Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 27 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 but 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, more and more I realised that the world is filled with many people who are hurting in one way or another. In some instances, the hurt can be likened to a bottle with a substance that has gone way beyond its expiry date. If that bottle is opened, it explodes. The hurt can be manifested in the form of emotions, for example, anger. Our emotions can be like the substance in that bottle. They can be ticked off by our current experiences.
Our emotions may even be likened to something being pressured in a cooker. If the cooker is not allowed to cool down before it is opened, it can explode, causing great damage. There is no discrimination as it relates to class, age, sex, background, culture, beliefs etc. Even a child can experience emotional challenges because of an emotionally disturbed pregnancy, and that child may develop into an emotionally challenged adult.
Then again, our emotions can be likened to the air in a ball. The air is what makes the ball, a ball. If too much air is in the ball, what do you think could happen? You got it I hope. It may burst! Therefore, one could say that our emotions are necessary for existence. Yet, I find that if we do not manage our emotions in a healthy manner, we may blow up causing hurt. So those of us who are hurting may end up hurting others.
The hard part is that many of the times those of us who keep hurting others do not realise it. Even in the midst of evidence, we may not consistently aim to change our attitudes and behaviours. Interestingly, some of us may through those attitudes and behaviours garner a false belief that we are assertive and confident. We may continue with this approach to life so others suffer because of us.
The good news is God knows that there are many hurting people in the world. So He came to save a hurting and fallen world. Yes, we know that God is a Spirit but He came to this earth in the form of flesh and dwelt among humankind. He came to heal those who are hurting/broken and restore humankind unto Himself. This is the essence of Him coming to this world. Yet, I find that many of us have accepted Him but are still hurting and hurting others.
Is it that salvation has not been experienced by us? Or, having been set apart, is there the need for development through a process? What does that look like? Some people call it discipleship. What does discipleship look like? Are we experiencing it? Importantly also, are we practically offering it? I pray that we will allow ourselves to be truly healed and restored. God is our eternal Father and He loves us with an eternal love; nothing and no one can beat that. Check it out for yourself.
Hear this, I have something else to share. There is someone who I relate to on a regular basis. Most of the times that I was in conversation with that person, it felt like I was in a quarrel. It had gotten to the point where I started to anticipate the conversations that I would encounter. At times, the atmosphere around me felt toxic. I recalled my initial response as trying to keep up using not the same but some similar set of emotions.
Then I started to evaluate my response through the eyes of the Holy Spirit and decided to take a step back. What do you think was happening to me? I was acting or trying to act like someone else. Like a fish in a net, I got caught in this mode of functioning. Really! Yes! The question that kept lingering in my thoughts was how do I reach this person and have a civil conversation without changing who I am in Christ? You know, the word is simple but the act is selfless. Love is the answer. The kindness, gentleness and love of Christ in us is the antidote. Every time I experience those and similar situations, the Spirit of God always takes me to this place, I call it the rock of selflessness. Some see this as a weakness and even made that known to me.
The Holy Spirit kept reminding me of certain scriptures, and on one occasion was what Jesus taught during His sermon on the Mount of Olives concerning love.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Aren’t even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV)
It would certainly take more out of me to love those who are harsh towards me so I understand taking that approach would be more rewarding. Yet, I am required to actively practice doing so until that kind of attitude and behaviour is translated into my daily lifestyle, into me becoming Christlike. Now, the Lord God Almighty ensures that happens by allowing me to go through certain experiences. I kid you not! Trust me!
I am also reminded of the instruction to depict how you would want to be treated. “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12, NIV). Another scripture that used to sting me a lot was “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:12, NIV). Especially when I was wronged, this verse kept lingering in my ears so this calls on me to forgive and keep on forgiving. Talk about keeping the word of God in our heart, it ends up in our ears and otherwise.
I have talked a few times about Athaliah, a woman who grew up in king Ahab and Queen Jezebel’s household. I am still being led down that road to highlight her attitudes and behaviour. Athaliah was the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah (2 Kings 8:25-27). King Ahaziah was killed under the instruction of King Jehu (2 Kings 9:27-29). So Athaliah went on a revenge road and tried to destroy the royal family. What happened to Athaliah? She was hurting because of the death of her child, and her response was to hurt others. She never experienced healing and restoration (2 Kings 11; NIV).
Are you hurting? Have you been hurt? How do you deal with the hurt? Is it bottled up? Is it cooking under pressure? If so, give yourself the opportunity to seek help. May I remind you that God heals and He loves you with eternal love? “Think bout it, chat bout it” What are you going to do about it?
Let us pray:
Our heavenly Father, Hallowed be Thy Name. We thank You for Your mercies and Your grace. Thank You for Your unconditional love. We acknowledge Your greatness, Your omnipotence, Your omniscience and Your omnipresence as we try to manoeuvre our way through life. So we thank You for Your blessed Holy Spirit who guides us on our path.
Father, we come in the name of Jesus Christ asking that Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven concerning our lives and the world we face. Grant unto us our provisions. Forgive our trespasses, and grant us the heart and will to forgive those who trespass against us. Lord, cause it that we are not led into temptation. Deliver us from all evil. Let not evil rule over us but counsel us, and guard our thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. So Lord, comfort our hearts and heal our hurts/brokenness.
Lord, saturate our hearts and minds with words and songs of deliverance so that we do not fear. Restore us as individuals, families, communities, Churches and our country as a whole. Help us to see the need to protect our children and not allow evil to lead us into abusing them. Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
Lord, we pray for all leaders of 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 present to You those among us who are on the usual sick and shut-in list, as well as Sisters Nicole Evans, Kadene Stewart, Iris Lawrence, Merle Braham, Valerie Smellie, 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; Brother George Gabbidon, Brother Lloyd Trusty, Mr Alan Ashley (Sister Dawn Ashley’s father), Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr Isaiah Japp, Mr, Delorn Dixon (Sister Rachael Dixon’s husband),
Lord, we lift up to You any member or family member who is in need of help in the form of healing, comfort etc. We also remember those who are doing exams. Lord, grant healing, strength, support and peace 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.