The Prayer of Encouragement for 9 July
Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 9 July 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 grateful to God Almighty for His word, which sustains us through all of the many challenges that we may face in life. Regardless of the meal that life serves us, I am grateful that His word encourages us to be consistent partakers in His kingdom. I am grateful that His word guides us in what we say and do. I am grateful that His word provides us with examples of those who bear good and bad fruit so that we can make the distinction.
Life is filled with ups and downs and we may encounter the temperate or hots and colds that it brings. We may readily take the temperate but try to eliminate the hots and colds. The fact is that when the hots or colds hit us, we tend to give in to the battles of life. We may retreat and surrender, especially when we are persistently faced with afflictions and attacks. Our lips become heavy so we find it difficult to speak the word of God and look to Him in prayer. Our thoughts and attitudes tell us that we are too tired to continue so we may want to give up or become passive.
Yet, there is an expectation that we will continue to aim at bearing good fruit and accomplish our purpose. At times we may be on a path to bearing really good fruits. However, the unfairness of the world that we live in may cause us to tell ourselves that it makes no sense in trying or continuing. When this happens, the fruits that we bear may become blighted.
We tend not to talk about a blighted fruit but emphasize whether it is good or bad. One could categorise a blighted fruit in certain ways. I have seen where many of us eat some blighted fruits, especially blighted mangoes. It does not taste as wholesome as the good fruit but could be placed in a category that falls between good and bad. Then again, some become blighted from early so they could be categorised as bad. Some of the time, we may pick the fruit too early so it may become blighted. Even then, we cannot ignore the fact that some of us also bear bad fruits.
How would you describe a blighted fruit? One could say it is a diseased or injured fruit. This may cause it to be impaired or destroyed. It may become withered. I am thinking, could it be that we bear fruits that are blighted because we face certain injuries (mental/physical) in life? This may result in a loss of hope so there is a negative impact on our plans and progress. What makes it more telling is when we have to keep starting over, and this does not seem to have an apparent end.
I recalled the psalmist saying:
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)
I could summarise to say that those of us who do not allow ourselves to be led by sinners or embrace wickedness but find great pleasure in the word of God and allow His word to permeate our mind and heart and life will be like a tree that is constantly sustained so there is no withering. We will bear good fruit so it will be well with us. I am getting the understanding that even if we face injury, we are sustained by living waters, by the Holy Spirit. The question is, could it be that we do not have to bear blighted or bad fruits regardless of our circumstances? Are you bearing blighted or bad fruits? Or, are you bearing good fruits?
I will tell you something. The ackee tree next door to where I live is bearing good, blighted and bad fruits. It is giving me a lot of debris to clean up. I have not been able to get any ackees from it because it mainly hangs over another neighbour’s house but planted in the yard of another. My side is not bearing much good fruit at this time.
As I reflected on this, I am thinking that at times we bear fruits that cause problems for other people. We put people out of their way because of our behaviour. Even when we are wrong, we get other people on our side. At times, due to the lack of solid proof or what may be accepted as societal norms some of us get away with what we do to cause problems for others. We may be foolish enough though to think that God will not judge us but we must never forget that He remains a God of justice. It may appear otherwise but He is a God of justice!
Guess what? There is a banana tree next door to me that has shot out its fruit. The bunch of bananas is hanging directly over my side. A few of the leaves also hang over but the root and trunk are by my neighbour who planted it. I wondered, is the fruit mine? Just, wondering. I do not intend to own the fruit. I thought about the fact that one man planted but the fruit is bearing in another’s man’s vicinity. A question came to my mind, is it that our fruit is not moving in the right direction? Can we change the path of our fruit to ensure that it achieves its true purpose?
As I continued in my reflection, I am reminded of certain kings and what was said about them. I thought about “… Amaziah, son of Joash, king of Judah…reign. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father David had done. In everything, he followed the example of his father Joash. The high places, however, were not removed. The people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.” (2 Kings 14:1, 3-4, NIV).
We also read where, “…Jeroboam, son of Jehoash king of Israel, became king in Samaria… He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.” (2 Kings 14:23-24, NIV).
Yet we are told that “He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, ….” “The Lord had seen how bitterly everyone in Israel, whether slave or free, was suffering. There was no one to help them. And since the Lord had not said he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Jehoash.” (2 Kings 14:25-27, NIV).
One could say that those kings, and others not mentioned in this writing, bear good and bad fruits. They please God in one way but displease Him in others. What should be our aim? “Think bout it, chat bout it.” What are you going to do about it?
Let us pray:
Almighty God, we thank You for Your mercies that are new each morning. Great is your faithfulness. Lord, as individuals, families, communities, the vulnerable ones among us, leaders of all spheres of life, businesses, workers especially those who are on the frontline, and our country as a whole, we thank You for Your continued sustenance. We thank You for Your continued coverage over us.
Lord, we acknowledge Your greatness, Your omnipotence, Your omniscience and Your omnipresence. Lord, we praise and honour Your awesome works that we see each morning. Great is Your faithfulness.
Lord, we ask that in the name of Jesus Christ You have mercy on us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Forgive all of our sins and make us worthy vessels in Your sight. Lord, help us to forgive those who wronged us and turn around and spitefully use us to correct their wrongful behaviours.
Lord, we think about those in Haiti, Canada, Japan, Africa and other places faced with excess challenges that go way beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. Also, those countries that will contend with the hurricanes that will emerge during this season. Lord, help us to look to You because power and might are in Your hands.
As I continue in prayer, I am led to pray Psalm 12:
Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
2 Everyone lies to their neighbour;
they flatter with their lips
but harbour deception in their hearts.
3 May the Lord silence all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue—
4 those who say,
“By our tongues, we will prevail;
our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”
5 “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord.
“I will protect them from those who malign them.”
6 And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver purified in a crucible,
like gold refined seven times.
7 You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
and will protect us forever from the wicked,
8 who freely strut about when what is vile is honoured by the human race.
(Psalm 12, NIV)
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 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, Vernon Jones, Leighton Logan; 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, comfort our troubled hearts and grant unto us Your peace. Hear, O Lord, and answer in Jesus’ name we pray with thanksgiving.
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.