Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 30 May 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.
I am grateful to God for the privilege of being His Child. It feels so good to be on His side knowing that He is my ever-constant companion. He is barely a breath away. When His presence envelopes me, I feel hugged. When His voice encourages and guides me, I feel valued. I am so grateful that regardless of what may be said and done to me He affirms me in so many different ways. I am ever grateful that He has the last word concerning me, my life, and I am glad that I belong to Him all the way. Thank You, Father God, for Your Holy Spirit.
I noticed that when I am on the wrong path, He takes me back on course. He even shows me the consequences and causes me to feel uncomfortable. There were times when I tried to justify my actions and make myself comfortable but He always woke me out of that state. I realised that when I am on the right side doing the right thing but faced with unkindness and grief, He expects me to show compassion to those who constantly wronged me. Although I could respond in ways that are not necessarily right, I am learning to keep on the right side, His side, and let Him do what is in my best interest. Let me tell you, I need Him so much. Lord, I need You.
I pray that you will feel the presence of God in your life. I pray that you will recognise and acknowledge the need for Him in all that you think, say and do. May He bless, favour and keep you in and through all things.
You know, one morning this week I tried to get out of the house quickly to deal with a matter. It was early and inside the house was not properly lit. I do not like to turn on too many of the lights because I am conserving electricity. When I opened the gate to leave, I looked down and realised that the pant that I had on was on the wrong side. Tell you what, I went back inside the house twice before. I really considered for a moment whether or not to change it. Knowing me, I had to change it, so I did.
As I reflected on the pants being on the wrong side I thought about the many times that we find ourselves on the wrong side, doing what does not please God. Even as we try to carry out His will and purpose, we can easily slip on the wrong side, doing the wrong thing in the midst of thinking that we are doing the right thing. You may recall in a recent post, where I looked at what the apostle Paul shared concerning his struggles to do good but ended up doing wrong. “…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” (Romans 7:18-20, NIV). Paul did not stop there in his disposition. He went on to say a lot of things throughout his writings.
Paul further suggested that there was a battle going on in his mind, his head. He had to make a choice for God or the evil that tried to hold him in bondage, making him a slave to sin. Paul acknowledged that his desire was to be on God’s side. He delighted in doing so. Here Brother Paul said “…although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” (Romans 7:21-22, NIV).
One could also say that Paul spoke of the work of the flesh as against the Spirit. He could not trust the flesh, which succumbed to the sinful nature. He questioned himself. Paul wondered how he could reconcile the struggles of his experiences. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:24, NIV).
Yet, in the very thought process, he seemed to have reached a resolve which brought him peace. He was grateful. “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25, NIV). Paul realised that he had to keep deciding on whether to be in bondage to sin or be on God’s side. He depicted a demeanour of having closeness, honouring, constant communion and being at God’s disposal as important to counteract the thought, attitude and behaviour of the sinful nature. He seemed to have recognised that the slave-like demeanour of the sinful nature called into focus the need for a similar demeanour to counteract it.
Paul also realised that on his own, accomplishing the requirements of the law was a struggle. He was happy for Jesus Christ who delivered Him through grace, through death on the cross. This assisted him in resolving his question. It was Jesus Christ who rescued him. He then felt that “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4, NIV).
Brother Paul alluded to the fact that what the law could not do to deal with the behaviour of the flesh, the death of Jesus Christ did through the work of the Holy Spirit. This is what rescued the “wretched man” (Romans 7:24, NIV). He was no longer subject to death through sin but life, which gave him freedom through the death of Jesus Christ and by the work of the Holy Spirit. Even when he faltered, he knew that there was no condemnation. He acknowledged the need to not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
You know, my pant was on the wrong side and I had to decide to change it for numerous reasons that you may consider. When you find yourself on the wrong side, do you change course? As you go through life’s journeys, have you been a slave to the flesh or the Spirit? Do you rely on the Spirit of God to guide you knowing that He has forgiven you and will forgive you? Yet, do you continue in sin? “Think bout it, chat bout it” What are you going to do about it?
Let us pray:
Almighty God, we thank You for the sacrifice that You made so that we can have eternal life. It is because of Your grace that we are not consumed. We thank You for Your faithfulness.
Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, asking that You forgive all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Lord, we thank You.
Today we pray the words of the psalmist (Psalm 103):
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbour his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you His angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you His servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
(Psalm 103, NIV).
Lord, we ask for Your continued mercy upon us Provide, protect, heal, guide, direct and favour us as individuals, families, communities, Churches, government, businesses and our country as a whole.
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 remember also 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 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), Sister Jennifer Japp who mourns the loss of her father, Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr Isaiah Japp, Mr, Delorn Dixon (Sister Rachael Dixon’s husband), Brother Roy Reynolds and family who mourn the loss of a sibling, Brother Cornel Richards and family who mourn the loss of his mother, Mrs Eunice Richards; Sister Ann Logan and family who mourn the loss of her mother, Sister Jennifer Jap who mourn the loss of her father; and any member or family member who is in need of healing and comfort. Lord, grant healing, strength and peace.
Lord, fill us afresh each day with a sense of hope, peace and compassion. Hear our cries for help and attend to our prayers we ask 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.