Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 2 May 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. However, 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.
I am extremely grateful to God for guiding and directing my path. Lord, I thank you. I consider it a privilege to be His child and to have a defined path in His kingdom. There are times when confusion wants to intervene giving me all sorts of direction but I am happy for the guiding hand of my God. I am assured of who I believe and in what I believe. I am assured that the God who I serve is alive. He is not like other gods who have hands but cannot move; feet but cannot walk; eyes but cannot see; neither can they utter a sound from their throats.
I am thankful that my God keeps and maintains me throughout life. My relationship with Him did not immediately and consistently blossom and flourish. I have encountered rocky patches along the way. When I did not get the nurturing that I needed, I sought it. He kept showing me where to go and what to do, and very importantly, the how. Yet, my life is still in progress.
As I take this journey of life, more and more I realised what it means to be crucified with Christ. It means that I surrender self to Him to do the work that He chose for me. Now, I do not live by myself but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life that I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Therefore, I am trusting in his faithfulness as I take the rest of life’s journey, always aiming to please Him.
I pray that you will take the time to reflect on who you are in Christ, and what you believe; that you will not be confused about who God is; that you will allow Him to guide and direct your journey; and that you will positively respond to His will and His way. May He bless and keep you, and may you be a light in the paths of darkness and confusion.
You know, I went on the hill walk the day after I got back a car, When I reached close to where I would normally turn back, I saw a young man leaning against his car. This is not the picture that I would have seen on other occasions. I was led to stop and have a conversation with him. I asked him if he was okay. He said, “Yes;” with a smile. I repeated the question and he assured me that he was okay. Even then, he thought that I was concerned about him. I assured him that at times people may come on the hill to walk, clear their heads etc. He said that he was waiting to pick up someone.
I asked how he was managing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. He said that things were basically going well. He spoke about his family and I told him about losing my father. I heard Christian music playing in his car so I asked if he was a born-again Christian. He said “Ish.” I briefly related the encouragement that Romeo, one of my young people, did on the third Sunday of last month. It had to do with compromise. In particular, I spoke about either being with God or against Him.
He said that he heard a voice or something at times that he interpreted to be God directing and convicting him. I spoke with him about the nature of God. God by nature reveals Himself but as a Spirit. We are made spiritual and physical beings. So there are needs of the physical being, which we readily respond to and satisfy. We also have spiritual needs and people chose many ways of responding and trying to satisfy those needs. There are people who say that they are relating to god but it is not the true God. Some people may speak to the universe, trees or some object created by man in their quest to satisfy their spiritual needs. I prayed for him and blessed him. I was led to affirm him so I obeyed.
Eventually, I asked him for his name. Guess what? He and my father share the same first name. I related that information to him, and he laughed. I bid him goodbye and blessed him again. As I was about to depart, I looked at the back of his car and realised that it was very similar to the one that I acquired the day before. The difference was the colour of both cars. What do you make of those things? For me, I take it that the Lord gave me two critical reminders of the young man so I continue to pray for him, as the Lord leads me.
As I reflected on my conversation with the young man and the way people understand and worshipped idols instead of the true God, I am reminded of the way people committed themselves to Baal worship. One could say that their souls were sold out to Baal. Some of them were confused, followed tradition, born into it and accepted what was happening at the time. You may note that it seemed like a lot of those who led them astray had great wealth. At times, people were defined by wealth and status, as we are today, so it was very attractive and comforting to be on the side of those who worshipped Baal.
Yet, even with much humankind wants more, and keeps wanting more. This was seen when I looked at the issue of king Ahab yearning and in distress because he liked and wanted the one vineyard that Naboth had which was in his family for generations (1 Kings 21). Of course, Naboth was set up and killed and his property seized because he refused to sell it. We learned from that same passage that the prophet Elijah prophesied against Ahab and his family.
You know, I am of the assurance that nothing is hidden from God. Everything is bare to His eyes. He pays those who do wrong in one way or the other so Ahab and Jezebel, and their sons experienced their payments. It did not stop there.
The Lord continued to use Jehu who he raised up as king to fulfil prophecies against Ahab, Jezebel and the rest of his household, as well as those who worshipped Baal. It is tough to reflect on the way those persons (outside of Ahab’s household) were eliminated under Jehu’s leadership. They were called to the shrine to prepare for sacrificial giving to Baal but they were totally eliminated.
“As soon as Jehu had finished making the burnt offering he ordered the guard and officers “Go and kill them, let no one escape.” So they cut them down with the sword. The guards and officers threw the bodies out and then entered the inner shrine of the temple of Baal. They brought the sacred stone out of the temple of Baal and burned it. They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people used it for a latrine to this day.” (2 Kings 10:25-27, NIV).
Imagine that, the place of worship which the people revered is now used as a toilet. “Wow!”
You see, the Lord has given us certain instructions to worship Him and not idols; to live for Him and have a relationship with Him and our fellow humankind, and govern the earth. Yet, there has been great disobedience; which involved practices that included the throwing of babies into fire as a sacrifice for Baal (Jeremiah 19:5). Up to today, people sacrifice their family members as part of their “religious” requirements.
God also made provision for those who disobey, which include consequences that are harsh. The harsh consequences led some people to say that God will not do such things, and there is no hell. Some people say God is wicked. At times, we avoid those concerns and not speak to them. So many people are left in a quandary. Some people are of the view that He is only a God of love but He is also a God of justice. Even then, He extended Himself by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to help us because of ourselves, we would have a hard time fulfilling His commands. It is because of this, we heavily rely on God’s grace, His unmerited favour. Thank God for His grace and mercy. What say you? Where are you in your relationship with God? Chat “bout” it.
As you think, let us pray:
Almighty God, we honour and adore You. We thank You for Your grace and mercy. Lord, our souls bless You and glorify Your name. It is You who has forgiven all of our sins and healed us. Lord, You save our lives from destruction and crown us with Your loving kindness and tender mercies.
Heavenly Father, have mercy on us. Dear God, at times we worship idols but not realise that this is happening. Examine us through Your Holy Spirit to recognise and move away from those things that get in the way of our relationships with You and what You want to accomplish through our lives. Lord, have mercy on us and forgive all of our sins. Keep us from willful sins. May they not rule over us. Hear us, O God, we pray.
Lord, as individuals, families, communities, Churches and a country as a whole, we ask for your mercy on us. Lord, so many times we have been selfish in our dealings. We have been merciless, lacking compassion for others. We have been greedy, wanting more and not been satisfied. Some of us kill or try to destroy other people’s lives to satisfy ourselves. Lord, have mercy. Oh God, have mercy.
Lord, we also pray for those in other countries who do not know the distinction between idols and the only true God. We pray that the hearts of humankind turn to you, understand themselves. Lord, help leaders of the developed countries to consider other countries, and provide assistance as is appropriate. Lord, grant wisdom, knowledge and courage to our world leaders. Fill their hearts with compassion and cause them to act selflessly in honour of You.
Lord, we continue to lift up those who are experiencing multiple disasters especially those people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Grant relief, O God. Have mercy and help.
Lord, so many people are hurting and confused. Lord, cause it that our Church leaders diligently seek You for understanding Your will. Grant them the courage to step out and do Your work in the way that You require.
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, 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, we remember those who are not well especially Jonathan and Kaylee Baldie, and their mom, Sister Sharon Baldie. 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, 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, and Lorraine Richards (Brother Cornel Richards’ wife); 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 pray also for those who are in distress, mourning losses of different kinds. Have mercy and help. Fill us with Your peace, Your presence and Your power. Comfort us and grant us victory in our circumstances.
In Jesus’ name we pray with thanksgiving.
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.