Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 21 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 so grateful for the Holy Spirit’s continued counsel in my life. Trust me, at times, if it was up to me alone I would continue down the wrong pathways of life. Yet, God in His mercies kept guiding me towards the right way. There are times when His prompting literally felt like a tap on my shoulder. It may be a, “Hey, not so” kind of a tap. It may be a word or an experience that He used to steer me towards the right path. He knows the type of results that my life needs to bear so when a bad one seemed to appear or tried to edge its way through, He addressed it. Sometimes it is not in a way that I like, but at the end of the day, I am grateful. Thank you, Lord.
May the Spirit of God counsel you through the many challenges that life carries. Most of all, may He guide your path, may He lead you in the right direction. May you respond with gratitude, and may His favour and blessings be upon you, now and always.
I remembered trying to cross a street some time ago. You know, it was one of those streets that was difficult to cross. When one set of lights changed, there was no totally free way to cross because each set of lights allowed the traffic to be filtered on the main road, which is the one that I was trying to cross. There are no pedestrian crossings. It is a road that I normally try to get across.
On one of those occasions, I literally got stuck in the middle of the road with two vehicles coming towards me at high speed. I mean high speed. I did not know what to do so I stopped. Both vehicles swiftly passed me, one on my left and the other on my right. I literally felt the wind and heard it in my ears. The experience caused me to stop and breathe. It was frightening!
As I recalled the incident I thought about how busy we can become with our life’s plans and activities. We can become set on a path, not mindful of the way our busyness affects others and our relationships. At times, I told myself that this encouragement that I write would have been enough for my time with the Lord. Therefore, I shortened my devotional times with Him on the mornings that I wrote them.
I’ll tell you something else. I was so busy working on a project recently. It demanded intense focus so I would get up early in the mornings, working on the project. I made a promise to myself that my best time of day should first be spent with the Lord, that is early mornings. When I studied at university etc., I took the same approach. During the past few weeks, I was so focused on the project that for a couple of days I worked on it first, then spent time with the Lord. I shortened my devotion on those days that I wrote the encouragement. I was on high speed not thinking that this was affecting my relationship with God. In my mind, I justified my actions.
One morning I heard the Spirit saying, “My time” but I did not respond. I got up from what I was doing with the intention to return and continue with work. When I returned, it became difficult for me to get back to my laptop. I knew my password out of my head and used it frequently. The way the system operated, if the password is tried too many times, you get totally locked out and must contact the administrator. I got locked out and could not work that morning. It was a Monday. Now, the Lord got my attention, for sure. I just sat and listened to Him, and repented!
You know, we can become busy even with the Lord’s work, and this throws a negative impact on our relationship with Him. It affects our disposition, our attitudes, our behaviours and our growth. We can become so caught up in the high speed of life. The speed causes us to become muted or hard of hearing. Even when God speaks, we do not listen or act. Some of us may say that we do not hear Him but are we listening? Are we maintaining and building our relationship with Him? Do we experience that personal encounter? Do we allow ourselves that personal space of meditating in His presence? Are we allowing Him to fill us, to commune with us on a personal level?
As I continue to reflect, I am reminded of king Jehu who did great exploits for the Lord. He got rid of Baal and its worshippers; Ahab’s family and others who had a close connection with him. Jehu ensured the fulfilment of certain prophecies of Elijah. I recalled the scripture telling us that on one occasion when Jehu left Samaria, he came across “…Jehonadab son of Rekab, who was on his way to meet him.” (2 Kings 10:15, NIV). He said to Jehonadad “‘Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord.’ Then he had him ride along in his chariot.” (2 Kings 10:16, NIV).
Jehu was focused. He was energised and enthused. He was on fire for the work of the Lord. “…However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.” (2 Kings 10:29, NIV).
When we read a little further, the passage of scripture tells us “The Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit.” (2 Kings 10: 30-31 NIV).
We wonder what went wrong with Jehu. How could he have destroyed Baal and its worshippers? Then, turn around and worship two idols. The Word says Jehu “…was not careful…” (2 Kings 10:31, NIV). This is what stings me.
As my thoughts roll I am thinking about the ways we tend to justify our actions or display arrogance when the searchlight hits us in the face. We tell ourselves and others many things that need to be flushed. They cannot hold but that is where we place our comfort. We tell ourselves that we are at peace.
I discovered a couple of things from admittance. The fact is that the Bible is not appealing to many people who call themselves followers of Christ. Ouch! Should I have said that? Oh yes! It needs to be said. Some people would sit for hours watching, listening to and reading gossip and other things. But you try praying, preaching or writing for a certain length of time. The response almost fell short of the exclamation “Crucify him/her.”
The truth is though, all of us can easily slip out of line, away from the path that God has set for us. The world may look at us and expect us to be perfect, and even fellow Christ-followers may do the same. The fact is, we are not! However, we need to be mindful, alert, aware and vigilant to the fact that the devil is likened unto a roaring lion, seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). Let us be reminded of Paul’s proclamation that we are working out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-16). It speaks of being in awe of God, reverencing Him but being mindful that we go through stages of development as we take the Christ-like path. The question that still has a lingering sting is, are you being careful? Are you?
Let us pray:
Almighty God, we are grateful for Your grace and mercy. We thank You for sustaining us, especially in these trying times. Lord, we are so grateful. It is because of Your mercies that we are not consumed. Your mercies never cease. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness, O Lord. Great is Your faithfulness.
Lord, it is You who forgives our sins, heal our diseases and save our lives from destruction. You crown us with Your loving kindness and the multitude of Your tender mercies. You satisfied our desires with good things so that we are renewed.
Yet, at times, as individuals, families, communities, Churches, businesses, government and a country as a whole, we allow ourselves to drift in the wrong direction. We allow the devil entrance, which causes us to steal, kill and destroy; to deceive and be unkind to each other; to slander and be selfish. Also to harbour suicidal ideation, to be disobedient to Your will and Your way.
Oh God, have mercy. Have mercy, O God. In the name of Jesus Christ, Lord, hear the cries of Your servants as we stand in the gap for ourselves, families, communities, Churches, businesses, government and a country as a whole. We confess all of our sins and ask for Your forgiveness. Out of the depths of the earth, we cry to You, O Lord. So let Your ear be attentive to our cries for mercy.
If You, O Lord, kept a record of wrongs, who could stand? With You there is forgiveness. Therefore, You are revered. As far as the east is from the west and as far as the north is from the south, so remove our transgression from us. As a father has compassion on his child, Lord, please have compassion on us. You know how we were formed. You know that we are fragile. So, O Lord, hear and have mercy.
Lord, we lift up every leader in this country for Your divine intervention in our hearts, soul, mind and body. Cause it that our hearts are turned to You for direction, and equip us for each step on the pathway of life. We ask for Your continued provision and sustenance.
Lord, so many people are on the frontline working tirelessly because of the impact of Covid-19. Grant strength, peace, provision and compassion to each person and their families. We also pray for healing in families, communities, Churches, businesses, government and our country as a whole.
Lord, we pray for the kidnappers, domestic disputes, the cloud of evil that has given rise to the destruction of people, stealing, killing etc. Lord, arrest every heart and mind. Circumvent every scheme, nullify every action and confuse every network that is evil. We also pray that You identify and deal with every leader and potential leader of criminal plans and activities. Lord, Jamaica is Yours. This country belongs to You, and the gates of hell will not prevail over us, in the name of Jesus Christ.
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 our hearts, fill us with Your peace and keep our minds stayed on You, 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.