The Prayer of Encouragement for 25 October
Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 25 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 continue to look at trust as it relates to forgiveness. The Holy Spirit showed me a connection between the heart, mind and tongue. The way they function, and how this results in a break of trust. Firstly, we will consider two examples to do with the heart and mind. Then connect those with what James said about the tongue. Based on the way the Bible is written, at times heart and mind may or may not be differentiated. I did not consider a differentiation significant for the purpose of this writing.
One of the concerns that the prophet Jeremiah drew attention to in proclaiming what God said had to do with the functioning of the heart and mind of humankind.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord searches the heart and examines the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NIV)
A little addition, we are aware that God in nature and character is omnipotent, that is, unlimited in power. He is omniscient, that is, all-knowing. We know that humankind is given knowledge and power to conduct self and relate with God and fellow humankind. However, we may garner from Jeremiah’s proclamation that humankind is not equipped enough to search His heart and mind to know the extent of its content. Humankind needs to rely and depend on God, to trust Him for guidance, and, in doing life.
Now, we will look at what Jesus had to say. God did not speak through a prophet this time but in the form of man through His Son, Jesus. This is live and direct. Based on the tone of the scriptures, it seemed like a usual occurrence for Jesus and His disciples to have conversations. Out of those encounters many questions were asked and clarity received. This must have been a rich experience for His disciples.
In one of those conversations, at the end of the Last Supper, Jesus spoke about a person’s heart. “… out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person” (Mark 7:21-22, NIV). I am not getting the understanding that there is no good at all in the heart but out of it wrongful desires, thoughts and behaviours may also emerge. It is critical for us to hold in mind that He was speaking about all people.
Stay with me and let us connect something here. What comes out of the mind and heart is manifested in the form of attitudes, speech and behaviours. I am reminded of what James said in relation to the functioning of the tongue. It sounded so familiar to Jeremiah’s proclamation. Look at two parts of the sayings together. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9, NIV). “…no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8, NIV). What are they talking about, my heart, and my tongue? O yes, all people.
If we understood the tongue, is it possible that we could tame it? If we understood the heart, could we manage it in a way that pleases God? It could be a yes or no depending on the circumstances, among other things. We may now see that those issues in the heart or mind come through what we do and say, and they produce consequences.
When I thought about the foregoing, I was taken to the disciple, Peter. He had a lot to say. He seemed to have been a high-spirited person. Jesus loved Peter who was with Him on many of the journeys while on earth. He saw Peter’s heart and mind, and revealed to him something important. You may note that He first encouraged His disciples by saying:
“You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”Luke 22:28-30 (NIV)
Jesus also knew the limitations of His disciples and their support. He told Peter
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”Luke 22:31-32 (NIV)
Jesus knew that they were going to face evil. He knew they would fall but not lose their faith because He prayed for them. When they fall and return, they would be an encouragement to others. Such was Simon Peter.
However, in his own limited self, Simon did not see it coming and refused to believe. “…but he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” (Luke 22: 33, NIV). I have heard similar sounds from people, and I still wonder about them. Jesus further revealed Himself. Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:34, NIV).
As you may have read, it happened just as Jesus said when He was taken in for trial.
A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.Luke 22:56-62 (NIV)
Matthew’s version gave us a little more about what happened. “Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.” (Matthew 26: 74, NIV). Brethren, do you see, what comes out of the heart and mind through what is said and done, and the consequences? Nonetheless, Jesus restored Peter (John 21:15-17). Thank God for His grace and mercies.
Brethren and Friends, many times we trust people and it is okay to do so. I have learnt that, due to our limitations, the extent of our trust has to be guided by the knowledge and power of the Holy Spirit in us. It does not mean that we tighten up self and not trust. I recall recommending a well-upstanding person for a job many years ago. The person stole from the company. The person paid heavily for what was done, but has now moved on with their life. This was someone I trusted but that was broken. I was embarrassed, fearful and felt betrayed. I was sad and angry. At times I cried. I never got a chance to speak with the person.
Notwithstanding this, I came to the realisation that there was a need for me to do an act, that is, to forgive the person. I forgave the person. I wish that person knew. The Holy Spirit also taught me that there is always another person who will be sent for me to help. This rings so many times in my life. I could say this is an integral part of my life.
Brethren and Friends, some deep hurts may require a deep search to find that desire and will to forgive, but it is necessary for us and the person who wronged us. We all need forgiveness whether we realise it or not…think about it.
Let us pray
Heavenly Father, Creator, Deliverer, Provider, Protector, Savour and Lord, we thank You for another day, and week. Lord, we thank You for Your love, grace and mercies renewed every morning. Lord, great is Your faithfulness.
All that is within us bless Your Holy Name, Lord. We praise and honour You, we exalt You. We adore You. Lord, You are Awesome!
Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ. We ask that You have mercy on us, forgive all of our sins, and cleanse us from all our sins. Out of the depths we cry, O Lord, let Your ear be attentive to our cry for mercy.
Lord, we pray for all categories of leaders among our churches, communities, in our homes, businesses, in government, private sector, non-business ventures and institutions, and the world at large. Lord, many of us know that we cannot see what lies ahead. Neither do we see the hearts of humankind. Lord, You see all things. Nothing is hidden from You. Everything is bare to Your eyes, Lord. Help all leaders to understand Your will and way concerning our lives and purpose through Your revelations. Lord, grant mercy, direction and favour to us, as well as an ability to conduct self and purpose effectively in the way that You require. Renew the right Spirit in us and help us to be obedient to Your call on our lives. Lord, help us to be caring, compassionate and courageous in all we say and do.
We pray for our national leaders, 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 remember also the judges in our congregation: Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie.
Lord, as we look for a pastor for Your flock at GMC and the Jamaica Theological Seminary, help us in our deliberations. Let us not evil overpower us, but cause it that Your Holy Spirit counsel and watch over us, and lead us in the way we should go.
Lord, help us to be consistent in our online connections as we try to maintain fellowship through teaching, prayer and caring for our members, adherents and friends.
Lord, we face with so many challenges. There is the Covid-19 Virus, aggressive weather patterns, criminal activities, economic instability at a micro and macro level resulting in a loss of jobs and businesses, confusion concerning Your will, among other things. Lord, You are aware of them all. So we ask for Your mercies and guidance among those who are in leadership, as well as students, retirees, unemployed, the unemployable and the workforce. Lord, cause it that we have a consciousness of who we are and what is required of us. Help us to be obedient. Lord, help us to be the keeper of each other. Help us to be responsible in what we say and do.
Lord, we ask for Your provision, covering, favour and continued sustenance. Lord, we need You in all that we say and do. Help us, we ask.
Lord, the criminal activities continue but we trust that You will deliver and cover us because no weapons formed against us shall prosper. Confuse every scheme and activity of evil, Lord. We pray for the hearts of every criminal mind that they turn to You and find hope, the hope of life eternal.
Lord, we pray for those affected by the Covid-19 Virus and those who provide mental and physical healing. Help us to be responsible in our actions. Remember those who are in the Rae Town community where the Virus is now widely spreading. We ask for containment of the Virus. Lord, we pray for mercy, provision and healing. We pray for consciousness in attitudes, speech and behaviours.
Lord, we lift up to You our sister Patrice Martin who is currently in the University Hospital. We thank You for the progress of healing and trust You to bring it to completion.
We pray for Sister Desmay Roomes, that You fill her with Your comfort and peace. Lord, we trust Your healing in a way that You know best.
Lord, we remember those among us who are on the usual sick and shut-in list, as well as Sisters Iris Lawrence, Lelith James, Jennifer Nicholson, Virginia Muir, Marville (Cherry) Murray (Sister Iris Lawrence’s daughter), Janet Chen-Young, Joyce Bailey, Lucille Alexander, Jhada Graham, Ethlyn Atkins, Cherrie Lee, Brother George Gabbidon, and Andrew Robinson (Sister Claire Robinson’s son), Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr. Isaiah Japp, and any family member who is currently struggling with the Covid-19 virus.
Lord, fill us with Your presence, and empower us to be attentive to Your call. Lord, grant unto us Your strength and peace as You guide our path.
Hear our cry O Lord, we pray 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.