Mass events drain me. I am an introvert. So when 7 October 2018 – Pray Singapore was publicised by Love Singapore, I must admit I was hesitant to sign up because after preaching on a Sunday morning, I would not want to spend another three afternoon hours in the National Stadium, fighting heat, tiredness and jostling with crowds of people. However, in the end, I got out of my comfort zone and signed up for prayer with the Body of Christ in Singapore. Here are some of my off the cuff thoughts.

For a start the build up was exciting. Going there early, walking with the lines of people walking from Kallang MRT to the Stadium; and seeing the build up of the people filling the Stadium. It highlighted the great organisational skills needed to get this event on its ground, and the mobilisation grace to fill the Stadium with 40,000 to 50,000 believers. The Love Singapore leaders are great tribal leaders!

The believers from different churches in Singapore came to PRAY SINGAPORE

I liked seeing the people of various age groups. I liked the clever clap-banner they gave everyone. When you used it to clap it amplified the volume 20 times. We should issue these clap banners in every church for use in worship services! I liked the good balance and build up of prayer themes. I liked the variety: different kinds of prayers (set liturgical prayers, spontaneous prayers, group of twos and threes praying, prophetic declarations and acts, everyone praying in unison); different leaders from different denominations both young and old ( besides giving honour where it is due some political correctness was involved here); the use of Mandarin, Tamil besides the main language of English; the different groups (marrieds, families, children, younger pastors, veteran pastors); different prayer themes (Church, Family, Nation, Harvest). I liked the five minute talks giving statistics, telling stories, challenging and inspiring the prayer themes before we prayed.

Gift pack included a clap banner that made a lot of clapping sound, and a lot of sense because it also was usable fan.
Scriptural and prophetic declarations on the clap banner

A lot of time was spent praying for the FAMILY theme so that by the time we reached praying for the HARVEST it was anticlimactic. This goes to show how much urgency ad importance the organisers placed on the foundation and future of our nation: strong families.

On the whole I surprising left the Stadium energised not with physical or emotional energy but a supernatural charge. If they could check the charge it would be like the mobile battery icon fully charged. I was so glad my colleague Tom Cannon mobilised scores of young and older church members to participate in this event.

When I attended Arsenal’s football game recently, I left about 5-10 minutes before the end because I simply hated jostling with the crowds. This time I stayed to the end, and they that endure to the end shall be saved, but caught in a multitude of red shirted people all trying to get into the Stadium MRT.

Nevertheless I rejoiced in God my Saviour.

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Love Singapore Pastors’ Prayer Summit 2012: a personal reflection

The ice breakers were agonizing. One flat bonding activity after another. Immovable as a pew I stayed rooted to my seat. It was not the right attitude to have at the commencement dinner of the 2012 Love Singapore Pastors’ Prayer Summit. It was not because Ps Eugene Seow, the king of icebreakers, has handed his wand to a new generation. It was refreshing to see twenty- and thirty- somethings on stage: a new generation of pastors. The greyheads should be applauded for this initiative. But 45 minutes to get you acquainted with others and to get everybody seated with someone they don’t know was just too much for this introvert!2012 Love Singapore Pastors' Summit

Corporate waiting on God

The reason I was there was because I heard we would spend time as a corporate body waiting on God and listening. David Demian is experienced in this and would be guiding and showing us the ropes. We Singaporean Christians are very comfortable and confident (too confident!) about our abilities in strategising, marketing and planning church programs and events. Indeed we do not need the Holy Spirit to keep our churches running efficiently (sometimes He is a hindrance to our plans!). Our church calenders has to be crammed with activities and programs or it would leave a feeling of frustration, guilt and idleness. Disquiet is what I would feel. Maybe a holy dissatisfaction. Is there something more? The book of Acts demonstrated how the Spirit was involved in directing the “fishers of men” to where the fish were. Every new spurt of expansion and spread of the gospel was initiated by the Spirit and not from “successful models”. The Spirit spoke. The Spirit checked. The Spirit fell. Can there be more space for the Spirit to lead the Singapore church, a church so married to modernity, that they are more conversant with Peter Drucker than the voice of the Spirit? So I came wanting to see if Pastors Prayer Summit 2012there is a way to give more space for the Holy Spirit in the leadership of the church.

Difficult to enter into silent waiting

It was not easy for pastors and leaders of all kinds of persuasions to fully enter into what was intended by the Pastors’ Summit leadership. After a period of corporate worship we were instructed to wait in silence before God and ask, Lord what is on your heart for Singapore? We were to write down what the Lord laid on our hearts and pass down the message to a panel of pastors called a “table of discernment” and they would share with the larger body or act on what they discerned.  Silence can be deeply disturbing for us hyperactive pastors. Waiting seemed so unproductive, a silly waste of time, even if it was waiting in prayer in the presence of God. This was evident in the first session, but less so in the second session.

Real gold or fool’s gold

My takeaway from the summit was one of possibilities. Can this possibly be done at leadership prayer times to seek the Lord and inquire what is on his heart for the church? Sounds like Acts 13: 1ff. The thought of it is at once intoxicating and intimidating. I left feeling like a gold prospector that has found a gold vein. I hope I will not be like the villagers of Kampung Melayu Majidee, in Johor, who elated that they had found “gold nuggets” on a street, were later disappointed by hard reality: what they had shining in their hands was iron pyrite – “fool’s gold”. By the way, preachers, there is a sermon illustration in that report.

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Jack Hayford at Love Singapore Pastors’ Forum

Jack Hayford at Pastors Forum, Love Singapore

Jack Hayford. That name alone should pull in quite a crowd of senior pastors and staff. Jack Hayford was the senior pastor of the Church on the Way, a Foursquare Church at Van Nuys, California. Most people would know the song he composed, Majesty, worship His Majesty. Over a hundred pastors were at Trinity @ Paya Lebar to attend the Love Singapore Pastors’ Forum. Jack Hayford talked about the need to focus on the essentials and to avoid jumping from one new methodology or model to another. Don’t go for the numbers, he says, but work on the essentials. All his years as a pastor he never had numerical targets. Its not about acquiring people but discipling the people the Lord sends. The essentials were birthed out of his experience. They are:  1) work on a discpling plan to teach and incarnate the word among the people; 2) develop the worship life of the church as it opens the people up to the Spirit’s presence and power; 3) cultivate a ministry focus, releasing people to minister outside the church building;  4) and have a prayer strategy, of which he had no time to elaborate, or I dozed off.

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