Helpless in Jamaica, Helpless in America, Strong in The Lord


It was chilling! Just the sound of her voice,  as she recounted a night of terror, tugged at your heart.


It was radio at it’s very best, as the host of #rjr94fm’s Beyond The Headlines #djmiller, during a week when they are celebrating 20 years of production, played the tape of an interview done by #TVJ’s Kirk Wright.
The young woman shared a story of ‘ wicked gunmen’, in one of Jamaica’s inner city communities, firebombing her building where many people lived. And then turning their high powered weapons on the ‘ innocent’, as they tried to escape the heat of the fire.
Then we heard how she,  with her ‘ baby at the breast’, climbed up on the roof, followed by her child’s father with a machete in hand, and ‘ waited to die’. And how she cried to to Almighty God for mercy in her completely helpless state.
All of this caused by an ongoing feud between one community and another over ‘ who should rule ‘. A grab for power, reportedly triggered by the vacuum created by the extradition of the once all powerful ganglord, Christopher ” Dudus” Coke, which has left several persons dead, and a city terrified.
Then the same night this week, continuing to read the New York Times best selling author Rev. Timothy Keller’s new book on Prayer,  I came upon this profound Truth. 
Helplessness – Prayer is Accepting Weakness and Dependence
  ( One of 12 Touchstones of Prayer….Prayer is a Duty and Discipline……Prayer is Conversing with God….Prayer Must Be ” In Jesus’ Name” According to The Gospel etc.)
Norwegian author Ole Hallesby begins his short book on Prayer by defining prayer as an attitude of mind and heart, characterized primarily as helplessness. 
” As far as I can see, prayer has been ordained only for the helpless….Prayer and helplessness are inseparable. Only he who is helpless can truly pray”.
Such prayer is an outworking of gospel faith, because only the one who confesses complete  spiritual  bankruptcy can receive Christ’s salvation.
Then as I went walking yesterday morning,  after my devotions,  this profound reminder of our state of helpless came into my mind without any thought on my part. A prayer we used as the basis for petitioning our Lord,  my wife and I went on our knees later on , and  prayed for our nation and those known to us.
O Jesus:
Nothing in my hand I bring.

Simply to your Cross I cling.

Naked! Come to you for dress.

Helpless! Look to you for grace.

I to the fountain fly 

Wash me Savior lest I die.
O do Lord, do Lord remember me…. 

I can’t even walk unless you are  holding my hand…..songs which got the crowd dancing at our annual Harvest Supper last night.
Then I recalled this medication written between 1947-49 by the late Rev. Peter Marshall  ( whose life story became a movie entitled ‘ A man called Peter), a former chaplain of the United States Senate.
Verse: Judges 7:2 ” The Lord said to Gideon, ‘ The troops with you are too many for me to give the Medianites into your their hands. Israel would only take credit way from me saying ‘ My own hand has delivered me”.
The context then  was World War Two.  The context now is ISIS and International Terrorism.   Perhaps also even President elect Trump and his chief strategist, the reportedly white nationalist Steve  Bannon ’embodying more than anyone the liberals’ awful existential pain and fury: ‘…according to THR Michael Wolfe.

Abridged Version
We know, our Father, that at this desperate hour in world affairs, we need thee. We need thy strength, thy guidance, thy wisdom.
May thy wisdom and thy power come upon the President of these United States, the Senators and Congress men  (and women), to whom have been entrusted leadership. 

May the responsibility lie heavily on their hearts, until they are ready to acknowledge their helplessness and turn to thee.

Give them the honesty, the courage, and the moral integrity to confess that they don’t know what to do.

Only then can they lead us as a nation beyond human wisdom to thee, who alone has the answer……..
O God, may we never recover from our feeling of helplessness and our need of thee!.

In the strong name of Jesus, our Lord, we pray. Amen.

It is my prayer, that out of this experience with inner city life and helplessnes, and which cry for help to an Almighty God, is but a metaphor for the helplessness of a world caught up in Sin, and the help for which,  ‘ cometh only from the Lord, may touch hearts across the nation and the world. 
The hearts of journalists, of Political Leaders – who are often too confident that they know all the answers, of Teachers – battling with the twin trials of violence in schools and apathy towards learning by many students.
The hearts of those protesting against a Trump victory, and those relieved by Clinton’s loss.
But more importantly,  the hearts of our Religious Leaders, for if the people of God are not taught this basic truth, of our helpless before an Almighty God, we may either forget to pray, or pray without being desperate. Both of which tragedies  may account for the growth of evil in our nations, in the USA and Jamaica,  despite the presence of so many churches.
For who knows what further mischief await these United States of America and Jamaica.

May God have mercy on our desperate souls in and through the Crucified One……Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to your Cross I cling. ( Even spell check has it right).



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