Prayer of Encouragement, Voices of Youths, 2022

The Prayer of Encouragement for 18 September

Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 18 September 2020 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers.

My Brothers, Sisters and Friends we hope that you are well but if not please let us know. 

Today, I am led to look closer at the issue of forgiveness as it relates to family. You may recall that some weeks ago I mentioned being attacked by bees. I indicated that my mother contributed to the nesting of the bees because she had a lot of things that could be thrown away. I was clearing them away when the attack occurred. She laughed at me and I became angry because I am allergic to insect bites. She subsequently apologised and I forgave her.

Brethren, if you think that was the only time I had to forgive my mother, think again. I have to do so a number of times. I recall as a child I threw some oil on one of my brothers, and my father gave me a beating. It was the only time that he beat me. I have also had to forgive them for things they have said and done to hurt my feelings.

The psychologist will tell you that in the family dynamics there are unwritten rules that evolve over time, even as the family contends with changes that are impacted by internal and external forces. Each family can be seen as a unit and within that unit there are sub-units. 

There are preferences, personality traits, expectations, behaviours, beliefs, values and understandings that operate within the family unit. The way these play out in relationships may have to do with inherited traits (genetics) or socialisation (nurturing).

We learn how to relate through the parent/child sub-unit. We also learn how to respond to rules and authority. In the siblings sub-unit we learn to build relationships with those at our peer level. In the spouse sub-unit we learn how to be self-less. Of course, we learn other things through all of those sub-units. We can either accept or reject the ongoing process of learning that each unit offers. In this process, we may realise that forgiveness is always required of us. Based on my experience, when we reject the process of forgiveness festering occurs, and we harbour bad feelings towards each other as a result. Those feelings can be like a mountain of “pus” that needs to be released and allow healing to take place.  

One of the Scriptures in the Bible that came to mind concerning the process of forgiveness in families has to do with King David and his son Absalom. This has to do with the parent/child and siblings relationships. Absalom’s anger emerged because his sister Tamar was raped by his half-brother, Amnon, who claimed to have been in love with her. He rejected her afterwards. She had pleaded with Amnon:

“… Please speak to the king, he will not keep me from being married to you.” But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her. (2 Samuel 13: 13-14, NIV). Afterwards his love for her turned to hatred. Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her “Get up and get out!” (2 Samuel 13:15, NIV).

Absalom’s initial response was to be quiet about it. David, on the other hand, was furious.

When King David heard all this, he was furious. And Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad. He hated Amnon because he had disgraced his sister Tamar.

2 Samuel 13:21-22 (NIV)

However, Absalom’s feelings festered, because 2 years later

Absalom ordered his men “Listen! When Amnon is in high spirits from drinking wine and I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon down,’ then kill him. Don’t be afraid. Haven’t I given you this order? Be strong and brave.” So Absalom’s men did to Amnon what Absalom had ordered…

2 Samuel 13:28-29 (NIV)

Meanwhile, Absalom had fled. (2 Samuel 13:34, NIV).

You may note the trend where Absalom got his justice through destructive behaviours. Absalom was eventually allowed to return home but was not able to see David. He got the attention and assistance of David’s servant, Joab, by ordering his men to set Joab’s field on fire (2 Samuel 14:28-32, NIV).  Absalom told Joab that he wanted to see the king. 

“…Now then, I want to see the king’s face, and if I am guilty of anything, let him put me to death.” So Joab went to the king and told him this. Then the king summoned Absalom, and he came in and bowed down with his face to the ground before the king. And the king kissed Absalom.

2 Samuel 14:32-33 (NIV)

Absalom later conspired to dethrone David, who had to leave the palace (2 Samuel 15). Absalom was able to pull a critical advisor from David, Ahithophel, into his camp. This man was held in high esteem.

Now in those days the advice Ahithophel gave was like that of one who inquires of God. That was how both David and Absalom regarded all of Ahithophel’s advice.”

2 Samuel 16:23 (NIV)

In a very disgraceful manner, Absalom used David’s concubines to prove that he was not in support of him. He acted based on advice from Ahithophel (2 Samuel 16:15-22, NIV).  He even advised Absalom to kill David, but there were men in Absalom’s camp who were loyal to David. So the plan was forfeited (2 Samuel 16:15-22, NIV). Absalom used Ahithophel to get to David. You may note that Ahithophel also used Absalom against David, but was unsuccessful. Ahithophel was disappointed to the point where he hanged himself (2 Samuel 17:23, NIV).

Absalom’s advisor took on the role of father, influencer and God in his life. In the end, Absalom died (2 Samuel 18:15, 33, NIV). David wept due to the loss of his son.

The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”

2 Samuel 18:33 (NIV)

He experienced brokenness.

We see significantly impaired relationships among siblings and parents because the injustice in the unit that was not adequately dealt with by the leaders in that family. This led to a festering of anger resulting in revenge and murder. Do you see anything else? I am thinking that there was a lack of forgiveness. 

David did not deal with Amnon. Absalom’s anger escalated from that time. His anger was passive. This resulted in broken relationships. David tried to reconcile with Absalom but he waited too long after Tamar was abused. Absalom ended up seeking support from the wrong person who neither meant Absalom nor David any good.

Brethren, the truth is that we are regularly surrounded by conflicts in families. However, the way we manage them is very important. When we do not manage them well, we can end up with domestic violence of different kinds. There are times when both men and women suffer silently.  Forgiveness is one of the keys that every family needs in their bunch to open and keep a healthy home. Forgiveness is continuous. We may or may not realise that there is a lack of forgiveness in our families. 

Shh…quiet your thoughts and remember that it is people who make up the families and the way we function in those units can affect the way we relate to outsiders. I pray that the Holy Spirit will help us to see this, and help us to deal with it. May God’s grace and mercy be with us as we continue to allow His search light in our lives with the aim for us to grow and achieve His purpose.

Let us pray:

Almighty God, we thank You for your grace and mercy. Lord, we forget not Your benefits. We thank You for sending Your Son who died for our sins so that we can be forgiven and reconciled with You, our Father. Lord, we thank You for keeping us every day of our lives. We thank You for keeping our country, in particular, our families, leaders in government, churches and businesses, and our citizens. Lord, we thank You for providing for, and protecting us. We thank You for taking us through what many may call one of the most challenging times of our lives.

Lord, we thank You

Most Righteous God, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, asking that You cleanse us from all our transgressions and iniquities, and forgive all of our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lord, there is a new set of parliamentarians and cabinet elected to lead us in the next five years at most. We lift up Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the members of his Cabinet who have acquired the opportunity to lead us. Lord, help them to understand that it is a privilege to lead and You have the ultimate right to put them up and take them down. We know that You know the heart of each leader.

We ask that You cause each heart to turn and look to You as the Lord and Saviour of their lives. Lord, cause it that they do not rely on their own understandings but allow Your leading in all that they say and do. Lord, cause it that there be transparency, accountability and humility among them. Grant the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that each needs to carry out their roles and responsibilities. Lord, grant them strength, courage and boldness, always steering them towards actions that are in the best interest of our country.

Lord, we pray for healing among those in the main opposition party. We ask that there be unity and selflessness, and that though small in parliamentary representation, they will become effective.

Lord, we pray for the leaders and staff of the Ministry of Health and related agencies and bodies who are fighting the battle of the Covid-19 virus.  We ask that You protect each person, and grant them the strength to persevere, compassion and peace. Lord, help their families to cope with the changes that have been taking place.

Lord, we lift up every country in the world affected by a multiplicity of disasters during this year. We ask for mercies, Lord. Turn the hearts of people to You as You heal physical and emotional hurts, and diseases.

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 remember those who are trying to survive in business. Grant them the will, wisdom and resources to proceed.

Lord, we pray especially for the 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, help our churches to find our way in the midst of Covid-19 and make our mark within communities and at a national level. Help us to rely on the lead of the Holy Spirit as You cover, protect and provide for us.

Hear our cries, O God

Lord, we ask that You take every community, every parish in this country and identify every bike rider, car driver, truck driver, walk-foot criminal and ensure that they are held accountable with hard evidence.

Lord, we lift up to You the Ministers of Justice and National Security, and their staff. We also remember the judges in our congregation: Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie.

Have mercy, O God.

Lord, we lift up the confused, hurting and angry at this time. We ask that You cause us to find hope and peace, and healing in You.

Lord, grant us peace, O God.

Lord, help us as a country to act responsibly, be our neighbour’s keeper and walk humbly with You. We ask all these 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.

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