Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 2 April 2021 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers. Deacon Burton owns the copyright to this post. We reprint here with her permission.
My Brothers, Sisters and Friends, we are hoping that you are well but if not, please let us know. Just a reminder that if you or anyone you know is in need of prayer, please let us know. You can post your prayer request here on our website.
Today, I am so thankful to God, my Father, for sending His Son, the Christ. I am particularly amazed by the approach that my Father took so that I could have the opportunity for eternal life. I am saddened by the role that religious leaders had in accusing my Lord, causing Him to be handed over for punishment. They were part of the crowd that rejected Him.
Yet, I am deeply touched by the process, which involved the journey that my Saviour (Jesus Christ) took to the cross, to be crucified. He was rejected and mocked, He was jeered, beaten, bruised. He bore my sins, He died on a cross. You know, I felt special knowing that He poured out Himself for me, that He gave up everything to ensure my safety, safety from the paws of the evil one, Satan. Oh God, I am so grateful that you remained faithful.
I pray that the Lord will open the eyes of your mind to see the depth of love that God the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit poured out for you. I pray that He will soften the hardness of any part of your heart (where there is a need for this) that has not connected with Him as Father, Saviour, Lord, Counsellor and Empowerer. May you spend time in renewing, building and maintaining the foundation of faith through His Word, and the many other ways that He wants to connect with you on a daily basis. I pray that you discover His love more and more each day, through new experiences.
May you then recall the way God demonstrated His love for you in the past. May you be enlightened to the fact that His greatest love was an injury-packed, personal, mental and physical sacrifice. This involved the giving of His life so that you may have an opportunity for eternal life. May you be blessed and favoured, and may you understand what that means.
As I reflected on the way Jesus Christ has poured out His love for us, I am reminded of one of the passages of scriptures that the Lord showed me on my hill walk. The one that I am referring to has to do with the widow and the olive oil (2 Kings 4: 1-7). According to the scripture, the woman’s husband was a prophet. She was in financial distress and was worried that her two sons could be taken into slavery as compensation for debts owed by her late husband. She told Elisha about her challenges.
Apparently, during those times there was a set of prophets who were called the company of prophets. I still hear that term being used among Christians. Elisha was among the company of prophets but his ministry (and some others) was singled out and accounted for in the scriptures. He was the successor of Elijah’s ministry (1 Kings 19:15-16).
You may recall when Elijah indicated that he was the only prophet of the Lord left because he thought that Jezebel had killed off the rest of the prophets (1 Kings 18:22). Elijah did not know that Obadiah, another servant of God, who was an employee of king Ahab (husband of Jezebel) hid and maintained 100 prophets of the Lord in caves (1 Kings 18:4). Elijah had also indicated that there were 450 prophets of Baal. As we were told, they were false prophets who were serving a false god (1 Kings 18:22-39).
The work of the Lord’s prophets seemed to have been a challenging one because they worked against powerful oppositions. The husband of the widow, one of the Lord’s prophets, had other challenges before he died. The man of God left his family in a crisis. We may ask, how could God who owns everything allow that to happen to the man and his family? This was a man who served God, who as the passage told, revered God (1 Kings 4:1).
I am diverting a little to tell you about an experience that I had yesterday. I went to do a transaction at a bank. However, I thought that the bank would have opened at 8:00 am. Instead, it was scheduled to open at 9:00 am. I noted that two people were there before I arrived. A church sister from another fellowship was on her way to work. I called her and we started a conversation. She was telling me that her daughter was robbed and this was important but I heard the security opening the bank door. I told my church Sister that I needed to go because not everyone is honest.
When the bank door opened, a woman who came on the scene long after a number of us who were waiting, barged in ahead. I went in and stood at the front of the line. The other two persons who were waiting before I arrived, along with the same woman, went to the three available bank tellers. In contrast, while I was in the line waiting, another lady said to a man behind her that she came after him so he stepped ahead of her. However, within a minute or less I saw the lady who barged in, retreated from the teller and stood at the side. The teller rang the buzzer and I went to be served. I said for the same woman to hear that God works this out.
What is the relevance of my experience? It is a simple experience but let us not lose sight of the principle of the lesson that can be learnt even in ‘simple city.’ There are times when it seems that we have lost out. The fact is that there were exactly three tellers (unknown to those of us outside of the bank) working that morning. There were two people ahead of me, so I should have gone directly to one of the tellers instead of waiting in the line. Most business places were closing at 12 noon because of the government lockdown orders, and I needed to run a few errands that morning. You know, God stepped in and I was restored to my position at the teller.
The widow’s husband had poured out into the work of God and he died leaving his family in a financial crisis (1 Kings 4:1). This woman saw in the eyes of her mind, her two sons being taken into slavery for compensation and it must have frightened her. She lost her husband and could lose her sons. The very thought must have been devastating. Yet, God took her focus back to Him, and she saw Elisha. The man of God responded. “Elisha replied to her, ‘How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?’ ‘Your servant has nothing there at all,’ she said, ‘except a small jar of olive oil’” (1 Kings 4:2, NIV).
The widow thought that all was lost. She concluded that there was nothing of great value in her house. Yet, no matter how small her valuables, Elisha knew the God he served. “Elisha said, ‘Go around and ask all your neighbours for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side’” ((1 Kings 4:3-4, NIV).
Importantly, the widow responded in a positive way to the man of God. She was obedient to his instructions. Sometimes we do not follow God’s instruction, so we get left behind. “She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, ‘Bring me another one.’ But he replied, ‘There is not a jar left.’ Then the oil stopped flowing” (1 Kings 4:5-6, NIV).
The widow’s husband poured into the work of God but left them in a crisis after his death. However, God through His prophet Elisha poured back into that prophet’s family and they were restored. “She went and told the man of God, and he said, ‘Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left” (1 Kings 4:7, NIV). She got a business out of a small bottle. This was no work of a genie appearing from a bottle. It was the Almighty God at work.
Jesus Christ poured out His life unto death so that there is an opportunity for a lost world to be restored. This affects you and me and the choices that we make. Most of all, it affects our understanding of what that means to us, as believers. What say you?
As you meditate, let us pray:
Heavenly Father, we thank You for the opportunity for restoration. You have poured out so much for us. We are grateful. You love us so much. You gave your Son as a substitute for our sinful acts. Oh God, You bore it all for us. Yet, at times in our own challenges, as the Psalmist cried, we cry, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but You do not answer, by night but I find no rest.” (Psalm 22:1-2, NIV).
Your Son, Jesus Christ, made a similar cry. “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) (Matthew 27:45-46, NIV).
Father, You turned away from Your own Son to help a lost world, to protect us. Yet, so many people are confused and misled about You. Today, we reflect on Your selfless act. We acknowledge that there is no way that we could bear what Jesus Christ bore for us. Our minds do not have the capacity to even understand it, except through Your revelations. Even then, some of us still have not gained insight into Your act of love nor appreciate it.
Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ asking that You have mercy on us as individuals, families, Churches and associations, communities, political representatives, and leaders of our nations. Out of the depths of the earth, we cry Lord. Let Your ear be attentive to our cry for mercy. If You O Lord kept a record of wrong who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness.
Lord, forgive all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Cause it that we will once again experience joy and happiness in our homes, communities, Churches and country as a whole so that You are glorified.
Lord, equip our leaders to think creatively, act with true wisdom, selflessly, boldly and courageously in pursuit of the tasks they are called to bear. We pray for honesty, transparency and accountability among all leaders of families, communities, Churches and associations, businesses and government. Lord, give them the strength to do and say what is in accordance with Your will for us as a country.
Lord, we pray especially for our health workers and other frontline workers who are most exposed to the Covid-19 Virus. We ask for a special covering and protection over them and their families. Fill them with patience, compassion and peace. Strengthen them.
Lord, we pray for our citizens. Cause it that our workforce, and communities and wider citizenry act responsible and honestly in the way we conduct ourselves. Lord, have mercy on us and protect us. We pray that the vaccine will not bring harm to the bodies of those who take it. Lord, have mercy.
Lord, we pray that You protect our borders from wrongful mental and physical influences. Cause it that we are not placed under pressure to accept what is not right in your sight. Lord, sustain the economies of our families, communities, Churches and association, and country.
Lord, protect us from the wiles of evil through criminal and other acts. Nullify the plans, resources, network and desires of criminal pursuits, Lord. Turn the hearts and minds of people to You. Help us to trust in You, knowing that You will never leave, nor forsake us. Help us also to act with soundness of mind and with good judgement.
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, 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.
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.
We also pray for the 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; Jhenelle 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, comfort those who mourn losses of different kinds. Cause it that they feel Your presence like a banner of love. Fill us afresh each day and attend unto our prayer, as 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.