I greet you warmly and wish for each of you a very happy New Year.
Let me add my own commendation to Mr. Richard Powell and the Victoria Mutual family for 30 years of unbroken support for the annual National Leadership Prayer Breakfast. They have stood firm and were not weary in well-doing!
Each year I am encouraged by your attendance at this event, showing that we acknowledge the need of God’s wisdom and guidance to manage the challenges that we face. Undaunted by cynicism or skepticism, we look forward to the opportunity this breakfast affords the leaders in our country to unite in prayer for the wellbeing of our nation.
To the Reverend Dr. Stevenson Samuels and the members of the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast Committee, I extend my grateful thanks for the leadership that you continue to provide and hope that this example, at the start of 2015, will motivate similar events across the year.
I invite all of you to support the Committee’s designated beneficiary, the Theodora Project in Negril, so that that organization will increase its involvement with at-risk youth and those who are most vulnerable to human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. Theodora is providing them a second chance through remedial education, skills training and empowerment. May God bless their work and may the outcome redound to His glory and to the betterment of Jamaica!
As I reflected on this morning’s theme “Return…Reconnect…Rebuild with God”, I thought of the words of Isaiah 57 verses 6 -7, which make the centrality of a revival very clear:
“Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him come to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”
This mission on which the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast Committee embarked in 1980 remains even more relevant to Jamaica today, because we are living in more serious times, where values, morals and traditions which serve us well as a nation, are being undermined by materialism, a desire for instant gratification, disregard for law and order, among several social ills.
We bear the common burden caused by crime and corruption which have tarnished our national image. This image does not reflect who we are in the majority. Nor does it portray our seminal contribution to the world, in many areas including, athletics, medicine, scientific research, tourism, culture and the arts and international relations. We punch well beyond our weight in these areas, but our feet of clay weaken our efforts and can thwart the achievement of our objectives.
Yet, like one of the World War II Heroes, Sir Winston Churchill, we do not give up, nor do we give in. Our Eternal Father has blessed our land and we believe in redemption through Jesus Christ. So as we gather this morning to pray, let us understand what God wants from us personally and respond with sincerity and renewed commitment.
I believe that all of us here this morning, as well as those joining us via electronic and social media, have Jamaica’s interest foremost in our hearts. We know what we need to do to fix what is wrong with Jamaica, including:
- Return to the core values of respect, discipline, honesty and good work ethics, which are fundamental pillars of our nationhood.
- Eschew corruption which is endemic in our society: not peculiar to any one group; leaders and followers; rich and poor; merchants and customers; teachers and students et.al.
- Reconnect and restore broken relationships within the family, our communities, our workplaces and our churches. This requires forgiveness and trust. This is where the rebuilding process must start including of course, among our leaders.
- We need to put aside divisions and divisiveness and pool our best intellect, talent, energies and resources to build a strong nation that we can pass on to the next generation.
- And lastly, understand and carry out God’s requirement for all of us as we are reminded in Micah 6 verse 8, “… to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
This morning we pray for Jamaica’s leaders in Government, in Parliament, in the Judiciary, the Public Service, business, religious and faith-based institutions, education, security services, media and related organizations, as well as our Custodes and Justices of the Peace, leaders in citizens’ associations, voluntary services and other community organizations.
I thank all of these leaders for the service that you render to Jamaica. I thank each of you for committing to Jamaica for the long haul and pray that God will strengthen us for the completion of the good work He has begun in us for the benefit of our country, now and in the future.
Thank you for supporting this annual event and may God bless you and Jamaica richly.