Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 26 December 2021 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers. Deacon Burton owns the copyright to this post. We reprint here with her permission.
Hi Everyone! God’s blessings and favour! How has it been? Are you okay? I am giving God thanks in all things. Think about the way He brought us through and through. We have overcome and overcome. Yes, some of us have lost loved ones during the months that have passed but we are still here for a purpose. Whilst we remember and face sadness, we still have hope because of the act of unconditional love, the love of God. He sent Jesus! Amen! We take comfort in hope! Amen!
You know, I am in the “country”. I am sitting on my mother’s neighbor’s verandah picking up their internet connection. The weather is really, really cold. I was having family dinner yesterday and we were talking. I cooked dinner but then I brought out cake. However, I told them that I did not bake the cake, I bought it. We got into talking about the type of energy that we put into Christmas celebrations. The cake was one of the hardest things. The butter and sugar had to be rubbed in until creamy and there was no mixer. It took a lot of muscles. After all of that the cake may be burned if the heat on the coal stove is not properly gauged. Then there was a little touch up of painting. The curtains could not go up until the night before and that was a main attraction.
I had a very dear aunt who lived with us for many years while I was growing up. She personified Christmas celebrations. She loved the food. My aunt could cook and bake. She enjoyed it all! She was so loving and kind. I really missed her. Anyway, she enjoyed life for what it was during her time on earth and she knew the Lord. Thank God. My father loved Christmas. He would ask, “Weh mi Christmas?” He was really talking about a gift. My father loved to eat, Christmas or not. He knew how to mow down a good plate of meal. My father never missed a beat in enjoying life. I missed him but there is hope. Thank God, he knew the Lord.
In recent years, I have been purposefully trying to ensure that our Christmas celebration is Christ-centered. We start with family devotions and each person has to say what he/she is grateful for. We may ask someone to share a memory of the past and each person, saved or not, prays. Dinner is later in the afternoon. At the end of dinner yesterday, one of my uncles called us together and he prayed. Another set of family members is coming today for dinner because we had to keep the numbers down at each gathering. So I have to go do some more cooking. I have already done some pre-preparation.
You know, I thought about how much we poured into these celebrations. It really struck a chord with me concerning the way we pour in for the sake of the gospel. I am talking about direct contact with people and situations with the aim to teach, lead people to Christ, and help the broken. I recalled the apostle Paul saying that he felt “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.” (2 Timothy 4:6, NIV). I am thinking that Paul was reminiscing on his life near to the end. He had given so much. He never seemed to regret it. Paul said, “But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” ( Philippians 2:17, NIV).
I am thinking that we put so much in making life for family and self, but what about Christ? What about God? Eh! I thought about the love of God pouring out for a lost world. He sent His one and only Son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17, NIV). As we celebrate, let us not forget. Think bout it, chat bout it too.
Let us pray:
Almighty, Most Holy and Righteous God, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, thanking You for this a new week, new day that gives us an opportunity to once again praise and glorify Your name.
We praise You Lord. We extol You with all of our hearts. Great are Your works, O Lord. They are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are Your deeds, and Your righteousness endures forever. You have caused Your wonders to be remembered.
Lord, You are gracious and compassionate, You provide food for those who fear You. You remember Your covenant forever. You provided redemption for Your people. Lord, You ordained Your covenant forever— holy and awesome is Your name.
Lord, as individuals, families, communities, Churches, private sector, government and a country as a whole, we are grateful for Your guiding hand of mercy over us and in our lives. We thank You for our provisions, we thank You for deliverance and protection.
Lord, out of the depths of our hearts and the recesses of our minds, we ask for Your continued mercy, cleansing and forgiveness of all our transgressions and iniquities. Let not evil dominate our lives but cause it that Your glory will be seen in us.
Lord, You are the God of our past, present and future, who has proven time and time again that You are all-sufficient. So cause it that we are sustained as individuals, families, communities, Churches, private sector, government and a country as a whole by your infinite resources, assured and comforted by Your omni-presence.
We pray, Lord, that You take every heart and mind that sways towards wrongdoing and turn them to seek You. Disrupt and eliminate every criminal network. So let Your peace reign and ring throughout our lives. Lord, let Your glory fill our lives as You establish the work of our hands.
Oh God, there is so much happening in our lives but we are trusting You as our shield, our glory and the lifter up of our heads to carry us through, and grant us victory.
Lord, we will sing to You all our lives. We will sing praises to You, our God, as long as we live. May our meditation be pleasing to You, as we rejoice in You. Lord, may Your glory endure forever. May You rejoice in Your works— You who look at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke. Awesome are You Lord. Our souls praise You, Lord.
Lord, we lift up to You the leaders in 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 thank You for the guidance, wisdom, knowledge and understanding needed to keep us stable. Lord, let not evil rule over us. So grant to our leaders the wisdom and courage to do what is in our best interest. Grant creativity also, and strategies that will help us to maneuver through these unusual times. Protect and continue to provide for us.
Lord, we remember those who are not well, especially Deacon Loy, Sisters Nicole Evans and Kadine Stewart. We also present to you those among us who are on the usual sick and shut-in list, as well as Sisters Iris Lawrence, Valerie Smellie, Mary Clarke, Cherrie Lee, 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, Merlena Hartley Roberts (Sister Nicole Roberts Mother); Brother George Gabbidon, Brother Lloyd Trusty and his niece, Sister Dawn Ashley’s parents and aunt, Mr, Delorn Dixon (Sister Rachael Dixon’s husband), Brother Cornel Richards and family; and any member or family member who is in need of healing and comfort. So Lord, grant healing, strength and peace.
Lord, we continue to keep in prayer Sister Jhenelle Black who is pursuing further studies in Dentistry in the United Kingdom (UK). We thank God for the kind of break that she gets at this time.
Lord, we ask that You comfort the hearts and minds of those people who are remembering losses of different kinds at this time. Lord, have mercy and help. Saturate us with Your peace, Your presence and Your power. Help us to realize that we are overcomers and grant us victory in our circumstances.
Nonetheless, we do not ignore the real reason for this season so we celebrate Your sacrifice for us. So Lord, we thank You, thank You. We sing songs of Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! In Jesus’ name we pray with thanksgiving.
Our Prayers of Encouragement are for everyone. Therefore, please contact us with your request if you also need prayer or comfort. We would be so very happy to share with you.
Grace Missionary Church is a member of The Missionary Church Association in Jamaica.