The Prayer of Encouragement for 27 August
Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 27 August 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 needs prayer, please let us know. You can post your prayer request here on our website.
I am very grateful to Almighty God for the type of strength that comes from Him. I noticed that when the strength of the Lord is increased in my weakness, I experience the joy of the Lord, which further increases my strength. The Lord is the strength of my life, and my belief and appreciation of this increases my strength. Knowing and embracing the fact that I am capable of doing all things through Christ who gives me strength, increases my strength.
The power of my mental strength impacts the power of my physical strength. Even then, I realised that there is a need to care for my mental and physical being for this is pleasing unto God and of great benefit to me. The thing is, my body is the temple of the Lord and my deliberate care of it affects my effectiveness. I am also required to aim at operating in balance and be mindful to avoid as much as possible the areas in life that throw me off.
Then again, if I have to deal with certain things that may throw me off balance, I need to accept and be open to the fact that God is faithful and He will strengthen and protect me. It also means that I have to keep regaining balance as it relates to my well-being. Still, it is a process for me. I must take a practical approach that is dictated by the Spirit of God.
Okay, so how do I get tapped into the strength of the Lord when life is so frustrating and at times I feel like I am reversing instead of going forward? If I am weak, how can I just get up and be courageous? You know, I believe that courage is linked to strength. Courage is increased when I have certain knowledge and I trust that it is true. My knowledge of who God is, what He has done in the past from as far back as creation, what He has done in the lives of others and what He has done for me including death on the cross gives me courage.
However, courage comes through confidence, which comes through my beliefs and trust. My beliefs emerge from the Word of God, which is the knowledge that sets my foundation and growth. This increases my confidence so I gain the courage to accept that I am strong when I rely on the strength of the Lord. Yet, I need to keep reminding myself.
In psychology, we say that our thoughts lead to formulating our beliefs. Our beliefs will determine our behaviour, and our behaviour will result in certain consequences which are the effects of our behaviour. The question that now comes to us is, how do we care for our minds? What do we feed into our minds? What do we allow to be fed into our minds and stay there?
I find that the most powerful food for our minds is the Word of God. When the Word of God saturates our thoughts, our beliefs are strengthened in Him. We become more focused on Him. Our response is one of confidence which gives us the courage to respond. Remember, what we feed our minds determines a negative or positive result, which is the effect of our action/response. Just as we feed our bodies on a daily basis throughout the day, our minds need to be fed with the right type of diet.
The truth is that we may not always be positive, but when we have a relationship with God that has depth we find ourselves in a better place. I call it a deep-seated relationship, and this is ongoing. It requires pursuance in the Word of God and the things of God, living a life in and through God. In so doing we can find ourselves at a place where, though the storms of life rage, though we falter, though we find it difficult to grapple with life’s happenings, the depth of our foundation causes us to rise in a better way to proceed in life with purpose.
I also realised that we can have strength. However, if it is not apportioned in a manner that is dictated by God then we can experience exhaustion with little or no growth. We can achieve little or nothing. I recall a saying that if we do things in the same way and expect different results it is insanity. As I thought about this I remember something. It is a scene that I found to be very fascinating. I observed from a high building a man who was of unsound mind. I noted that he positioned himself at a particular set of traffic lights and as soon as the lights changed and the vehicles went off he ran fast beside them but ran out of energy. Yet he returned and repeated his acts a number of times until he seemed to become exhausted.
The man was doing the same thing but was unable to outdo the power of the motor vehicles so he got the same or lesser results. He was insane and what he did seemed to hold true to the saying concerning doing things the same way and expecting different results. What about those of us who have not been clinically diagnosed as insane but have similar behaviours? Aah! Wow! I leave that for you to think about.
I am also reminded of the popular story of Jonah. One may say that Jonah ran in a different direction than where God sent him. Yes, Jonah was frustrated and upset with the people of Nineveh. He did not think that they deserved to be saved because they were sinful and just gave too much trouble. He thought they should be punished. In disobedience, Jonah apportioned his energy in the wrong way and ended up in a dark place, the stomach of a whale.
The scripture tells us the Lord told Jonah to “… ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because its wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.” (Jonah 1:2-3, NIV). The Lord caused a storm to develop and those on board were afraid so they reached out to their gods for help but Jonah went and found a place and fell asleep (Jonah 1: 4-5). When asked about his identity, he acknowledged the power of the God he served. He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” (Jonah 1:9, NIV).
The sea got rougher and the men on board the ship became more afraid. They questioned what he had done to cause such great disturbance. He was knowledgeable as to the cause so he asked them to throw him in the sea and the disturbance would be averted. They realised that it was probably the best thing to do so that the lives of the other men were saved (Jonah 1:10-16).
Jonah did not have the strength to go to Nineveh and deliver the message so that the people could turn from their sins. Apparently, he thought that it would take more strength to go and do something that he did not believe rather than to jump on a ship going somewhere else. His thoughts affected his beliefs which did not line up with God’s beliefs and intention. His beliefs resulted in him running in the wrong direction, his action/response. The consequence was that he ended up in a dark place for three days, the belly of a whale. This was the effect of his behaviour.
Jonah used up a lot of energy to run away from God instead of having the courage to travel to Nineveh. Yet, it seemed he thought it would have taken more energy to do otherwise. He was not confident enough to trust God’s word and plans for His people. Yes, he was knowledgeable about the God he served. Could it be thought that his relationship with God lacked the depth needed to trust Him enough? Did he lack the confidence needed and courage to tap into the strength of God? Did he rely on God’s leading even when the journey he was on did not seem to make sense?
God’s love for us is immeasurable. God’s love is uncontainable. He is concerned about every detail of our lives. He wants to use us for His glory. When God is glorified, we become beneficiaries of this. Yet, we hesitate to surrender to him, to be obedient to His call. In a number of instances, we do not rely on His strength in a way that could see Him exalted in our lives. We can rely on His strength knowing that He will not leave us nor forsake us, even when life does not seem to make sense.
The fact is, even when it hurts, we can trust Him. Just trust Him “nuh”. He is the God of our salvation. He is a God of action, “not a bag a mout”. Just stand, and see the salvation of your God. “Think bout it, chat bout it.” What are you going to do about it?
Let us pray
Almighty God, You are awesome and absolutely nothing is impossible for You. We thank You for Your grace and mercy that we rely on each day. We come in the name of Jesus Christ asking that as individuals, families, communities, Churches and associations, businesses, government and a country as a whole you cleanse us from all unrighteousness and forgive all of our sins. Help us to forgive those who have wronged us and protect us from all forms of evil.
Lord, throughout the world we are faced with the effects of the CoronaVirus, loss of lives and things of value, tropical storms, economic downturns, criminal activities, civil unrest, earthquake, political instabilities, bush fires and the list goes on.
But today we declare:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall. God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall. He lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations He has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth, He breaks the bow and shatters the spear. He burns the shields with fire.
The Lord says, “‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46, NIV).
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, Emily Reynolds, Leighton Logan; trainee doctor (Gabrielle Channer); 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.
We remember Sister Marjorie who buries her beloved dad today; and Sister Paula whose uncle will be buried this Saturday; as well as Sister Joyce who will later bury her daughter. O God, comfort and strengthen them in a way that only you can. Lord, strengthen us all, provide for us, grant us insight and help us to exercise good judgement in all that we say and do. Lord, grant unto us Your peace. Hear, O Lord, and answer in Jesus’ name we pray with thanksgiving.
Our Prayers of Encouragement are for everyone. Therefore, please contact us with your request if you are also in need of prayer or comfort. We would be so very happy to share with you.