Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 23 October 2020 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers.
My Brothers, Sisters and Friends we hope that you are well. However, if not, please let us know.
We had started looking at causes, or those things that give rise to the need for forgiveness. We went off a bit to address concerns raised by some of our readers in order to provide clarity and further understandings. Today I will be moving on to look at break in trust as one of those causes.
Trust is defined by Vine as having confidence in something/someone (Matthew 27:23; Mark 10:24; Luke 11:22). Holman states that faith denotes trust, which means “to believe”. The most significant Hebrew word for faith is aman. It is described as a root word that denotes reliability, stability and firmness. Regarding relationships, aman describes the subjective nature of trust in God and His objective quality. God exists objectively outside of human nature, and receives trust from an individual (humankind) (Deuteronomy 7:9).
Holman further explained that God and His word are objectively faithful, constant and reliable (Psalm 119:86). God enables people to possess the objective virtues of faithfulness and reliability. Yare is another significant Hebrew word (mainly found in the Old Testament). It is used to convey “fear”, to believe in God with a reverential awe. A fear for God is about maintaining a firm conviction that His directives are reliable (Psalm 119: 89-91); protective (Psalm 33:18-19); and beneficial to the believer (Psalm 31:19).
You may have repeatedly heard and read the scripture where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Let us look at this act in the context of trust. We were told that Lazarus was dead, and “On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days” (Luke 22:17, NIV). It was clear that Mary and Martha, the Sisters of Lazarus, trusted Jesus but they did so to a limit.
The Sisters never envisioned that Jesus could raise Lazarus from the dead. In two separate instances, they said the same thing to Jesus. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask”(John 11:21-22 NIV). When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:32, NIV). They expected that as a friend who healed the sick and performed miracles, He would have healed their brother. Most importantly, He was their Lord.
You will notice that though there was a limit to Mary and Martha’s trust in Jesus, He proceeded because there was a purpose behind what was about to happen.
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”John 11:38-39 (NIV)
Martha was concerned. Many of us would become suspicious and sceptical. There are persons who may have stayed away to avoid the odour that may emerge. An interesting thought that came to mind is that some persons did not trust what Jesus could do but they remained His followers. Wow!
However, Jesus guided them towards an understanding of His purpose in the situation. “Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11: 40, NIV). He had also made His intention known in the beginning. “When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it’” (John 11: 4, NIV).
Brethren, Mary and Martha got an extended time with their brother Lazarus but this is not always the case. There are a number of situations where a family member or friend died although persons fasted and prayed for them. I know of situations, and I also have experiences where I fasted and prayed and did not get the response I expected within the time I had in mind. I am still waiting on some things to happen. Most of these kinds of experiences can lead to a break in trust.
Some persons have become angry openly and secretly wearing deep hurts in their hearts towards God. This has also resulted in deep sadness and anger towards their fellow humankind. Some persons have stored away their Bibles and moved away from God and the church. Others remain but are still angry carrying hurts because they trusted God and the church to satisfy their expectations but they were disappointed. There are others who are struggling to trust God and man. Whilst this may be a reality for many of us, we need to evaluate and assess whether or not the struggle is resulting into forgiveness which involves healing. We also need to consider whether there is stagnation, further anger, pain and hurt, or growth.
Brethren and Friends, at times life may not take the turns and corners that we expect. As children of God, we have to determine whether to pursue and live by His purpose for our lives. It may mean looking at His picture and not focusing on the one that our societies or the world has drawn for us. It may mean focusing on the Spiritual accomplishment and allowing the physical to emerge. Does it mean that there is no struggle? No!
The apostle Paul encouraged the Brethren to focus on the Spiritual rather than fleshly desires.
“Since then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”Colossians 3:1-2 (NIV)
“… fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)
Paul also enunciated that when our minds are not focused in the right direction, we try to fight against God’s will and desires. When we do so, we do not please God and we do not find peace. The truth is that it may mean constantly working towards that balance, which involves struggle, pain, sadness, joy etc. Paul said:
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”Romans 8:5-8 (NIV)
We are called to be alerted to and aware of what is driving us. We have to decide whether or not we move in the direction of God by faith, trusting what we do not see, and walking a path that we sometimes may dread. In all of this, do we fight against what God wants and does? Or do we find out what God wants and does, trusting Him? Do we accept the hard results? Forgive and allow for healing to take place? Or do we remain angry, sad and hurt? Think about it….
Let us pray
Almighty God, we thank You for Your love, grace and mercy. We thank You for the opportunity to be forgiven, healed and restored. We thank You for providing for us as individuals, families (church and biological) and as a country. Lord, we thank You for protecting and sustaining us.
Lord, we thank You.
Heavenly Father, we praise, adore and honour You. You are awesome! You are the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. There is none like You, and none can compare to You. You are the only true God.
Most Righteous God, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, asking that You cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Lord, we ask that You forgive all of our sins and make us worthy vessels in Your sight.
Lord, we ask for Your mercies on us as individuals, families (church and biological) and as a country.
Have mercy and forgive us, Lord.
Lord, we ask for Your continued mercies, protection, provision and sustenance as individuals, families (church and biological) and as a country.
Father, we lift up our church leaders, associations, and institutions to You at this time. We pray especially for Your hand of guidance and direction, and provision concerning the future and leadership of the Jamaica Theological Seminary, West Avenue Educational Centre and Kendal Camp. Lord, only You know what is best. You know Your purpose and desire for these institutions. Help the leaders to understand Your will and Your way.
Lord, remove any wrong mental framework and stubbornness that may exist among our leaders, and cause it that they will be open to Your will and Your way. Grant them true wisdom, revelations and insight as to what needs to be done, and provide the necessary resources to do so. Lord, renew the right spirits in the leadership and grant them obedient spirits to operate in unity. Lord, let self be submerged into Your will and desires.
We pray for the GMC retreat and the search for a pastor. Lord, cause it that we move in a direction that You know is best for us, for Your kingdom building, even when we do not see it for ourselves. Perish every thought in us that does not represent You and what You know we need, now and in the future. Lord, we ask that You cause us to only do what You require of us.
Help us Lord. Help us Lord.
Hear O Lord, and have mercy
Lord, we lift up the leaders of our country, business and other leaders, asking for Your mercy. We ask that You grant them strength to go on, the right strategies, creative and critical thinking skills and techniques as they proceed during these challenging times. We also pray for wisdom, knowledge, revelations and understanding to know what to do, and the will and desire, and courage to do what is required. So Lord, we ask for Your continued provision, protection and mercy on us.
Hear O Lord, and have mercy
We lift up especially:
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. We also remember the judges in our congregation: Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie.
Business leaders in our congregation: 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.
Lord, the fight concerning Covid-19 becomes a tougher one for our doctors and other health professionals, and administrators. Therefore, we lift up each person and ask for a divine covering over them and their families. We also remember the family of our Sister Rachael Dixon and others who wish not to be identified. So Lord, we thank You for Your healing power to them.
Lord, the Covid 19 pandemic has been giving the world much to do and think about. People are responding in so many different ways. Lord, help the leaders of the world to come to the right direction concerning this pandemic. So we ask for unity in the fight against this pandemic. We also ask that the right resources reach those who are in need.
Dear God, the health professionals and administrators are at serious risk of contracting the Virus. Therefore, we pray for Your mercies and covering over them and their families. Lord, grant them the strength to consistently have compassion. We also ask for healing on those among us and their families who have contracted the Virus. Lord, provide Your comfort and peace.
We remember 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; Jhenell 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, we also lift up for Your healing power our Sister Patrice Martin who is still in the hospital and in need of blood donation. So we ask for Your divine healing, provision and comfort.
Lord, we pray for Your continued mercies concerning the weather patterns. You know that we cannot take anymore disaster, so we appeal to You for continued mercies.
Lord, the crime situation has taken on a different colour but nothing is impossible for You. You are the God of Jamaica and no weapon formed against this country shall prosper. The gates of hell will not prevail over us because You are in control.
Help us Lord. Lord, help us.
Lord, we lift up the educational system and pray especially for those children left out. Help us to find a way to include every child and at the same time maintain safety.
Lord, we also pray for the many institutions that are providing counselling, advice and support to individuals and their families. We pray for provision, protection and guidance concerning the way they function especially Choose Life International and its leadership and staff.
Lord, fill us afresh each day, O Lord, we pray. Guide us according to Your way and grant us Your peace.
Shalom, 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.