Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 3 January 2021 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers.
My Brothers, Sisters and Friends, I pray for God’s richest blessings on you and your family. If you or anyone you know is in need of prayer, please do not hesitate to let us know. Post your request here on the Grace Missionary Church’s website.
We were told that the new strain of Covid-19 Virus has landed on our shores. This is a case of worry for many people. We are not sure that it is contained. However, I am convinced that God has not lost control. He is still in charge of the lives of His children. We are His people and the sheep of His pastures. He is our guide, provider and protector. We thank Him for renewed mercies. We praise His Holy name. In everything, He remains an awesome God.
I was reflecting on the challenges that we are facing as individuals, churches, as a country and the world at large. It came to mind that our views and actions are centred on the negative impact of the Covid-19 Virus. Do you think there is anything positive about it? What are some of the lessons that we have learned? What are the lessons that we can learn? How can we continue our ministry to people within and outside of social media?
I am of the view that the world of medicine will benefit from new information and experiences. The drawback though is that some people may take a selfish approach that benefits self -interest and not focused on recovery and prevention. Some people may be cautious about the Virus but others may not feel the need to do so, even when they are told of the possible dangers associated with it.
I had a few experiences that sent me to analyse the attitudes and responses toward the protocols that are to be followed. Recently, I was walking on the side of the road and a man was heading towards me. The walking area was narrow but I noted that there was a wider space at a particular spot along the way so I tried to get there to create distance between us. The man was most upset. He was of the view that I was avoiding him. I told him that I was protecting both of us. His response was, “A nuh so it go”. Before that, a relative of mine who I had not seen in a long time was trying to hug me and was in my face. I acted quickly ensuring that there was a distance between us but he was so hurt. I was able to smooth things out with him and he respected my need for the distant.
My experiences brought to greater light a very important concern. People are made to relate with God and each other. We are told to be good neighbours, show love and give support. We are told to exercise courtesies. This was embedded in us. Whilst some persons have adjusted it has been a struggle for others. I also noted that some persons have taken it to the extreme of becoming cold and distanced.
I am thinking that we are faced with two types of fears: the fear of being infected with the Virus, and the fear of lack of love. Our fears have become heightened because of the new strain of the Virus. This has created difficult choices for those persons who are not logical and practical in their thoughts and behaviours. As I rolled over these concerns in my thoughts, I am reminded of the experience that Jesus and His disciples had during a storm.
One of Jesus’ disciples Mark gave an account of what happened.
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”Mark 4:35-41 (NIV)
You know, Jesus was literally in the midst of His disciples’ lives. One may say that they would have repeatedly seen Him work miracles but still doubted His power and authority. He was able to sleep with confidence during the turbulence of the storm. The storm was getting worse and there was no apparent response from Jesus. He was not responding in the way His disciples expected. Yet He questioned His disciples’ faith and fear. Do you think Jesus lost sight of what was happening because He was sleeping?
Many people have been fasting and praying, and trusting God for a breakthrough concerning the Covid-19 Virus. However, it is mutating and there is a new strain. I am not suggesting that we be careless and not observe the necessary protocols but how do we respond? Do we respond with fear and lack of faith? How should we maintain relationships without being cold? Do we totally stall our ministries outside of social media? A point to note is that some of us still go to work, the supermarket and other places, attend church, and observe the protocols. What do you think?
As we contemplate or try to understand the possible role that God has for us in the midst of the turbulences of the Covid-19 Virus, let us pray:
Almighty God, we thank You for your kindness. We thank You for your love, your grace and mercy. Lord, there is none like You and no one can compare to You. We acknowledge your infinite greatness. We thank You for daily sustenance, favour and protection.
Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ confessing our sins and asking that You cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We stand in the gap for our families, churches, leaders (national and otherwise), praying for your mercies. Lord, cause it that we seek You with all of our heart, hiding your word in our heart so that we may not sin against You.
Lord, as we face the new strain of Covid-19 Virus, we ask that You protect, guard and shadow our path in everything we do. Let your name be glorified in and through our lives. Lord, our souls are weary, strengthen us according to your word and preserve our lives. Turn our eyes to You and away from worthless things. Keep us from deceitful ways and be gracious to us.
Lord, we pray for leaders of our churches, associations and institutions, leaders of voluntary institutions and ventures, leaders of the private sector, political directorate and government.
We pray especially for 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. 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, help them make the right decisions for the country.
Lord, grant unto our leaders, true wisdom, insight and revelations. Cause it that they will act boldly, with transparency and accountability, in the best interest of those whom they serve. Help us as a country not to exploit but be the best keeper of each other, safely sharing and giving support.
Lord, as leaders, members and adherents of a church body, cause it that we will neither fear nor lose our faith. Help us to be true believers who diligently seek You for guidance and the path that we need to take especially in these times. We acknowledge that You made the ultimate sacrifice by dying so that we may have eternal life. Help us to be your vessels of honour in a world that is losing its grip on life.
Lord of Armies, we pray for the leaders of criminal activities and their support whether they are in or outside of Remand Centres and Lockups. Lord, nullify their activities and cause it that there will be convicting and uncompromised evidence against them. Cause it that they genuinely look to you as their refuge.
God of comfort and peace, we remember those who are mourning such as Sisters Audrey and Prunella Vassell and family. We pray for your hand of comfort and peace as they deal with the loss of their mother.
Jehovah Rapha, 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, Mr. Alan Ashley (Sister Dawn Ashley’s father), Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr. Isaiah Japp, Mr. Norman Grant (Sister Juanica’s husband), Mr, Delorn Dixon (Sister Rachael Dixon’s husband) and any member or family member who is currently struggling with the Covid-19 virus. We pray for healing, comfort and restoration
Lord, we pray for the emotionally disturbed trying to strike a balance in life, and those who have suffered different types of losses. Help them to find peace in and through You. May You comfort and strengthen them. Grant them lights of hope where they only see darkness.
Hear our prayer, O Lord. Fill us with your presence, power and peace as you engulf us with your love. We pray 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.