Christians pray for a better Jamaica
THOUSANDS of Jamaicans rang in the New Year at churches across the island as they prayed for a peaceful 2014 and personal blessings.
Though the wish for many at the traditional Watch Night services was for blessings on their loved ones, the overriding desire was for the island to this year experience a wave of prosperity not seen in recent times, as well as less bloodshed.
The country has for decades been plagued with high crime rates including murder. Last year ended with 1,200 people being murdered. The previous year saw 1,097 people murdered.
At Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew, prayers offered up for the nation were not only that God rid the country of crime and violence, but also of sexual immorality, mental and physical abuse and for protection of the nation's children.
Lorna Wilson, a Jamaicna citizen who works with the United Nations in Bangkok and who travels to the country annually for the Watch Night service at the church, said the Government should use more closed circuit television (CCTV) as part of the fight against crime.
"In Bangkok, which has more than 12 million people, every street has CCTV and that has worked to reduce crime," she told the Jamaica Observer. The private sector, she said, could help with the initiative.
At the Faith Cathedral Deliverance Centre on Waltham Park Road, an inspector of police, who declined to give her name, said she was hoping that Jamaicans will show more neighbourly love in the New Year.
"We hope to see more love and peace in Jamaica, more neighbours caring for each other. As the police can't be everywhere, citizens have to take some of the responsibility for caring for each other and this will help to reduce criminal activities," she said.
A number of uniformed police officers were in attendance at the service.
At Church on the Rock in the Constant Spring area of St Andrew, the focus of the prayer was for the Lord to defeat the spirit of lawlessness in the country.
"This is our greatest challenge," said Pastor Jennifer Straw. "As the church we are the light of the world and the ones who push back darkness. We are praying that the church will rise up and position itself as the salt and influencer and help Jamaica find the prophetic destiny that God has for the nation."
Similar sentiments were expressed by church member Ricardo Houslin, who said, "We really want to put the nation before the Lord and to ask Him to uplift the spirits of the people."
At the Fellowship Tabernacle, with less than half-hour before the New Year, Rev Al Miller urged the congregation to seek the Lord in their quest for prosperity, telling them to dismiss the notion that they can gain success all on their own.
"You were created for success and not for failure, but you have to know how to do it," he said. "You were not designed to make it on your own. You were designed to know success and that your goals in life may be fulfilled, but that will never happen when you try to make it without God."