Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 9 May 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.
I am so grateful to God for helping me to understand His will and the need to have a close relationship with Him. I am grateful for the challenges that He either placed in my path or allowed me to go through as I take life’s journey. Thank you, Lord. I must say that I was not happy with certain challenges but I am grateful for the lessons learned and the growth that I experienced as a child of God.
I am still cognizant of the fact that there is a process that the Lord may require me to go through as I learn and pursue His purpose for my life. A regular assessment and evaluation of my relationship with Him is critical to my existence and will mitigate the possibility of me faltering. Therefore, I am relying on the work of the Holy Spirit and the mercies of God. I pray that in all circumstances, He will keep and sustain me as I strive to achieve the purpose that He has set for my life.
May you understand the will of God for your life. May you realise the need for a constant and persistently close relationship with Him. May you see the need for transparency and accountability; and allow the Holy Spirit to guide an assessment and evaluation of your relationship with God. May you submit to His guidance and be open to the changes that are required. May you constantly and purposefully seek Him in all that you think, say and do. May His favour and blessings be upon you.
Last Friday I spoke about a tree on part of the boundary where I currently live and some of the issues that exist because of where it is located. I indicated that the root of the tree was in one yard, and most of the top part of the tree was hanging over another yard with a little on the side where I live. Another thing is that the tree comes with a lot of debris. I would say more than 90 per cent of the fruit is not accessible on the side where the root of the tree is located.
My thoughts about the tree have been rolling through my mind. I have been meditating on the idea of whether or not the tree has been accomplishing what the planter intended. If I planted a tree in my yard I expect that it would bring me fruits, and good ones too. I would share the fruit but Lawd man, I would want to be the one who has control over the tree, the entire tree.
I would have been the one who nurtured the tree so I expected that it would be of good use to me. Even if you think that some trees can grow wild in my yard and I had no intention of planting it, the fact that I allowed it to stay means that I still made decisions concerning it. Importantly, it is my yard. Trust me, no tree should just grow in my yard, personal space, and I do not investigate its type and whether or not I want it to remain.
The other issue that came to my thoughts concerning the tree is the impact that it had on the space of others. It would not be my intention for the tree to cause problems for someone else. Then again, would I have given it enough space to grow and develop into its expected size? Was the tree located at the right spot so that it can access the required sunlight? Was it that the tree had to reach out for that sunlight somewhere else and in the process, I lost the magnitude of it? Would it make a difference if I trained the tree to stay in my yard?
As the thoughts came rolling through my mind concerning the tree I thought about a mother and her child. The mother has to be constantly nurturing her child. She has to maintain that closeness and respond to the demands of the child especially in the early years. Yet, the mother has an opportunity to train the child and direct the path for that child. The mother has the opportunity to determine the type of training, the kind of sustenance required and guide the path for socialization etc. If that mother does not pursue her tasks under God’s guidance as is required, like the tree, the child can take the wrong path and not accomplish the purpose set for his/her life. Like the debris of leaves, blossom and branches, that the other neighbour and myself have to contend with, is that child causing a problem for society?
At times, other children may enter into that mother’s life and may require similar demands and closeness as the one she bore. Also, another person may mother/nurture a child but never bore one herself. We may call it an adoption, officially or unofficially. Does the mother allow that child to just grow and go their way or nurture and train him/her with the right level of energy and vigilance? How is that child accepted by others, and the mother?
Yes, my thoughts are really rolling. As I reflected on the tree and the mother and child, I was taken to our Creator, God Almighty. One could say that His role goes beyond that of mother and father but incorporates the two. He has planted us to bear fruit. I am reminded of what the Psalmist said.
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)
The Psalmist (Psalm 1) spoke of a person who takes a path that honours God and constantly stays in His word, allowing it to be processed through mind and spirit and life. One may say that the Psalmist brought into focus the need to maintain a close relationship with God. The Psalmist drew an analogy by comparing the person to a tree, and at the same time personifying the tree by likening it to a person. Wow! This is heavy stuff.
The Psalmist also compares the person who takes the wrong path to the one who takes the right path. He initially stated that good behaviour brings blessings (Psalm 1:1). By stating the results (Psalm 1:3), he gave somewhat of a definition of it. He further alluded to the fact that there would be a downfall for wrongful behaviour, which leads to destruction (Psalm 1:4-6).
You know something, a person can also be on the right path but end up on the wrong path. A couple of weeks ago, I spoke of king Jehu (2 Kings 9-10). Jehu was anointed to be king. He carried out and presided over the tasks of putting an end to Ahab’s family (including Jezebel and Ahab’s 70 sons), Ahab’s servants and the worshippers of Baal. This resulted in the fulfilment of prophecies proclaimed by Elijah (1 Kings 21).
Yet, Jehu lost his way. God created him, and one could say planted him for a powerful purpose. He got rid of Baal and the temple was later used as a toilet (2 Kings 10:27). Jehu went on worshipping another set of gods. “So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.” (2 Kings 10:28-29, NIV).
You see, Jehu was bearing good fruits. He was on the right path for God. He was boldly accomplishing his tasks. Then, he lost his way. I wondered about his relationship with God. How was that relationship maintained? How did he get to the point of bearing the wrong fruit? What led him to do so? Who was responsible for his actions? How about you? What kind of fruit are you bearing? What is the impact of your fruit? How is your relationship with God? Think “bout” it, and chat “bout” it.
Let us pray:
O God Almighty, we thank You for the power of Your word. We thank You for Your mercies that are new each morning. Great is Your faithfulness, O God. We thank You for the air we breathe, that You are our creator, provider and protector. So, Lord, we give You all of the glory, honour and praise. Be magnified O God. You are truly exalted.
Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, asking You to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and forgive all of our sins. Out of the depths of the earth, we cry unto You on behalf of ourselves, families, communities, Churches and related institutions and countries. Hear O Lord, and have mercy.
Lord, we pray for leaders in every facet of our societies; our homes, communities, Churches and related institutions and countries. Grant wisdom, knowledge, boldness, discernment and compassion to those who lead. Lord, cause it that we act selflessly and held accountable for our actions. Open our eyes to see the right path and grant us the courage to take it.
Lord, we pray for Your continued watch over us. For Your protection, provision and guidance as we take the uncertain journeys ahead of us. So turn the hearts of humankind to You and away from wickedness. Lord, nullify the resources and communication network of physical and spiritual wickedness from our path.
Lord, we surrender to You the multiple emotional issues, financial issues, spiritual issues, health issues, educational issues, security issues, social and economic issues that we have to deal with on a daily basis. Instil hope and help us to act in the best interest of others, and not only ourselves. Also, help us to support each other and stand up for justice. Help us to bear good fruit. Hear O Lord, and answer.
Lord, we lift up to you the leaders in 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 remember those who are not well especially Jonathan and Kaylee Baldie, and their mom, Sister Sharon Baldie. We also 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, and Lorraine Richards (Brother Cornel Richards’ wife); Brother George Gabbidon, Brother Lloyd Trusty, Mr Alan Ashley (Sister Dawn Ashley’s father), Brother Danville Japp’s father, Mr Isaiah Japp, Mr, Delorn Dixon (Sister Rachael Dixon’s husband), Brother Cornel Richards and family; and any member or family member who is in need of healing and comfort. Lord, grant healing, strength and peace.
Hear, O Lord and answer. We ask all these with thanksgiving, in Jesus’ name.
TO ALL MOTHERS/NURTURERS:
HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY AND MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS AND FAVOUR YOU, NOW AND ALWAYS. ENJOY!
YOU ARE SOOOOOOOOOO SPECIAL
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.