Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 19 September 2021 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers. Deacon Burton owns the copyright to this post. We reprint here with her permission.
Hi Everyone, we continue to give God thanks for His goodness and mercy throughout these unusual times. We pray that you will experience His hand of healing and restoration in each situation that you face. If you need us to include you in our prayers, please let us know by posting your request here on our website.
I am really grateful to Almighty God for forgiveness. He is the one who truly forgives all of my sins and cleanses me from all unrighteousness. I may feel bad even when God has forgiven me. Yes, I feel sorry for my sins through contriteness of heart but I also need to accept His forgiveness. I hear people talk about forgiveness of self but I truly believe that the effect of the power of forgiveness and healing comes through an acceptance of forgiveness from God.
When I consider forgiveness, I reflect on the actions of our heavenly Father and the sacrifice of His Son. Jesus died so that I can be saved from sin. My sins are forgiven and I can experience eternal life. If I refuse to accept God’s forgiveness through His grace/unmerited favour then I am questioning the sacrifice of Jesus’ death on the cross.
I hear it from the apostle Paul’s writing when he talked about the value of God’s grace through Christ’s death. He said, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21, NIV). The Hebrew writer tells us that, “…he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” (Hebrew 2:17, NIV). Christ took on human flesh and dwelt among men to show the manifestation of God’s glory for the purpose of saving a world from being lost so that we can connect with the Father, to be at one with Him through grace.
The Hebrew writer also tells us what the blood of Jesus meant as it relates to the new covenant. “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrew 9:22, NIV). “But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.” (Hebrew 9:11-12, NIV).
We learn that the earthly priests did not have the power to use their own blood for cleansing and they entered into tabernacles that were made by humankind but Jesus’ actions were of a Heavenly/Spiritual nature.
What did the blood of animals do versus the blood of Christ? The Hebrew writer tells us. ‘The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Hebrew 9:13-14, NIV). Here we are told of an outward cleanness by the blood of animals versus inward cleanness by the blood of Christ which saves us from wrongful behaviours that lead to eternal death and make us vessels for His glory. Although there is an inward cleansing it affects the outward man! Wow!
Even then, Jesus did not come to abolish the law which was centered on works, what a person could do. He came so that through Him, the requirements of the law could be achieved, that is, by God’s grace extended to us, not by works. The scripture tells us what Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” (Matthew 5:17, NIV).
Christ took on many roles. One of those is a mediator. “For this reason, Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9:15, NIV).
You see, ‘… Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.” (Hebrews 9:24-25, NIV). Christ shed His own blood for our sins.
He forgives our sins once we confess and believe. “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10, NIV). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, NIV).
Do we just get up and become perfect and not sin? What if we sin? We are encouraged not to continue in our sin. The apostle Paul had this to say. “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2, NIV). Even then, Paul went on to say, “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34, NIV).
When we consider how much God has done for us out of His love (John 3:16-17), it blows your mind. If what God has done does not deeply connect with you then you may need to sit down and seriously consider it through the guidance and work of the Holy Spirit.
I have been assisting a number of persons who are trying to deal with the issue of forgiveness and it seems to be one of the most difficult pains to address. The first thing I consider is that God forgives us and He went through so much to do it by giving His life! Imagine that! His life! Yet we find it so difficult to forgive others.
I also discovered that it was not only about not forgiving someone but knowing what forgiveness means and understanding how to deal with it. For me, that was so true. A number of people have hurt me in one way or another. I mean some were deep, really deep. I realised that even when I said that I forgave them and moved on, when I saw the person again or they did something to me again, I felt hurt all over again. You know what I mean? I wondered about it, and it puzzled me.
You know, I am reminded of what Jesus tells us. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7, NIV). Then after further education and experiences with others and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I discovered that forgiveness is a choice, which requires a process. The choice requires a decision and the process deals with the hurt. At times some persons may have the opportunity to move on to reconciliation. However, this is not always possible but it does not hinder forgiveness.
Forgiveness does not mean that we batter the person. Forgiveness may not mean that the hurt will disappear in a flash. If there is an apology, we have to decide whether or not to accept it. If we accept the apology we allow ourselves to go through the healing, which in some instances we may require assistance to do.
What if the person does not apologise? Can we still forgive them? What do you think? I do not wish to carry around hurt. I need to be released. If forgiveness is what releases me, then I have a responsibility to myself to do so. Another thing, should there be consequences for my action even when there is forgiveness? This is another topic for later discussion but one that you can look at in the meantime. Think bout it, chat bout it. Decide what you are gonna do about it.
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, we thank You for this a new week, a new day. We thank You for Your grace and mercy extended to us each day. We thank You for sustaining us as individuals, families, communities, Churches and associations, government, and a country as a whole.
Most righteous Father, we come in the name of Jesus Christ acknowledging Your infinite greatness, Your omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence. We praise, honour and glorify Your name. We ask that You forgive all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, as we forgive those who wronged us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from all evil.
Lord, let only Your will be done in our lives as individuals and families, and in our communities, Churches, government and our country as a whole. Let Your kingdom come and let Your glory manifest among us.
Lord, we face so many challenges, losses, mental and physical pain and discomfort but we look to You as our Saviour and Lord. We look to You for positive changes in our circumstances. We ask that You cause our hearts and minds to be filled with compassion for our children, youths, families as a whole, communities and country as a whole.
Lord, we ask that You continue to stem the spread of the Covid-19 Virus and eliminate it from our country and countries throughout the world. Grant us the wisdom and knowledge to know what to do and give us the courage to do it.
Lord, You are the God who is ever-present. You see the work of evil around us: social defiance, robberies and murders, genocide and exploitations of all kinds. Lord, visit those people who are raging in this regard and turn their hearts towards You but turn those who refuse to so; and help us to live in peace and righteousness.
Lord, we lift up to You the leaders in our country. We pray especially for our church leaders; 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; the 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, help us to be good leaders and citizens. Grant to our leaders the wisdom, knowledge, understanding, courage and strength to do what is in the best interest of our country. Also grant creative strategies that will help us to rebuild and advance in products and services. Protect us, provide for us, and continue to guide our path.
Lord, we remember those among us who are not well, especially Deacon Loy Evans, Sisters Nicole Evans and Kadine Stewart. We also present to you those among us who are on the usual sick and shut-in list, as well as Sisters Iris Lawrence, Merle Braham, Valerie Smellie, Mary Clarke, Cherrie Lee, Lelith James, Jennifer Nicholson, Virginia Muir, Marville (Cherry) Murray (Sister Iris Lawrence’s daughter), Janet Chen-Young, Joyce Bailey, Lucille Alexander, Jhada Graham, Cherrie Lee, Merlena Hartley Roberts (Sister Nicole Roberts Mother), Sister Stacy Ann Zodge’s brother; Brother George Gabbidon, Brother Lloyd Trusty, Mr Alan Ashley (Sister Dawn Ashley’s father), Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr Isaiah Japp, Mr, Delorn Dixon (Sister Rachael Dixon’s husband), Brother Cornel Richards and family; and any member or family member who is in need of healing and comfort. Lord, grant healing, strength and peace.
Lord, we continue to keep in prayer Sister Jhenelle Black who has left for the United Kingdom (UK) to pursue further studies in Dentistry. We thank You for safe passage and Your favour as Sister Jhenelle settles in Wales.
Lord, remember our children, youths and others who have been returning to school. We ask that You protect their minds and sustain them. Lord, keep them focused and steer them away from the wrong internet sites. We ask that You cause the teachers and administrators to be more compassionate and actively involved in the education of our children and youths. Grant them wisdom, knowledge and understanding, the courage and strength to do so.
Lord, there are so many vulnerable and hurting hearts. Grant us the mental and physical strength to deal with each situation that we face. We pray that You will guard our minds and path. Fill our lives with Your power in the name of Jesus, we pray with thanksgiving.
Our Prayers of Encouragement are for everyone. Therefore, if you also need prayer or comfort, please contact us with your request. We would gladly share with you.