Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 20 August 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 needs prayer, please let us know. You can post your prayer request here on our website.
I am grateful to God for keeping me through the many experiences that I face each day. In the last couple of years, life has not been the way many of us hoped for or planned. Life has outlaid for us a journey with a difference. Many of us have suffered all sorts of losses either due to the Covid pandemic or otherwise. Many of us have been shaken up in other ways.
Some of us kept wondering what is normal? When will normal return to the way we knew it? Do we find a new normal? When we think that progress is being made, bam, there goes another child wave of the wind of Covid landing on the shores of countries worldwide. It is believed to be highly contagious operating alongside the mother.
The truth is unless revealed by God humankind does not know when the pandemic is going to end. Yet, a number of persons who are considered to be experts have been throwing their views into the public sphere. We end up with a global circle of views, opinions, beliefs, facts, false and faulty information. This has saturated social media as well as the minds and hearts of many people.
Vaccines have gotten their share of beatings as to whether or not it makes sense taking them. Some of us have genuine concerns about putting a foreign matter in our bodies. It is so interesting that we used to accept everything that comes from foreign to be good. Yes, you may argue, that kind of foreign matter is different.
Anyway, I took the two sets of vaccines before the end of June. I have not experienced any symptoms of illnesses. However, I would say that I experienced fatigue but I had lots of fluid as advised by the doctors. I was also advised against taking certain pain medications. I know of people who experienced headaches and fever for a maximum of two days after taking the vaccine. Also, I know of people who have serious illnesses and took the vaccine and they are okay. I know of people who have certain terminal illnesses and are advised that it would not be a good idea to take the vaccine right now. So they are waiting for further instructions from their health professionals.
It is my belief that some people may have certain predispositions that could expose them to negative outcomes. I also read where people had serious side effects after taking the vaccine. I knew of one person who had serious side effects which were treated. However, I am not aware of any detailed research that gives scientific explanations for the side effects as it relates to specific cases.
Nonetheless, I believe that it is a personal choice, one that can be decided through the guidance of prayer. God is our great guide. He showed me exactly what to do before taking the vaccine. I had watched a lot of programmes and read articles on the vaccines that described the pros and cons of taking them. Amidst all of the confusion that persists, I am of the view that God is our perfect guide.
Remember, He knows us with a high level of intimacy. The fact that He knit us in our mother’s womb means that He is intricately acquainted with our structures and functionalities. He will give you the peace that you need if you diligently seek Him. He loves you. You are so important to Him.
As I continue to reflect, I am thinking that we tend to talk a lot about life as a journey. I believe that it is a journey that requires critical essentials. I am reminded of taking a hike, I have been on hikes including climbing the Blue Mountain Peak. We walked from Irish Town. Some people walked from a closer distance.
When I took the Peak, we started our walk in the night so we were required to be in close alignment with each other. We had to listen to our guide who would often tell us to keep to the left or keep to the right to avoid the precipice. At times our walk could be considered delicate because of the possible danger. We had to rely on our guide because he knew the path better than us. He knew what was ahead of the journey.
You know, prior to our walk, some of us heard about the Peak by word of mouth. Some of us may have read about the Peak. Some of us were excited about the journey. Others were apprehensive, scared, nervous or just open to whatever may happen. Yet, the experience came when we took the journey.
As my thoughts continue to roll, I remember Moses’ approach when the daughters of Zelophehad made a proposal to him and the other leaders concerning their inheritance. He recognised the need to inquire of God. He acknowledged that God was the best guide and His will must prevail as it relates to the life of those ladies. It was not the norm for women to step forward and speak in such a manner. Based on previous posts, you may recall that the Lord’s decision did not just affect their lives but the life of a nation.
Here goes the story, “and the Lord said to him, ‘What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and give their father’s inheritance to them. Say to the Israelites, ‘If a man dies and leaves no son, give his inheritance to his daughter. If he has no daughter, give his inheritance to his brothers. If he has no brothers, give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. If his father had no brothers, give his inheritance to the nearest relative in his clan, that he may possess it.’ This is to have the force of law for the Israelites, as the Lord commanded Moses.“ (Number 27: 6-11, NIV).
I also remember David’s approach when he went to battle against the Philistines. He inquired of the Lord twice, once when he went into a first battle and second when he went into a subsequent battle against the same set of people. He trusted the Lord’s guidance and assistance on those journeys. It was not just victories for David. Those victories were for a nation.
Here goes the story. “So David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?” The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.” (1 Samuel 5:19, NIV). “Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the Lord, and He answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees.” (1 Samuel 5:22-23, NIV).
You know, we make personal decisions on this life’s journey but our personal decisions may directly or indirectly affect others, including a nation. God has made us for a relationship with Him and our fellow humankind. It is our relationship with Him that enables us to be effective in our relationship with others. Therefore, there is a dire need for us to stay in alignment with Him, seeking Him and relying on His guidance and assistance as we take life’s journey. At times the journey may require delicate steps because of possible dangers but we can get our assurance by putting our trust in Him. Seeking Him, diligently seeking Him.
“Think bout it, chat bout it.” What are you going to do about it?
Let us pray:
Lord, we praise and honour You as the great and mighty God. We bless Your holy name. You are awesome. You are the One and only true God who hears the cry of your people and responds to us. Lord, You are the God of power, dominion and authority. It is you who have made us and not we ourselves. You know every part of our being.
Lord, we thank You for being so good to us as individuals, families, communities, Churches, businesses, government and a country as a whole. Lord, we are grateful for Your provisions, protection and guidance. We do not take Your benefits for granted.
Most righteous God, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, asking You to have mercy on us as individuals, families, communities, Churches, businesses, government and a country as a whole. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness and forgive all of our sins. You are our hiding place. Protect us from trouble and surround us with songs of deliverance. Instruct and teach us in the way we should go. Counsel us with your loving eye. Lord, cause it that we are not like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle (Psalm 32:7-9).
Lord, 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.
We lift up to You those among us who are in business: 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, Emily Reynolds; trainee doctor (Gabrielle Channer); 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, strengthen us, provide for us, grant us insight and help us to exercise good judgement and operate with soundness of minds in all that we say and do. Lord, grant unto us Your peace. Hear, O Lord, and answer in Jesus’ name we pray with thanksgiving.
Our Prayers of Encouragement are for everyone. Therefore, please contact us with your request if you are also in need of prayer or comfort. We would be so very happy to share with you.