that they faced. He encouraged them to live in unity and boldness. He told them that’
“…whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.”Philippians 1:27-28 (NIV)
Does it mean that we will not have feelings of sadness and hurt? Does it mean that we will not be discouraged? No! Who expects that to happen? Remember, it is a process. It does not mean we lie down in the process like a stiff board. We are required to work through it using the right methods of intervention at the right time, setting ourselves and others free from pain, and tension.
Paul further stated that, it is not about merely believing in Christ that makes the cut as a child of God. We are also called to suffer for Him, for the sake of the gospel, which may involve some form of sacrifice.
“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.” (Philippians 1:29-30, NIV).Philippians 1:29-30 (NIV)
Jesus’ response to Peter’s question concerning forgiveness suggested an unending number of times to forgive his brother or sister who hurts him (Matthew 18:22). We have been repeatedly taught the Word of God. We have lively discussions. Some of us can repeat the Word. We have it in our heads. We have it written down. Yea! Yet, when we are required to live it, there is a tussle, which is saying to us that we need to connect living with the Word through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul admits that he experienced struggles. I raised my hand to say, I do. Nonetheless, we have to keep trying to strike the balance through the Spirit of God who lives in us. We have to deliberately remind ourselves that forgiving others is a Christ-like act. What do you have to say? Think…about it….
Let us pray
Our God and Father, we thank You for Your love. We thank You for grace. We thank You for peace. Lord, we thank You for sending Your Son to die for us so that we can receive forgiveness. We thank You for protecting us. We thank You for provisions. Thank You for our church and biological families. We thank You for our friends. We thank You for this new day.
Lord, we thank You.
Almighty God, we worship and honour You. We bless Your Holy Name. Lord, You are Awesome! You are the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. There is none like You.
Most Righteous God, we ask in the name of Jesus Christ that You forgive all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Out of the depths of the earth, Lord, we cry. Have mercy on us as individuals, communities and as a country.
Lord, have mercy!
Father, we hear about the spread of Covid-19 Virus in our communities. The one highlighted today is Rae Town. Lord, we ask for mercy! O God, we pray for national and community leaders that they will be effective influencers in the fight against the Virus. Help us as citizens to be alert, aware and responsible in our approach in dealing with this Virus.
Lord, have mercy! Lord, help us! Keep us safe and protect us from ourselves if that is what we need.
O God, grant to our business, church, community and national leaders the wisdom, knowledge, understanding, the boldness and courage to deal with the disaster and our economy.
Lord, we ask that You provide for us as individuals, families, communities and as a country. Have mercy and let not evil overpower us, but rescue and deliver us.
Lord, have mercy! Lord, help us!
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 remember also the judges in our congregation, Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie.
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 fight concerning Covid-19 becomes a tougher one for our doctors and other health professionals, and administrators. Therefore, we lift up each person and ask for a divine covering over them and their families. We remember the family of our Sister Rachael Dixon and others who do not wish to be identified. Lord, extend Your healing power to them. You know those persons who are vulnerable because of work or living space and those who expose themselves. So Lord, have mercy.
We remember 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; Jhenell 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, we also lift up for Your healing power our Sister Patrice Martin who is currently in the hospital and in need of blood donation. So we ask for Your divine healing, provision and comfort.
Lord, we pray for other countries in our region and the world at large. Lord, we pray for the hearts of people. Have mercy, Lord. Help them to make the right decisions concerning their lives and nations’ and turn their hearts to you.
Lord, we ask that You deal with every criminal mind that raises an ugly head in this country. Lord, take every scheme, plan and activity of crime and turn it to confusion. Arrest every heart and turn them to you. Let Your name be glorified.
Lord, we lift up our young people and pray for peace. Let them display courage, creativity and consciousness of mind in all that they say and do. So let Your blessing be upon them, Lord.
Lord, help us not to panic in the time of the pandemic but fill us with Your peace, and presence. Envelope us with Your love.
Hear O Lord and have mercy.
We give You 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.