The Prayer of Encouragement for 8 November
Brother Matthew McPherson offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 8 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.
In the last writing I started looking at the prophet Jeremiah’s emotional swings that at times seemed to be conflicting. This concerned his thoughts and the impact on his behaviour towards the peoples and nations in his time, including the Israelites. I noted that he expressed a depth of love for his people, that is, the people of Israel. Yet in one breath he asked for God’s wrath on the nations who worshiped idols, and peoples who did not call on His name (Jeremiah 10). In another breath, he appealed to God for mercy on his people during a time of drought and famine (Jeremiah 14). He demonstrated that emotions will come for some of us as we do ministry, and they may be conflicting.
One may say it seemed that at times he wanted to forgive some persons. At other times he wanted to see persons severely punished. Would this have been okay? I suppose if people refused to acknowledge and call on God they deserve punishment. Where does that leave us today though as it relates to the second covenant concerning the coming of Jesus Christ? Do we take the approach of calling down God’s wrath? Can we stand to see God’s wrath? Should Jesus Christ’s entry on earth, in the form of man, change that approach? I used to wonder at times, how do we pray for the wicked who continue in their wicked ways? I find that my reliance on the Holy Spirit has helped me to become more centred on accountability, revelations and change. These are questions for us to process individually or in our groups.
As I continue to look at Jeremiah’s emotional turmoil, I note that he seemed to struggle with self- relationship (intra) and his relationship with God. I noted in one instance that he prayed for God to discipline him but not in His anger. He was afraid of being terminated if God had done so in anger. It seemed he was asking for God’s mercy. He said
“Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure— not in your anger, or you will reduce me to nothing.”Jeremiah 10:23-24 (NIV)
Brethren, hear me out. I have no plans whatsoever to ask God to discipline me. Life is already hard. I choose to ask for mercy. What would you do?
Yet, in the same breath Jeremiah was asking for God’s wrath on the nations who did not acknowledge Him, and the peoples who did not call on His name. You may note that he had asked for God’s mercy for himself but not for the other people, in this instance. He said:
“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)
Let us go to another struggle of Jeremiah. He questioned his own existence and cursed the day that he was born. He said “Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed. Cursed be the man who brought my father the news. Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?” (Jeremiah 20:14-15, 18, NIV). Jeremiah seemed hopeless, and in distress because of what he had to witness and participate in as a prophet. In the next couple of weeks we will have a further look at some of those experiences and his responses.
Was Jeremiah alone on his journey? No! He had support, but you may note that he still had to contend with his own emotions and behaviour as it relates to self, God and the responses of those people around him. The scripture tells us that Jeremiah had an assistant, Baruch, who wrote the prophecies or preached for him. In those days they were referred to as scribes. He seemed to have been more than just a scribe but provided support to Jeremiah. Some persons referred to him as Jeremiah’s secretary, close associate or friend (Jeremiah 32; 36; 43; 45).
When you think of Jeremiah’s outburst in his distress, who else comes to your mind? I thought about some of what Job had to say concerning his existence. Like Jeremiah:
“Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. He said “May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’ That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it.” (Job 3:1-4, NIV).Job 3:1-4 (NIV)
Wow! Do you see the comparison between Jeremiah’s and Job’s outburst? I wondered if they meant it? Could it be that they just felt tired of the pain and struggles and concluded that based on the people’s response, it was not worthwhile? Could it be that they felt like life had sent punches that were rolling at them without a relief? It appeared that they both felt helpless and hopeless as they suffered during their life’s journey.
As I reflect on the lives of those men, I think about current times and the responses that we get when our emotions are manifested. Jeremiah was a prophet being used by God but he had so many emotional challenges. Yet, he continued to do the work of God, and God continued to use him. If we had a “Jeremiah” as one of our leaders would we try to silence him, or get rid of him? This is very interesting. What do you have to say?
Let us pray.
Today’s prayer is led by Matthew McPherson. He is 14 years of age and also a member of Grace Youth in Praise, which extends to Grace Teens in Praise.
Lord, we thank you for your love and mercy. We ask for your forgiveness and mercy, as we come in the name of Jesus Christ.
Lord, we pray for what’s happening right now and how hard it is for the churches to manage throughout this time of COVID-19.
Lord, we ask you to cover the members and staff at Grace Missionary Church and the whole church family from getting the tragic Covid-19 disease. We at Grace, Lord, are asking you to protect us as we go to various places. We ask you Lord to keep the church family safe, especially the sick and shut in. So as we come to a time of prayer we ask you to cover us with your blood and keep us safe. We also pray for the other churches in Jamaica and the members to keep their surroundings clean and safe.
Lord, remember those among us who are on the usual sick and shut-in list, as well as Sisters Iris Lawrence, Lelith James, Jennifer Nicholson, Virginia Muir, Marville (Cherry) Murray (Sister Iris Lawrence’s daughter), Janet Chen-Young, Joyce Bailey, Lucille Alexander, Jhada Graham, Ethlyn Atkins, Cherrie Lee, Brother George Gabbidon, Brother Cornel Richards, Mr. Alan Ashley (Sister Dawn Ashley’s father) and Andrew Robinson (Sister Claire Robinson’s son), Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr. Isaiah Japp, and any family member who is currently struggling with the Covid-19 virus.
Lord, we also pray for your continued comfort for the family of Mrs. Desmay Roomes (Elder John Roomes’ mother). Help them to hold on to the hope of life eternal, as they mourn.
Dear Lord, help the children who are small and big. We ask that you guide them in the right direction. Help them to understand that whatever decision the parents make they should obey during this time.
We also pray for the leaders of our country especially, 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 also remember the judges in our congregation: Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie. Lord, help them to be the leaders our country needs at this time.
So Lord, we ask you to keep everyone safe. Lord, all of those people who are out there who need help, send someone to give them a helping hand because everyone needs to survive. Therefore, we ask you to fulfil this prayer in Jesus’ precious and holy name 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.