Prayer of Encouragement, Voices of Youths, 2022

The Prayer of Encouragement for 6 June

Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 6 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.

Have you ever felt alone? I mean, even in the midst of a crowd, have you ever felt alone? I have been told by people that they felt alone, even when other people were around them. You know, on further examination of my life, I realised that I have felt that way too. We can go through life being part of various groups because of certain shared interests. We may feel alone even when we are with some family members; doing school, church, as well as some of the people we share spaces with at work and otherwise.

Do you know what could have possibly given rise to the loneliness felt? I have come to realise, based on talking with other people and assessing my own life, that there are significant differences in the way some of us view life, our thought processes and attitudes; and our behavioural patterns. Many times, there may be a disconnect and we end up with a conflict in beliefs and values, as well as the way we think and do life. Some people do not allow those things to bother them because they are driven by success or just plain arrogance.

 At times, success may entail turning other people into a ladder to climb its hills and beat them up as you go along the path. The world may define success by the things we have accomplished. The focus may be on success and not building genuine relationships, not valuing self, not valuing people and not honouring God. Oh no, please do not read me wrong. Success is a good thing. The issue is how we get there. Is it pleasing unto God? Does it honour Him?

What about those people who end up feeling lonely in the success? Some of them realised that their version of success resulted in vanity and brought on them vexation of spirit. They become miserable. When I observe certain experiences around me I thank God for the bad times. What is wrong with me? How can I say such a thing?

You see, enduring the bad experience can lead to the greater good. It is through the valleys that we find ourselves more submissive and there is a greater need for God. At times the pause button is pressed on our lives. The times we could not ordinarily find for God and the things of God are found in the valley experiences. So we emerge with greater strength and conviction. Still, if we are not careful, we can keep retreating to our old ways.

I pray that you will aim for success but diligently and constantly seek God’s direction. May you experience success, not as the world does but according to God’s guidance and timeline. May He bless and keep you, and may His favour always be upon you.

You know something else. I saw a plant on one of my walks about a month ago. This plant consists of a shrub but bears beautiful flowers. Most of those that I have seen were usually red in colour but I noticed that the flower on this one was a light yellow almost like a cream. This colour may be popular in some places but personally, the red ones are what I have mainly seen. Something struck me about this Ixora plant. One could say that it was about 99 per cent shrub because in the midst of it was one stem of the flower. I mean, one stem. I pointed it out to my walking partner, and she said that there were other flowers lower down on the shrub. We were quickly passing but that was what I noticed. We kept passing it but because we were talking and moving quickly, I did not get a chance to really look and point out to her the exact picture. Anyway, eventually, I got the chance to stop and examine the plant, and it was exactly how I previously described it.

You know, like the lone stem of the Ixora flower, at times we may find ourselves standing alone in situations and among people. We may even feel alone and not sure whether or not we have what it takes to make a difference in our situations, among others, and in the world. Like the not so popular colour of the yellow/cream Ixora flower, our colour may be an issue to some persons or to us. Instead of focusing on our uniqueness, what set us apart, finding out about our gifts and abilities and God’s will, we may want to be like the popular red Ixora. We may want to harmonise with the choir, which was not based on God’s design. In all of this approach, we hinder our success according to God’s plan.

As I reflected, I am reminded of two passages of scriptures. One of those passages dealt with the life of king Asa, and the other the apostle John’s letter to Gaius in 3 John. King Asa came from a history of kings of Judah who did wrong in the sight of God. His father was king Abijah who committed all of the sins that “…his father did before him. His heart was not fully committed to the Lord.” (1 Kings 15:3, NIV). King Asa ruled for forty-one years. He was not prepared to follow the ways of his forefathers. “He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made.” (1 Kings 15:12, NIV). He deposed his very grandmother, Maakah, from the title of queen mother (“…because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah…” (1 Kings 15:13, NIV)).

King Asa was on the move to please and honour God during his lifetime. He was not perfect but one may say acceptable as his heart was mainly in the right place. “Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life…” (1 Kings 15:13, NIV). He was not hampered by who was doing wrong. Neither did he allow himself to be thrown off by the ways of his ancestors. His heart was for God and the things of God. This was his focus even if it meant that he stood alone. When the need arises, are you prepared to stand alone? Are you prepared to be selfless for God and deal with whatever comes? Do you allow the work of the flesh to prevail over what is supposed to be in your heart? Do you want to harmonise with the choir?

I also reflected on what John, the elder, said to Gaius in 3 John. This passage of scripture is where the Lord kept taking me over so many years now. It also brought home to me part of the reason for my experiences. The world’s definition of prosper is attached to success in relation to physical accomplishments. Again, do not get me wrong, success can be a good thing. John’s focus was aimed at the depth of the inner man, the soul of the man. This came out in one of the blessings that John bestowed on Gaius who he thought was a faithful servant of God. It is believed that John was aged at the time he wrote 3 John. He would have had numerous experiences.

John said, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 2, NIV). The NKJV used the word “prosper”. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2, NIV). This was the version I knew before embracing the NIV.

However, it is believed that the NIV has the more accurate version and signifies that prosperity goes beyond the physical things. One could say that the success of the inner man sets the pace for physical success under God. We could also say that a critical requirement is having a heart for God and the things of God. Where is your heart concerning God, people and the things of God? “Think bout it, chat bout it” What are you going to do about it?

Let us pray:

Almighty God, we thank You for Your love, Your grace and mercy. We thank You that in the midst of our confusion, You see our beauty and you understand. Lord, even when we do not see the need to appreciate and accept ourselves, You are waiting with open arms to accept us as Your children regardless of our physical appearances and our circumstances. We thank You, Lord.

Lord, You spoke of the parable of the lost sheep and the earnest search for the lost coin. You emphasized the need to find those who are lost and bring them into the fold. The one person who is out there in need of You. Heaven rejoices over one soul that is saved. Lord, You place such great value on us. We are grateful.

 Lord, we thank You for the assurance that You are not a hired hand so You will not run away and leave Your sheep. You will search for them and bind up their wounds, heal their brokenness. Those who look at You are radiant and their faces are never covered with shame. Lord, we are grateful.

We will extol You, Lord at all times. Your praise will always be on our lips. We will glory in you, Lord. Let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Let us glorify the Lord, let us exalt His name together.

Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, thanking You for sustaining us as individuals, families, communities, Churches, government, businesses and our country as a whole. We ask that You have mercy on us, cleanse us from all unrighteousness and make us worthy vessels in Your sight. Out of the depths, we cry. Hear O Lord and have mercy.

Lord, at times our hearts bleed when we hear and see the evil that besets us. We pray for the strength of mind and spirit to do Your will. Cause it that we make the right decisions concerning our individual lives, families, communities, Churches, government, businesses and our country as a whole. We pray for guidance, good governance, compassion, wisdom, discernment, the right attitude and selflessness in all that we say and do.

Lord, we present to You all those who exploit others for selfish gains. We pray that You will turn their hearts to You. Lord, cut off those networks that fuel wrongdoing and dry up all of their resources.

Lord, remember our youths and others who are preparing for exams at this time, those who are in need of summer jobs and jobs just to make ends meet. Attend unto the needs of our people. Lord, we ask that You continue to keep us as a country and protect us from every form and element of evil.

We remember those who are experiencing physical and emotional disturbances in body and mind. Lord, apply Your oil of healing and clothe us with Your garment of praise. Empower and sustain us as we take this rough phase of life. Out of the depths, we cry. Hear O Lord and have mercy.

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 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),

Lord, we lift up to You our 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 mourns 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 each day with a new 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.

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