The Most Honourable Andrew Holness ON, MP
Press Conference to Announce National Day of Prayer, Fasting and Repentance
November 29, 2017
Thank you very much Madam Masters of Ceremonies, Dr Patricia Holness;
Let me acknowledge the Reverend Dr Jefferey Shuttleworth;
Reverend Courtney Gordon;
Bishop Rohan Edwards;
Minister Olivia Grange;
MP Mark Golding;
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen gathered here, good afternoon.
You’ve said it correctly Patricia what I have on my heart. It was late one night when I got a telephone call saying, “I have an important message for you, a prophecy and it must be delivered to you personally. I can’t tell you over the phone.” So I said “I’m out of town but as soon as I get back into Kingston I’ll make the necessary arrangements to meet with you.”
I won’t say who or maybe I should but let me go a little before that because the Government of Jamaica is increasing its access for the people of Jamaica to develop a portal through which citizens could petition the government using a digital platform. Having opportunities for petitions always existed; you could do a paper petition and you could send it in but there was never a structure through which it would be acknowledged. What we’ve said it that if you do a petition and it gets a certain amount of digital signatures, I believe the threshold now is fifteen thousand then the government would respond. It doesn’t mean that the government will respond with what you want but the government will acknowledge and say we’ve received and here is our view. It is a way of increasing access to government and having government respond. It is not as powerful as the Access to Information Act but it certainly is a useful tool to get government to respond.
One of the petitions that were put on the platform was for a national day of prayer, repentance and fasting. It did not make the threshold of fifteen thousand. I believe you got close to seven thousand or a little bit over seven thousand signatures but I got so many telephone calls, so many emails to say this is something that you should do.
I was always of the view that this is something that should be done but you have to always consider, what is the role of the State in these matters of religion. Will we end up offending some, pleasing some; all of those considerations and then you would also have to consider that there are already days proclaimed for prayer. There is the National Leadership Breakfast and then there is the National Prayer Vigil. Am I creating another day in doing this? But then came the call that there is a prophecy and I made myself available to hear the considerations and I was very moved by what was said and in consideration of all that Jamaica is going through now, you can see that we’re on the cusp of great things but there are just some things that are holding us back.
If my people were called by, my name will just humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. What more needs to be said to convince any leader to humble themselves, to convince our people to humble themselves and turn from the wicked acts that are being committed. I don’t have to enumerate them, they are all very well known.
The beginning of wisdom, understanding and knowledge is the fear of God. It is not the “afraid of God” but it is the acceptance that God has the power to heal, to change things. I don’t proclaim to be a wise man but I do fear God and I believe that God can change things. He has proven that in my life and that has been my life story that when I have reached the limit of my own understanding and power because I take the scripture quoted by Mark another disciple, so too is Andrew (laughs).
Prayer without works, faith without works; prayer is not merely an intellectual exercise. It has to be fervent; it is an emotional and spiritual exercise. It has to be true. It is the point when you recognize that you of yourself can’t do it so prayer requires a certain level of humility and supplication.
My job is not to lead the church in calling for prayer. I am following the church. My job as the political leader, executive leader of the nation is to endorse that call and the work of the spiritual leaders and this is what this press conference is about. I’m endorsing this call for a national day of prayer, fasting and repentance and it is something that I take very seriously and I know that it will have an impact; I know that God will intervene in our affairs and turn the direction in which we are heading. He will continue to guard us with his mighty hand. He has kept us free from evil powers and he has been with us through countless hours of despair and travail but now we fervently ask for his intervention in the many crisis that we face. We face a crisis of violence; violence that is just so accepted and pervasive, where man to man is sometimes just so unjust.
I’m pleased to be associated Reverend Shuttleworth with this initiative. The government endorses it, the government supports it and we encourage all Jamaicans to come out and pray. Pray in your homes. Pray in your churches. Pray at you workplace. Pray in the public square. Pray.