Prayer of Encouragement, Voices of Youths, 2022

Weekly Prayer of Encouragement 3 July

Sister Jennifer Japp offers the Weekly Prayer of Encouragement 3 July 2020.

My Brothers, Sisters and Friends,

We are hoping that you are well. I have been thinking about the invasion of locusts in Asia and Africa. It may also extend to the Middle East. Sometimes the things that happen around us bother our minds but they are worth examining. As I thought about locusts, I decided to recall the experiences of the Israelites and others.

The people of Israel became bonded in Egypt after Joseph and the memory of his work had died. The people called upon God for deliverance. He used Moses in the delivery process but the Pharaoh at that time was not willing to let them go.

“…The Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail…Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again.”

Exodus 10:12-14 (NIV)

The locust was one of the ten plagues. It happened as the Lord said.

“…They devoured all that was left after the hail—everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on a tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.”

Exodus 10:15 (NIV)

Joel prophesied about locusts as an instrument / weapon of judgement on the day of the Lord. “…such as never was in ancient times nor ever will be in ages to come.” (Joel 2:2, NIV).

“…They have the appearance of horses; they gallop along like cavalry. With a noise like that of chariots; they leap over the mountaintops, like a crackling fire consuming stubble, like a mighty army drawn up for battle. At the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale. They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers.”

Joel 2:4-7 (NIV)

We can read more about them in this regard in the book of Revelation. Locusts are seen as powerful insects that can cause great devastation to a country’s vegetation. The description of them personifies an army in battle. The impact of their devastation is spoken of or predicted with a level of intensity that is rare.

In recent times, East Africa (Kenya etc.) and parts of Asia (India etc.) have been under great threat and stress from swarms of locusts. It is said that the invasion has either never been seen like this before, or if it has, that would have been about 70 years ago. This sounds like what Exodus and Joel enunciated about the intensity of its effect. Sadly, some of those countries are already affected by wars, malnutrition in children, lack of proper running water etc. Getting rid of them through spraying, burning etc. can cause other serious environmental issues.

Yet, God gave His people permission to eat those insects that look like grasshoppers, and they were considered to be clean. “Of these you may eat any kind of locust…” (Leviticus 11:22, NIV). John the Baptist ate locusts and honey: “John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.” (Matthew 3:4, NIV).

People still eat them today. Studies have shown that they are rich in protein and have vitamins and minerals, which are good for the immune system. They are referred to as delicacies.  

Brethren, I kept seeing a conflict. On one hand, locusts are good enough for eating and on the other hand, they can destroy. Yet, God allows them to be used in both instances for His purpose. Wow! I am also thinking “God, would I eat those insects?” Oh, Lord!

I recall preparing for a cross-cultural mission trip. I was told that they only serve pork. As I do not eat meat, I went into a time of prayer and fasting. I surrendered, letting the Lord know that if I am to eat the pork, I am willing. I tell you, when I used to eat meat, I did not eat pork. You know, when we went there was no pork. I was told that it was the first year there was no pork. They had lamb but God even set that up so that I did not have to eat it. At times, we come across conflicts that seem devastating to us but are set to achieve a greater purpose. However, we are called to surrender everything to God, and allow Him to work them out.

I am thinking about Jesus Christ surrendering His life, an act that was so devastating but served an enormous purpose, for our salvation. Even in destruction, God promised restoration,

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten — the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarms — my great army that I sent among you.”

Joel 2:25 (NIV)

Wow! In the midst of an apparent devastation, to whom are we surrendering? What are we surrendering? Is God’s purpose being achieved in us, in our lives? Do we trust Him for restoration?

Today’s prayer is led by our own Sister Jennifer Japp.

Let us pray:

Gracious God, the creator of life, you are great and highly to be praised.

Dear Lord, oh Mighty Saviour, You are worthy. God, I give You thanks for the beginning of a new month. Lord, we are blessed and highly favoured. In spite of our current situations, we give You the honour as we intercede. Therefore Lord, we come in the name of Jesus Christ, ask that you cleanse us from all unrighteousness and forgive all of our sins.

God, we crave Your divine intervention over our churches, in particular our own Grace Missionary. So grant us Your wisdom and increase our understanding to acknowledge and be obedient to Your will, oh God.

Heavenly Father, pour out Your precious aroma over our leaders. Give them the knowledge and direction to manage this country. Oh Lord, remind our Honourable Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, Minister of Health Christopher Tufton, Minister of Finance Nigel Clarke, health workers and support staff, Minister of National Security Horace Chang, Minister of Education, Karl Samuda, Leader of the Opposition Peter Philips, and their families; Jamaica Defence Force and Jamaica Constabulary Force personnel and Security Guards, all other leaders of government and their support staff that “If I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV).

Lord, we pray for our frontline workers, particularly our nurses, doctors and police force; and the general workforce. We lift up especially those frontline workers connected with our church:

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.

Continue to build a wall of protection in abundance around them and their families. Give them the strength to endure as their jobs are not easy, but with You, Father, all things are possible.

Cover and protect the businesses of Jamaica and the world, Lord. There is this crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the other types of devastation being experienced at a personal, national and world level but businesses provide a critical source of income. So Father, we ask that You stretch forth Your blessings to supply all of our needs.

Mighty God, give strength to the families who have lost their jobs and loved ones during these hard times. Grant them Your comfort and peace. Lord, we also name the business leaders in our congregation:

Ewan and Maxine Oliver; Lanna and Desmond Bennett; Warrick Bogle, Carol and Leroy Blake, Marcia Leair, Robert and Beveline 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.

Supply their needs, we pray, and as Your words say, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7, NIV). Father, help Your people to trust and wait upon You.

We thank You mighty God for answering our requests in Your power and for glory. So in your wonderful name we pray with thanksgiving.

Amen. 


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