The Prayer of Encouragement for 9 October
Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 9 October 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.
We continue to look at the issue of forgiveness. In recent times, we have looked at the causes, or what gives rise to lack of forgiveness. The deliberations so far have been centred on the words voiced, words written, and misunderstandings and misconceptions.
In the week that I spoke about the way that written words can give rise to hurt and lack of forgiveness, I mentioned an experience with a dear Sister-in-the Lord who I respect and admire. Let me tap into your memory a bit. She repeated a question which I had already answered, so I told her to “Wake up.” She felt like my response was harsh. I pointed out that I apologised. I stated that building and maintaining relationships continually occurs, so forgiveness follows in the same manner. The learning point was that although some persons may not be offended by my response, we should be mindful of how people think and feel about situations.
Of course, she felt the need to challenge me by saying that at times I need to “Wake up”, because she has to repeat things said. You know, she is absolutely, full 100 per cent, right. We chat about it and laughed but I am going to address it today. I trust the relationship with my Sister so I will proceed in dealing with this issue. I am being deliberate in mentioning her feedback because many times these are some of the responses that lead to hurt, and, boil active and passive anger/aggression. In many of those instances, people find it hard to forgive. Just to say that passive anger may not be immediately shown or obviously seen but it creates tension. It operates like an undercurrent.
Let me tickle your taste and say, if building and maintaining relationships was a cake, forgiveness is a major ingredient. For example, like the right measure of flour that solidifies the cake to a satisfying texture, forgiveness needs to be appropriated to our relationships. Therefore, we should try our best not to ignore it so as to avoid a cracked-up or abnormal relationship, which is a bad one. Brethren and Friends, even if it means to just clear the air, go ahead and do so.
I realise that many times our response to situations is self-defence so we look for what we can find against the other party to mitigate the impact on us. A very popular approach at times is to justify our actions, which could fall under self-defense. I have a couple of questions for us to consider, and seek answers in our own time. Does this mean that we have dealt with our own issues or shortcomings? Do we check to see whether or not our sensitivity is out-of-balance? Does this give rise to unnecessary tension? There are times that we may seek the feedback of a friend, but is that person being honest? Have we given the necessary thought to the issues being raised, allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work in us? Do we invite the Holy Spirit as part of our intervention strategies?
We previously spoke about the apostle Paul defending his ministry because of the harsh criticism that he faced. He was hurt by those criticisms. This came out of Corinth when he sent them his letter for instruction and guidance. A criticism highlighted was that
“His letters were weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.”2 Corinthians 10:10 (NIV)
Paul pointed out what I call the “diverted impact.” The focus in this case was to commend self and criticise Paul rather than allow for self-examination through his messages/letters. Paul saw this approach as amounting to a lack of wisdom. He said:
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”2 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV)
He went on speaking in the same passage but also stated how commendation should be acquired.
“For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”2 Corinthians 10:18 (NIV)
Brethren and Friends, it is very important for us to listen to the messages rather than defend self to mitigate the impact. This may be the change that God wants in us. Think about this…forgiveness will not just break our walls but let the broken pieces become our building blocks. Although these words are coming through me, I am thinking about them.
Let us pray
Almighty God, we thank You for the air that we breathe. We thank You that we are in our right minds. We thank You for the sun that shines, the wind that blows and the mountains and flora that provides us with beauty. Lord, we thank You for the valleys and streams, and the seas that refresh us. We thank You for daily provisions. We thank You for friends and families (Church and biological). Thank You Lord, for Jamaica and our leaders. We thank You for all that You have done and continue to do for our country.
O Lord, we thank You.
Lord, we honour You. We exalt Your name on high, we praise You. We place You above all else. You are Awesome. Lord. Nothing can be compared to You. You alone are God, most Holy and Righteous. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
We bless Your name, O God. Hallelujah!
Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ asking that You cleanse us from all unrighteousness and forgive all of our sins. Lord, take away all of our iniquities and renew the right spirits within us. Dear Lord, cast us not away from Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from us but restore unto us the joy of Thy salvation.
Lord, have mercy on us churches, leaders of churches and associations, leaders of businesses and government, leaders of opposition parties. Have mercy, dear Lord. Help us to forgive as You forgive us and heal our families. O God, heal our land. Let not evil rule over us but rescue and deliver us in Your righteousness for Your name sake.
Lord, we pray for strength for our leaders of church, businesses, non-profit organisations, government and the opposition. Lord, we ask that You grant insight, wisdom, knowledge, courage, and understanding. Grant creative thinking, strategic know-hows, resources and Your peace.
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 also 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.
The Covid-19 Virus has been raging war in our communities and among our health workers, but we hand over this country, every sector operating, every community from the east to the west and from the north to the south to You. We pray that You will awaken the mind of each citizen to act responsibly and justly, to be the keeper of our neighbours and walk humbly with their God.
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 lift up those who have been in battle fighting off the virus, especially our Sister Rachael Dixon’s family. We pray for healing and protection in that family, and other families among us who have not publicly disclosed their challenges.
Hear O Lord, and have mercy.
Dear God, crime is showing up in so many ways but we appeal to Your mercy. Lord, have mercy, deliver and protect us from the wiles of evil. Lord, we pray for every criminal mind on a bike, in any other motor vehicle and walk foot. We lift up every community and ask for Your intervention. Lord, expose those who are causing havoc and hold them responsible and accountable for their actions.
Lord, protect us from flood through the heavy rains and guide our paths.
We pray for all countries, missionaries and workforces, schools and governments around the world and the multiplicity of challenges that are being experienced. Dear God, You know them more than we could explain. Help, Lord, and have mercy but let the hearts of people turn to You in obedience.
Hear O Lord, and have mercy.
Lord, as the education system gets into focus, we ask that You grant the leaders, teachers and students, the right mental and physical resources for effective teaching and learning, focus, discipline and commitment.
Hear O Lord, and have mercy.
We ask that You fill us with Your love, Your presence and Your peace.
In Jesus’ 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.