Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 30 April 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 giving God thanks for His hand of protection over my life. Lord, I give You thanks. There are times when I feel like I am walking through the fires of life but I believe that they will not burn me. At times, I feel like I am trying to get across a river like Jordan in a time of turbulence. There are times when it looks like the Red Sea is in front of me and there is no way to go but through it. You know what? They will not overpower me because my God will make the way.
My God will protect, guide and deliver me. He is my redeemer, and He lives. He is alive! If I look up to the hills, my help does not come from the hills. My help cometh from the Lord God Almighty. So my eyes are on Him. He is the only true God! Who can be compared to You, Lord? Who counsels You, Lord? Your power has not been diminished! It matters not what the workers of evil try to do. They will not overpower me. He is my light and salvation. He is the strength of my life, of whom should I be afraid? Of what, should I be afraid? When the wicked even my enemies came upon me to devour, to bring me to nought; they will stumble and fall. They must stumble and fall, and fail!
Although a host of problems may come at me in hot persistent pursuit; though I may be set up for failure; and, though some people may counsel together to hurt me; I stand to see the salvation of my God. He is my refuge and strength, a present help in times of trouble. He is my Shepherd; and He is the only Shepherd who gives a perfect and trusted assurance that He will not run away and leave me, His sheep.
If I lose my way, He will find me and return me unto His fold. He is God. Power, might and authority are in His hands, not in the hands of the enemy. So I will not be afraid. He preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies. He anoints my head with oil. My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in His presence. I will dwell under the shadow of His wings. The sun will not smite me by day, nor the moon by night. He will preserve me from all evil. He is my Jehovah Nissi, my banner, so I rest in Him for He gives me peace.
May you be assured that even when the battles in your life rage and it seems like there is no peace; no place of rest; God will deliver. He will carry you through the tempest of storms and the heights of the blaze. Guess what? You will not be overpowered so hold on to Him for He is your strong deliverer.
Nothing and no one can overpower God. He is your stronghold so no one can pluck you out of His hands. Be strong in your God; be assured of your salvation, assert your faith, stay in His word; declare His word over your life for it is your great weapon; and pray; in your heart and mind, pray; pray at all times. The Lord of host, the Lord of armies; the Almighty God is with you. The God of Jacob; Joshua, the Hebrew Boys; Daniel, Lazarus and so many others who He delivered; is with you. He is your God, and the gates of hell will not prevail; for He is your God. Hold on, to Him! May His blessings and favour be upon you always.
You know, I had an experience this week with a croaking lizard. I discovered some weeks ago that it was living somewhere under my bed, I saw it twice. Most of the time, I do not remember that it was there. Then, I saw it again. I said to the Lord that I thought it was He and me who live at home so why is that lizard still in my room. Anyway, I got into a mood of prayers, even when I am not at home; I leave prayers in the room; not fussing.
One night this week, the lizard was crawling all over the walls in my room and usually, it was hardly seen. I did not pay any attention to it because I tried in the past to use insect spray on those types of lizards, and discovered that a tin of spray will not necessarily kill them. I noted that for an extended period of time the lizard was still crawling all over the walls.
So I got up, aimed for the lizard’s head and sprayed directly into its face. It fell and I could hear the struggle for a couple of hours. I went to sleep. The next day I still heard a bit of struggle. Then, I saw it heading up the wall again. I went and got the spray, aimed for the head and sprayed directly in the face. I peeped behind the bed head and saw where it was spread out on its back looking stone dead. So I sprayed it again. I decided to leave it. It was night, and enough chemical from the spray was in the room so I decided not to sleep in there. I went and slept in the living area.
In the morning, I went into my room and saw the lizard laying on its back (as if stone dead) on the carpet in front of my bed. I decided to spray it with some strong bleach. It turned over and was crawling. I used the bottle with the bleach and hit it a couple of times. It crawled a bit away and stayed. I still was not sure whether it was dead or alive. Normally I use the carpet for prayers. I could lay face down or kneel on it. I kid you not, it went and died at the very spot that I would put my head when praying prostrate before the Lord.
When I reflected on my experience two passages of scriptures came to me. The first one is the promise God made after Adam and Eve disobeyed Him when Eve was influenced by the serpent. “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, NIV). It came to my thought that we cannot become comfortable with the enemy in our lives. We have to get rid of the enemy. There are times when the only way to eradicate the enemy is to destroy its head. The head is a central point for the enemy that functions to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus Christ came and demonstrated that He is the conqueror over the works of evil (Matthew 28).
The other passage of scripture that came to my mind has to do with the fulfilment of prophecies against king Ahab, Jezebel and their household. Ahab and Jezebel met their gruesome death because of their merciless behaviours. Jehu became king and the elders and guardians of king Ahab’s seventy sons (princes) were afraid of him. They were willing to submit to Jehu by doing whatever he asked.
Jehu requested that the sons of king Ahab be beheaded and their heads delivered to him. “…Now the royal princes, seventy of them, were with the leading men of the city, who were rearing them. When the letter arrived, these men took the princes and slaughtered all seventy of them. They put their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel.” (2 Kings 10: 6-7, NIV). As my thoughts rolled, it came to mind that an entire generation was eradicated. The decapitated heads signified a loss of power and authority, a total defeat of the enemy.
Brethren and Friends, in life, when the enemy comes at us we have to pray without ceasing. I am not saying that we should literally go killing people. However, we use the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God and pray all kinds of prayers. God will direct the way for the enemy to be defeated. The croaking lizard was hard to get rid of so is the enemy. Sometimes when we think that it is gone, it is very much alive and at times persistent. In our times of prayer, we have to aim for the centre of operation of the enemy; the mind, heart and spirit; and resources. We have to be consistent in not giving breathing space to the enemy; not becoming comfortable with the enemy but taking up guard duty. Are you on guard?
As you think, let us pray:
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a shield for us, our glory and the lifter up of our heads. We praise, honour and glorify Your name. You are an awesome God. You reign forevermore.
Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ asking that You forgive all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We also ask that You have mercy on us as individuals, families, communities, churches and related associations, government, businesses and as a country.
Lord, You told Israel “… Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. The flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43: 1-3, NIV).
Lord, we acknowledge You as our God and Saviour. We are trusting You to keep us in safety as we face the many fiery darts of challenges that aim at us. Lord, at times the challenges escalate to the point where we feel like we are drowning. So fill us with Your presence and let us see the work of Your hands in our experiences.
Lord, You said to the people of Israel: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. (Isaiah 45:15-16, NIV).
As a country, we face the challenges of Covid-19, death of loved ones, losses of differing kinds, vaccinations, economic downturns, crime and violence including domestic disputes and abuse. We face challenges in the education system and some of our youths have become hopeless. Other nations are faced with similar challenges, as well as volcanic eruptions (St. Vincent and the Grenadines).
You are the God of hope, You do not run away and leave your people. You are the God of comfort, You are the God of compassion. Your compassion never ceases, even though we have been disobedient. Lord, you remain faithful.
Lord, even in the midst of the challenges there are those people who rage mercilessly against others. There are those people who have hearts of stone. Lord, do a transforming work in the hearts and minds of those persons. Take away their hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh. Do what is necessary for them to submit to Your will.
Lord, we are aware that we do not fight against flesh and blood but principalities and powers and wickedness in high places. So crush the head of the enemy that rages war against us; and cause it that every thought, tongue and weapon that is formed against us be defeated.
Lord, hear the cries of Your servants. From the ends of the earth, we cry unto You. Almighty God, we cry unto You. So, Lord, attend unto our prayers and answer. O God, lead us we ask. Guide and guard our paths. Grant wisdom, discernment, strength and courage to our leaders. Fill them with bowels of compassion. Cause it that they do not act in their own interest but in the interest of others. Lord, renew the right spirit within them so that we can live in peace and safety. We also ask for Your extraordinary protection over frontline workers.
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.
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, Leighton Logan; 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.
Remember those who are hurting such as Sister Darlene Jones and her family who mourn the loss of her aunt.
We pray also for those who are ill and feeling lost. We pray for Your hand of healing upon them, especially Brother Cornel and Sister Lorraine Richards and their families. O God, we lift up his brother Donovan who did surgery and his brother Ludlow who was positively diagnosed with the Covid-19 Virus. Hear O Lord, and help this family. Have mercy on them and restore, O God, restore them.
Lord, have mercy and deliver us from the disasters that rage. Comfort our hearts and envelop us with Your love, in the name of Jesus Christ 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.