Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 25 June 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.
You know, we are constantly expected to express courtesies to each other, to show respect and demonstrate the love of Christ in all that we say and do. However, at times, we may find certain negative attitudes and behaviours that seemed to be at the core of our being, emerging from us. I noticed that this is a constant struggle for some of us especially when we are under pressure.
The truth is some people do not have to be under pressure. It is a norm for them to be unkind. Their attitudes and behaviour are like catching some kind of creature in a bag that is making every effort to escape. If the bag is not solid and properly tied, that creature will get out. If we do not allow God to adequately renew and transform us through His Holy Spirit, the wrong thought will translate into the wrong attitudes and behaviours. Therefore, some of us may lose control and the negative attitudes and behaviours get out.
Notwithstanding this, some of us may normally be strong. But if we do not maintain constant vigilance in ensuring that we stay on the right path we can easily slip causing us to dip back into certain negative attitudes and behaviours. Then again, there are those people who do not know Christ but societal norms and expectations cause them to maintain certain courtesies, show respect and demonstrate love. Society also held them responsible. All of us in one way or another would be held responsible by society. Yet, God ultimately holds all of us responsible at a different standard. Still, there is a greater onus on those of us who are His sons and daughters.
I am thanking God for renewing the right spirit within me. If I did not accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through my life, I honestly do not know what I would look or sound like. Even then, I am not claiming to be self-righteous and neither am I claiming to be perfect.
I am grateful though for the relationship that I have with my heavenly Father. This relationship helps me as much as possible, to walk in light and not darkness; to be salt that does not lose its effect but brings change that transforms lives through Christ. I believe that there has to be a need in us to carry ourselves in this manner through life. If we experience failure in doing so, we quickly pick ourselves up, address the issues that may arise, and move on with life.
I pray that you will be constantly vigilant in your effort to be and stay on the right path in Christ. May God bless and favour you always. May you know and experience His love; and may you show His love in all that you say and do.
Do you know something else? Recently I went into a store that I have been patronising for many years. In the last year or so a young man started working at the store as a clerk. He quietly came up to me and said certain things that caused me to step back for a while. Imagine this! I did not have a conversation with him. I just went in the store, picked up a few things and was standing in line for the cashier at the time. What made it worse was that the other workers in the store heard him and made a big laugh in support of him so he felt good about himself.
My response was a quiet one. I do not always like to eat from a pot when it is still on the stove with fire underneath so I left the store. I would have been highly flustered in the past and felt utterly embarrassed. Yes, he disrespected me and embarrassed and insulted who I am as a woman. I never expected this but at the same time, I am at a place in my state of being where those things do not surprise me. I prayed about it and I prayed for him.
This week I went into the store. I told the cashier that I needed to speak with the young man. She was ready to speak with him for me because according to her, he has been saying things to the customers that are inappropriate. However, she did not know what transpired with me because she was not the one cashing at the time. I assured her that I would prefer to speak with him myself.
Apparently, he overheard and was willing to hear me out. We went to the end of the store and I told him that I did not appreciate what transpired. I requested that he did not have a repeat of that experience or anything like it. I also advised him to be careful about the way he treats the customers. He expressed appreciation for me speaking with him in that manner and not reporting the incident to his boss or causing a blow-up of the issues in the store. I had to go back to the store for something that I thought was left there and had to speak with him about it. I had made a choice to forgive him so it was not a problem for me. You know, God has a sense of humour.
A few weeks back, I spoke about Athaliah’s behaviour when her son King Ahaziah was killed. She took over the reign of the kingdom. She thought that all of the members of the royal family were killed under her instructions. However, Joash was hidden so he was made king after she ruled for six years (2 Kings 11). One of the things that king Joash ordered was the repair of the temple but it seemed to have been lingering (2 Kings 12:5).
King Joash went back and told the priests of his disappointment and called for a financial sacrifice to be made in ensuring that the temple was repaired. “But by the twenty-third year of King Joash, the priests still had not repaired the temple. Therefore, King Joash summoned Jehoiada the priest and the other priests and asked them, ‘Why aren’t you repairing the damage done to the temple? Take no more money from your treasurers, but hand it over for repairing the temple.’ The priests agreed that they would not collect any more money from the people and that they would not repair the temple themselves.” (2 Kings 12:6-8, NIV).
A couple of things pop out at me concerning my experience and the 2 Kings’ passage. We are the temple of the Lord. Like the temple, we are his instruments. This has become evident during the Covid-19 pandemic because we were more or less thrown out of a physical church building or temple. Yet, we had to operate a church. The scripture tells us “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV). As the temple of the Lord, we may experience emotional damage and need repair. That is one context.
There is another context. We are called to make a sacrifice at times for restoration even when we are not at fault. Joash was not the one who caused damage to the temple but he recognised the need to repair it and insisted on it. He lost a lot of family members through the wickedness of Athaliah but he did not take a bitter approach to life. He wanted to be on the right path. Yet, he was not perfect.
We may have to lead the charge in repairing relationships even when we are hurt. I did nothing wrong to the young man. I hardly had conversations with him but I was led to find him and clear the air. Also, I could have avoided the store or gone in the store and avoided him but that would take too much out of me. I could have made a big deal of the incident and he could have gotten fired. Thank God for who He is in me, I did not take those approaches.
I am glad that I am not my own. What about you? Are you being constantly vigilant in your walk with the Lord ensuring that the wrong attitudes and behaviours do not take hold of you? If it does, are you able to realise it? What is your approach when wronged? Do you exercise mercy? “Think bout it, chat bout it.” What are you going to do about it?
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, hallowed be thine name. We thank You for who You are in our lives. We thank You for each waking moment. As individuals, families, communities, businesses, workers, health care providers and workers, students, government, leaders and a country as a whole we ask that Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from all evil; for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
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; 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, we pray for those who mourn, the hospitalised, and the sick and shut-ins. We ask that You will comfort every heart and mind. Let Your peace fill us afresh. We ask all of these 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.