Little Brother Nathan McPherson offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 6 November 2020 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers.
My Brothers, Sisters and Friends we hope that you are well. However, if not, please let us know.
I have been thinking about the way we do ministry as part of life and how we deal with the conflicts and challenges that emerge from time to time. In particular, of concern is our relationship with each other, self, and God. Of course, a main area of concern is how we deal with conflicts as a church and families; and whether or not we forgive as Christ demonstrated and instructed. In recent times I have been focusing on some of those things that cause or give rise to lack of forgiveness or the need to forgive.
I wanted to somewhat continue along that path. I felt the need to really have a look at the life of some persons who God used and the way they responded to the consequences of obedience to His purpose. I thought about what we currently endure and those things that some characters we read about had to commit their entire lives to do. I consider the level of sacrifice made by them, and the pain they had to process. I am pulled to the conflict of thoughts that came from them.
I am thinking that the behaviours of humankind have not radically changed. Notwithstanding this thought, I am asking some questions. Could it be that humankind’s will and desires to persevere and endure have changed? Could it be that our ability and will to aim at dissipating tension and oversensitivity have not been in line with God’s expectations? Or could it be that the way we have been nurtured in the process of socialisation has changed? These are questions that we can process in our own time and groups.
However, as I reflect my thoughts has taken me to the prophet Jeremiah. He seemed to have been a complicated character for a number of reasons. He was told by God that before he was born he was chosen to be a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:4-5). Jeremiah never had the confidence to speak, which would have been essential to the life of a prophet (Jeremiah 1:6). Unlike Moses, he was not given an Aaron to help him; (Exodus 4:10; 7:1-2). He had to follow God’s instruction and trust Him.
Why did I say Jeremiah was so complicated and conflicting in thoughts and actions? I noted a couple of issues from Jeremiah. He was the son of a priest, he would have been exposed to a certain lifestyle. He was sent to warn the people because of their stiff-neck behaviour. They were disobedient. They were basically warned to obey God’s instruction or face consequences (Jeremiah 7:20-25).
Jeremiah expressed compassion at times. It would seem he forgave and wanted God to forgive the people. I noticed though that there were times he wanted God’s wrath on them. He stated; “Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people;” (Jeremiah 9:1, NIV). What a poetic outlay? It seemed like a bloom of love for his people just burst out of him.
The Lord told him not to pray for the people. The Lord said; “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you (Jeremiah 7:16, NIV). In his anger, he echoed a harsh request against the people. Jeremiah was angry with the people and asked God to; “Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the peoples who do not call on your name. For they have devoured Jacob; they have devoured him completely and destroyed his homeland (Jeremiah 10: 25, NIV).
Yet, Jeremiah’s compassion seemed to have burned for his people. He told the Lord; “Although our sins testify against us, do something, Lord, for the sake of your name. For we have often rebelled; we have sinned against you (Jeremiah 14:7-9, NIV). You will note that like Nehemiah, Jeremiah did not exclude himself from the prayer (Nehemiah 1).
Jeremiah warned the people but they continued in disobedience, which impacted his reaction to them; as well as their response.
“Remnant of Judah, the Lord has told you, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Be sure of this: I warn you today that you made a fatal mistake when you sent me to the Lord your God and said, ‘Pray to the Lord our God for us; tell us everything he says and we will do it.’ I have told you today, but you still have not obeyed the Lord your God in all he sent me to tell you. So now, be sure of this: You will die by the sword, famine and plague in the place where you want to go to settle.”Jeremiah 42:19-22 (NIV)
One may say that Moses encountered a similar experience. The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord (Exodus 19:8, NIV). When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” (Exodus 24:3, NIV). Yet later on their journey they asked Aaron to build them gods. This resulted in the building of the “Golden Calf.” Moses was angered when he returned and saw the festivities that took place (Exodus 32:19). Moses went back to the Lord and appealed on behalf of the people (Exodus 32:32).
Jeremiah also had personal conflicts and appeal to the Lord on his own behalf. He even cursed and questioned his own existence. Yet he continued to achieve God’s purpose. He was consulted by kings but was persecuted in some harsh ways within the same kingdom. He held on to doing ministry but it was a tumultuous journey for him. What a life? It makes you want to take a deep breath.
We will continue to talk about these and other issues surrounding Jeremiah’s ministry. As we reflect on his life; and the way we do ministry; may God help us to reflect on our lives. Like Jeremiah, we may demonstrate conflicting thoughts and behaviour but where does it lead us? Where has it led Jeremiah? I pray that we will allow His Holy Spirit to help us as we proceed.
Let us pray
Today’s prayer is led by Nathan McPherson. Nathan is 11 years of age. He is a member of our Youth in Praise Ministry.
Prayer for Jamaica
Dear Lord, we thank you for each day. We ask that you forgive our sins and help us to be better persons.
Lord, we pray for the blessing of our government especially the Ministry of Health and its workers, who have to work so hard during this pandemic when we need them most.
We remember 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; Jhenell 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 pray for the children who have difficulties getting onto the online classes because of a lack of devices and internet issues.
Lord, we ask for your blessing on the homeless who need someone to provide for them and give them the necessary support to keep them happy and safe.
Dear Lord, we ask that you bless all the people who have lost their jobs during this pandemic. We ask that you provide new jobs and opportunities that will help to take care of themselves and families. We pray for business and church leaders that you will give that the tools they need to get good results.
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. We remember the judges in our congregation; Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie.
Business leaders in our congregation: 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.
Lord, we ask that you comfort those who mourn especially our Elder John Roomes and family who lost their mother.
Lord, we ask that you provide healing and comfort to our sick and shut-ins and those who are having great difficulties at this time.
Almighty Father, I ask you to bless the Minister of National Security, other leaders, and all those persons having to risk their lives for Jamaica to keep us safe. Lord, help those who rob, kill and steal to find a better way in life so that we live in peace.
We want to pray for all the people who have not known you yet to accept you as our dear Father in heaven. We pray to you with thanksgiving in the name of Jesus Christ.
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.