Prayer of Encouragement, Voices of Youths, 2022

The Prayer of Encouragement for 23 May

Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 23 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 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.

I am grateful to God Almighty for His guiding hand in my life. I praise and thank Him. There are times when it feels like I am going through life not knowing exactly when some things are going to happen, or how life is going to work out. I wake up a lot of mornings and no matter how I planned, other things may overtake my days. I learned to move with the flow. Certain set obligations can become intense and push me outside of agreed times. This may interfere with the other things in my life and create a must-do expectation with a penalty. There are nights when God wants me to commune with Him differently or pray for people. I have even lost good friendships because of the intensity of my experiences, but I press on.

Over time I learned to evaluate the situations in my life to ensure, as much as possible, that I focused my time and energy on what God wants me to do. This approach usually calls for a conversation between God and me. There are those who throw a guilt spear at me when my response to a request is no, but I am learning to say no. However, I am still trying to stay connected to God, trying to understand His will, and doing it within His timing.

I realised that I am frequently in need of restoration because of the intensity of the call on my life. I try to stick close to God, exercise, do my physical therapy, debrief, take supplements, and get rest. When I do not follow through, my body speaks, so I listen and stop for a while allowing for some amount of rejuvenation. There are intense periods but I try to manage those too, in the best way possible. This is really difficult to do but I am learning to strike a balance.

I also realised that I have to be careful not to become burdened in what I do and how I do life. I have to be careful not to find myself on the wrong path. If I do, I have to get off it, relying on the grace of God. It means that every day I am trying to figure out life. I mean every day. Therefore, I heavily rely on the guidance and filling of the Holy Spirit. There were those days when I had to say, “Keep me, Lord, Keep me.”

May you recognise that we are on a trajectory that requires a reasonable balance. I pray that you will keep striving for balance in your life. It is not easy but necessary. May God bless and favour you always.   

During my walk on the hill, I do a mind strengthening exercise that helps my mental balance. I previously told you this. It entailed me walking on a set of walls, which are not very high. When I started that exercise, it was extremely difficult but with frequent practice it has become easier to do. I even started to walk sideways to intensify my exercise. There is a little gully that separates the wall from the main road.

On my most recent walk on the wall, a number of people kept telling me to be careful. The motor vehicles tend to drive at a high speed and the walls are mainly on the corner of the road. I do not recommend that exercise without supervision. I only do it based on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The other walker’s kept saying “Be careful” more than any other times.

As I reflected on my most recent experience, I thought about how careful we are in the way we live, especially as followers of Christ. Even when we are walking on the right path, do we exercise care? How does that look? What does that mean? Can we fall off the path? Do we know when we are off the path? How can we get back on the path?

You know, at times I am walking on the wall and one foot slips off but I gain balance and get both legs back on the path. At times, as followers of Christ, we may find ourselves halfway in His will and expectations and halfway out. Do we regain balance or try to be like a gymnast when the feet are not together but still able to balance? Do we recognise that the balance is off our set path as followers of Christ?

As I continue to reflect, I am reminded of the apostle Paul’s expressions concerning some of the struggles that he wrestled with as a follower of Christ. In one passage, Paul’s profound honesty was recorded. He said:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer myself who does it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature, for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. Now, if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

Romans 7:15-20 (NIV)

Some people may say this passage of scripture is a roundabout mouthful but there are lessons to be learnt, and there is encouragement.

Paul had become a convert and was on a path for Christ. He was passionate and understood the grace of God because he experienced it when he was Saul, which was a totally different path. He was subject to serious persecution under the umbrella of Christ. Yet, Paul was trying to figure out life and his role in it. There were times when it was confusing and conflicting for him, to the extent that he admitted he did not understand what to do. Nonetheless, he was very grateful that he was under grace and not the law.

Paul was doing what he did not want to do (what was wrong and not pleasing to God) but was of the belief that what he wanted to do was in him. He wanted to do good. He had the desire for it but there was a struggle to do it. Paul also alluded to the fact that he automatically sinned. It happened through his unconscious being. Within that unconscious being was a tendency/ability to commit sin. Although good was in him, it was a struggle to do good. He saw a distinction between the good and the sinful nature. One could say that Paul experienced a “one foot on the right path but one foot out” and there was a struggle to keep both feet together on the right path.

I do not garner from Paul that he did no good. There is enough evidence throughout scriptures of the good he did during his lifetime. However, there were times when he struggled to do good. He recognised it, he accepted his situation and spoke to it. Most of all, he was grateful for the grace of God as he worked through it.

Paul was careful to evaluate his walk as a follower of Christ. He shared his struggles with those at Rome at the time, to teach and encourage them as they tried to take the Christ-like path. I recently spoke of the account of king Jehu’s great exploits for God. Yet, the scripture said he was not careful, so he sinned by worshipping idols (golden calves at Bethel and Dan) which was similar to one of the very things he destroyed, Baal worship (2 Kings 10:28-31). We may see a difference in Paul’s approach as against Jehu. Do you see a difference? How does that help you?

What say you? Are you careful to try and keep both feet on the right path as you take the Christ-like walk? Think bout it. Chat bout it. What are you going to do about it?

Let us pray:

Lord, O Lord, thank You for Your grace and mercy. Lord, You are awesome in all of Your ways. You are worthy of all praise, honour and glory. We thank You for keeping us, as individuals, families, communities, Churches, government, the private sector and our country as a whole. Lord, we are grateful. It is because of Your grace that we continue to stand in the midst of many trials. We thank You.

Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, knowing that we sinned even in ways that we are not consciously aware of and acknowledge. Lord, forgive our willful sins. Let not sin rule over us but rescue and deliver us in Your righteousness. Turn Your ear to us, and save us, we pray. Lord, some of our people have become so hard and harsh in a fight to keep life in balance. Help us to be compassionate and reasonable in our quest. Help us, as a nation, to be kind, protecting each man’s dignity; to stand up for justice, to practice justice; brotherhood, sisterhood; and to seek peace, and pursue it.

Help us not to just have an awareness of godliness but deny the power and work of God in our lives and the lives of others. Lord, help us not to just speak of God but live according to Your principles, expectations and will. Lord, help us. Have mercy on us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Forgive our sins and make us worthy vessels for Your glory.  

Lord, we pray especially for those deceitful taxi drivers who kidnap women and children. We present the families who are filled with intense emotions that are manifested in the form of verbal and physical destructive anger. Lord, quiet our hearts to listen; to dispel anger in constructive ways; to empower and not tear down.

Lord, attend to the cry of Your servants, From the ends of the earth, we cry unto You. Lord, lead us, guide us and fill us with Your peace. O God, Your peace.

Lord, take those who are killing, stealing and destroying the lives of others in every facet of this country. Turn the hearts and minds of humankind to You. Help us, Lord.

Lord, we ask for Your continued provision, protection, healing, guidance and favour on us as individuals, families, communities, Churches, government, private sector and our country as a whole.

Lord, we pray for all leaders of 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 also remember the judges in our congregation, Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie.

Lord, we 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; Brother George Gabbidon, Brother Lloyd Trusty, Mr Alan Ashley (Sister Dawn Ashley’s father), Sister Jennifer Japp who mourns the loss of her father, Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr Isaiah Japp, Mr, Delorn Dixon (Sister Rachael Dixon’s husband), Brother Roy Reynolds who mourn the loss of a sibling, Brother Cornel Richards and family who mourn the loss of his mother, Mrs Eunice Richards; and any member or family member who is in need of healing and comfort. Lord, grant healing, strength and peace.

We look to You as we wait with thanksgiving, 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.

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