Greetings From His Excellency the Most Honourable Patrick Allen, ON, CD at Prayer and Restorative Service at the National Arena on Wednesday March 4, 2009

It is a great honour for me to be with you and to share in this Prayer and Restorative Service.  I offer special greetings to the Pastoral leadership and to Jamaicans from all walks of life, who were led by the Holy Spirit to be here today.  You are in the right place at the right time, for the right purpose.

Our Lord Jesus Christ has advised us that we must pray and not become weary nor faint for any reason. The Apostle Paul entreated us to pray always and without ceasing. I commend the Church for leading from the front, as we grapple with the challenge of crime and violence, moral decadence and all manner of injustice.

The call for restoration implies separation or a breakdown in social systems, structures and processes.  Within the context of life in Jamaica, it suggests that as a country we have become separated from our traditional values, morals and customs, and that this has negatively affected our normal way of life, especiallyin how we relate to each other. 

We must not only seek to root out crime and violence, but we must also work to establish a just society in which each citizen will feel part of  an inclusive system of opportunities and development for all.

This Prayer and Restorative Service therefore, marks a bold step in the search for individual and national healing.  It is a call to prayer, as well as a call to action.

Today as always, we must pray as if everything depended upon God; and work, knowing that He will provide the strength and the resources that will bring about a forgiving spirit and lead to reconciliation and restoration in every sphere of national life.

Let us pray and affirm here this morning, that as a country we will forget those things which encumber us; forget the mistakes, misgivings and misunderstandings of the past, and look toward a brighter future for Jamaica. 

A future where every Jamaican can realize his or her full potential and utilizing their God-given talents;  where people are free to interact with each other without the existence of physical or psychological barriers.  A Jamaica where investments can be generated and businesses thrive, and where greed does not influence us to make unwise choices. 

But, most importantly, a country in which our young people and vulnerable groups are cared for and in which they can feel safe and secure.

To paraphrase this year’s theme for Peace Day, let us together recognize the urgency of the situation in which we find ourselves and not linger any longer in our efforts to work together and take back the country from the brink of desolation.  We must do this one community, one family and one youth at a time. 

I believe we can do that, Jamaica.  Our people deserve a better way of life and we owe it to ourselves to do what we can to reverse the social malaise now affecting us and which threatens to do more damage to our country.

I commend the organizers for their passion, persistence and powerful prayers and we know that “He is not deaf that He cannot hear, and His hands are not heavy to do what He has to do.”

God heard Nineveh, He heard Jehosephat, Elijah and Daniel, and He delivered them.  If we humble ourselves and pray, I believe that same God will also hear us, He will answer, and He will heal our land. 

Wait on the Lord and be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart. Though the vision may tarry – wait! For you need patience that after you have finished the work, you will receive the promise.

My fervent wish is that this Prayer and Restorative Service will receive rich blessings from the Almighty and that Jamaica will realize a positive transformation as we beseech our Heavenly Father to cover us with His grace and mercy.

May God bless you and “Jamaica, Land we love.”