The Prayer of Encouragement for 17 January
Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 17 January 2021 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers.
My Brothers, Sisters and Friends, we give God thanks for another week. We thank Him for sustaining us through these challenging times of life. May He be the guardian of your mind, spirit and body. May He bless and keep you, causing His face to shine upon you always. If you or anyone you know requires prayer, please send us your request through the Grace Missionary Church (Jamaica) website.
I told you in my last writing that the foot journey has come to a close for now. I am still trying to sort out the repair of my car. However, my hill walk continues, for the exercise. You know, my walking partner and I were recently returning from our walk and her name-brand shoes started to fall apart. I mean bursting out. I saw two guys and borrowed a knife from them, I asked one of them to bore a hole in the top and sole of the shoe, cut a piece of the lace and use it to tie the shoe together. It worked for a while, then the shoe started to really pull apart. Yea, it did.
We were not far from home so I suggested that she take off the torn shoe, rest it under her foot and tie it with the lace. The lace was too short to do a proper tie. Oh my, that did not work. Anyway, it would make her look like she had a bad sore foot that could not hold in her shoe. I told her to take off the bad shoe, put the socks with the good shoe on top of the socks on the other foot. Then I thought that with socks on one foot and shoes on the other there would be an unbalanced feeling on her part so that idea was abandoned.
Thank God, another idea came to me. My pair of socks were thicker and more fulsome than hers so I gave them to her. She put them over her pair to provide a better cushion. She threw away both shoes and walked home in socks. Her socks were brightly coloured but mine was black so there was less attention to her feet. She insisted that my socks would be ruined but my response was that the protection of her feet was more important. I told her to throw away the socks when she got home. Additionally, we ended up losing time so I missed my massage therapy appointment which is done every other week.
As it relates to shoes, I also recalled another experience when someone needed a pair of shoes at a retreat. I had an extra pair which was too small for the person so I told her to break the back of it. She did not want it ruined. I told her that she was more important than a pair of shoes. In the end, they were ruined but they served a good purpose.
You know, I kept recalling the foregoing events in my mind. My thoughts took me to three issues. One has to do with John the Baptist’s teachings on love during the time he was preparing the way for Jesus’ arrival on earth. The second issue has to do with using something new or strong to mend the worn. The third issue has to do with perseverance. I will deal with the first issue today.
John the Baptist was the son of Elizabeth, who was the cousin of Jesus’ mother, Mary. I am referring to the same John who was ordered beheaded by King Herod as a compensation/gift to Salome, the daughter of Herodias. John the Baptist was considered by many to be a rebel and did not fall in line with the mode of the clergy in his time. He spoke the truth and ruffled a lot of minds. Yet, he was a teacher and had followers. In response to questions from the people who wanted guidance for living after baptism, “John answered, ‘Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.’” (Luke 3:11, NIV).
John was teaching the people to look beyond themselves and care for their fellow humankind who were in need. You may recall the account of Jesus’ teachings on the Mount of Olives. He taught the people many things, which included “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:42, NIV).
The other John, the apostle and disciple of Jesus also wrote along a similar path. He said:
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.1 John 3:16-18 (NIV)
Here John expanded on the teachings of Jesus and John the Baptist. He helped his audiences to get a grip on what it meant to love. It is not just talking or giving people a lecture but demonstrating love in our giving and caring. He went further to say that Jesus laid down His life for us, which far outweighs anything that we could give. John also points to a sacrificial love. Wow! It is not just about giving what we already have or can do without. Think about it. The shoes really cost me in comparison to the socks but I had other shoes. I did not consider either as sacrificial giving.
However, I recalled giving support to someone and one of my shoes literally fell apart. The sun was hot, and the ground was stony and hot. I stayed with one foot of shoe, to the laughter of many. I bear the heat and discomfort to my feet. They were sore. The person may not even recall that experience or knew how bad it was for me but it was a sacrifice. You know, I never regret doing it because it was for God’s glory. May we honour Him in all that we say and do. I am still trying and learning to do so even in these dangerous times of Covid-19. I encourage us to love and live to please and glorify our Father. What are your thoughts?
As you meditate, let us pray
Almighty God, we thank You for your love and the sacrifice that You made so that we can become your children. You have kept us through many trials and pain. You have been our shield, our glory and the lifter up of our heads. It is through You that we live and have our being. Lord, You sustain us through the nature that You have created, and we thank You. Lord, we thank You.
Merciful Father, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, asking that You cleanse us from all unrighteousness and forgive all of our sins. Out of the depths, we cry to you. Hear our cry, O Lord, and have mercy.
Lord, we pray for the leaders of our churches, associations and institutions; leaders of voluntary institutions and ventures; leaders of the private sector, political directorate and government.
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 remember also the judges in our congregation; Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie.
Lord, help our leaders to make the right decisions for the country, acting not in their own interest, but selflessly. We ask for your continued provision as You empower our leaders to effectively manage our economy. Lord, cause it that they exercise good judgement, acting with courage in all that they say and do.
We as, Lord, that You protect the physical and spiritual boundaries and borders of our homes, communities and nation. Lord, guard and protect all entrances from criminal elements and activities, diseases and evil influences.
Lord, we pray for those who are losing hope. Some of our youths are confused and trying to grapple with these unusual times. We ask that You be a banner around them. Lord, turn our hearts to You and instil your hope and peace in our hearts and minds. O Lord, grant us strength.
Lord, so many of us have lost loved ones. It is a difficult time but You are in control. You are still God of gods and Lord of lords. You still reign in our lives. Your strength is made whole in our weakness. You mend our brokenness. Thank You, Lord, that though youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, those who hope in You will renew their strength. You are our hope.
We pray for Sister Juanica Grant and her family who mourn the passing of her husband, Mr Norman Grant. We also pray for the family of our late Sister Elaine Lewis, Lord, and Sister Sharon Morgan who lost an uncle. Grief cuts deep and is intense but You give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak. Lord, provide them with comfort, hope and 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 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. We pray for healing, comfort and restoration.
Lord, fill us with your presence, power and peace as you envelope us with your love. We pray 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.