Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 6 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 extremely grateful to God for the leading of His Holy Spirit. I do not always understand everything that the Holy Spirit says to me. At times it may seem off or confusing but I also noted that He provides clarity especially if I persistently seek Him. I recently recalled the Holy Spirit telling me to pray concerning something just as I was getting out of my sleep but I could not figure it out. I discussed it with a couple of people but it made no sense to us. It was like a puzzle.
Anyway, there was a clue in what was said so I did some research and based on the clue, I began praying. However, on that same evening, I was in a brief sleep when the instruction was repeated as I was waking up. I concluded that praying about the clue was not enough. I wondered, what should I do? So I prayed for clarity and realised that initially, I was interpreting one word as two.
When I realised what the Holy Spirit was saying to me I did some research. What I learned was scary. I called for the assistance of others and we went into prayer. Usually, the Holy Spirit tells me that things are revealed not for me to be afraid but to be informed so that I can know what to do concerning certain situations. The key is for us to constantly seek God and He will lead us in the way that we should go. It is also critical for us to be clear about what God is saying and not draw our own conclusions. It means that we need to persistently seek Him.
Remember that He walks life’s path with us, and carries us as a shepherd carries His sheep, especially when we get weak and weary. God is the kind of Shepherd who knows His sheep and the needs of each. He is the kind of Shepherd who does not run away and leave His sheep. He does not consider himself to be a hired hand so He is not depending on a salary increase. Nor is His performance set based on the expectation of humankind. We displeased Him many times but because of His grace and mercy, He sticks with us and continues to love us.
I tell you something. Some years ago I met a young man on the street. He was trying to wipe the glass of a number of cars but he got negative responses. He was angry and would either spill water at the cars and expressed his displeasure. I watched him for a while manifesting that type of behaviour. I was led to speak with him. So one day I stopped my car, called and spoke with him. I told him that maybe he would get more positive responses if he was polite and treated the people with respect. I was a bit surprised when he thanked me. For some years now I have been travelling the same route, and I have seen the change in him. Usually, I give him some cash whether or not I let him wipe my car glass.
In recent years I saw him with a little boy. There were times when the child sits on the grass area, a fairly safe area on the side of the road. The child was usually deep in reading his books. I recalled one day having a conversation with him and he said that there has to be a break in what is happening to his generation. He said that things must change and he was committing to ensure that his child brought change.
I recalled one day he said that money was needed to purchase some white shirts because he was taking the child to another primary school. He got him into a school that would be better for him. He came out early in the morning to get some cash by wiping car glass. I gave him some cash to assist with at least one shirt. He even told me to fold the “big” money that I gave him.
Another morning I was driving past and I noticed that the child was dressed for school but should have been there already. I told him to send the child with me, so I took him to school that morning. I continued to give him funds as I passed by. Guess what! A number of other people assisted him.
I also remember him saying that he was doing a short course in graphics and got a few projects every now and again. Someone had assisted him with that course. He still had to be on the road to fill the gaps. I suppose it would be more profitable for him to wipe car glass than to do some other jobs in addition to the odd projects.
Why did I tell you the story of this young man and his son? Recently, I passed by and he gave me some excellent news about his son. The son passed his national exams for entrance into a well-recognised high school with an average in the high nineties. Today, I give God all of the glory for the people who He sent to assist this young man and his son. I congratulated him as a father who decided and insisted that his child was going to make a change. He wanted the next generation in his lineage to experience at least a certain level of independence. He recognised that education was the route so he proceeded on that path and has been a committed father.
Many times we do not understand a life story. We do not take time to hear the story but decide on it, and even conclude the plot all by ourselves. So we miss an opportunity to be part of a bigger picture. We may see people through our naked eyes and not the way Christ sees them. We may not allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit.
Yes, there are many people on the street who will exploit you at a wink so it has to be Spirit-led and discerned. As I thought about the young man and his son, I remembered another young man when I used to travel a particular route. He used to provide lunch money for his cousins from what he collected from wiping car glass. I say it myself. He used to wipe my car glass so I had conversations with him. Just to say too that this young man would literally run or fight anyone who tried to mess with me. One day I had to tell him to cool it. The fact is, it is rough on the street. Anyway, we have to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit so that God’s purpose is accomplished.
As my thoughts continue to roll, I thought about the anointing of David as king of Israel, and the prophet Samuel’s behaviour towards God’s instruction. God told Samuel to go and anoint one of Jesse’s sons to take over from king Saul. The Lord told Samuel, “…Fill your horn with oil and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” (1 Samuel 16:1, NIV). Notice, Samuel was never told which son and there is no evidence that He asked which one was to be anointed. Additionally, Samuel was afraid of what Saul may have done to him. “But Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.’…” (1 Samuel 16:2, NIV).
As the supreme strategist, the Lord told Samuel “…Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.” (1 Samuel 16:2-3, NIV).
Samuel proceeded to assess and decide on his own as most of the sons of Jesse passed by him. He was a prophet who the Lord gave instructions and he had an intellect so why bother God. Yet as a true man of God, he was able to hear God’s rejections of those he chose. He wrote their stories and concluded the plots one by one but God did not approve of those decisions (1 Samuel 16:6-10).
I recalled the Lord’s response when Samuel chose Eliab, one of the sons of Jesse. “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV).
Samuel’s assessment was based on his limited intellect and he was not seeing Eliab through the eyes of God. Neither was he discerning correctly. He did not even seem to have any idea as to what God was looking for in a king. He did not seek God properly or waited for His directive. Remember that the Lord said he will tell him what to do and show him the one to be anointed (1 Samuel 16:3). Each son that was available before him looked okay so he chose him.
Yet the young man who God chose was not on the level that was fitting, that is, in the eyes of the crowd. His own father did not consider much of him. The young man was David. He seemed to have been rejected, kept in the field for extended periods. Even then, God was strengthening him, as He set him up against the beasts of the field.
Samuel asked Jesse if he had other sons. Jesse did not even call his son by name. He said “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” (1 Samuel 16: 11, NIV). “So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him; this is the one.’” (1 Samuel 16: 11, NIV). Surely, he was the one.
Did you make note of God’s assessment? He saw David’s heart. Samuel could not see it. Jesse could not see it. The other brothers could not see it.
What do you look for in people? How do you assess people? Is it done through your eyes or the eyes of the Holy Spirit? Are you driven by what they have, what they can do, and how they can connect for profit? Do you see people as rejects? Do you reject people without a proper assessment through the eyes of the Holy Spirit? Or do you accept people without a proper assessment through the eyes of the Holy Spirit? Do you allow yourself to be treated as a reject? Do you accept the label of a reject? What does God have to say about it? “Think bout it, chat bout it.” What are you going to do about it?
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your grace and mercy on us as individuals, families, communities, businesses, general workers, frontline workers, government and our country as a whole. Lord, You are an awesome God! Hallelujah!
Not to us Lord, but to Your name we give all of the glory, honour and praise because of Your love and faithfulness. Lord, we thank You for the success of our athletes who are at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan and their continued sustenance.
Lord, we praise Your name both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, Your name is to be praised. Lord, You are exalted above the heavens and the earth and nothing is impossible for You. Hallelujah!
As we come in the name of Jesus Christ, we ask that as individuals, families, communities, businesses, general workers, frontline workers, government and a country as a whole have mercy on us. Forgive all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Lord, forgive us for rejecting those who You have called us to help. Take away our hearts of stone and grant unto us hearts of flesh that are obedient to Your will and way.
Lord, help us to look out for each other and not be weary in well-doing, to be compassionate. Help us to forgive others as you forgive us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from all evil.
Lord, help us to celebrate those who succeed in academic excellence such as our children who passed their PEP exams for high school; Sharine Willis who completed the Bar exam at Norman Manley Law School and Esther Reynolds who completed her Doctor of Medicine degree at the School of Medicine, U.W.I., Mona. We pray for continued excellence throughout their life’s journey. Lord, we pray for Your provision and protection over them. We pray that they will be consistent people of integrity who acknowledge you in all they say and do.
Lord, help us to embrace our freedom as individuals, families, communities, businesses, general workers, frontline workers, government and a country as a whole. Help us to exercise our freedom by being constructive citizens who are independent but working together for the good of humankind, and ultimately for Your glory.
Lord, we lift up those who are emotionally disturbed and physically challenged in one way or another due to the Covid-19 pandemic; volcanic eruptions; wildfires etc. We pray especially for the citizens and leaders of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Lord, have mercy on them and grant peace over that country and its people.
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, Esther Reynolds, Vernon Jones, Leighton Logan; Medical student, 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.
Lord, we continue to pray for those who mourn; Sister Joyce Campbell and family, those who are hospitalised (Deacon Loy), and the sick and shut-ins especially Sisters Nicole Evans and Kadene Stewart. We ask that You will comfort every heart and mind. Let Your peace fill us afresh. We ask all of these with thanksgiving, in Jesus’ name.
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.