CHC members came together to stand in the gap for the church at the start of CHC’s 40 weeks of Friday night prayer meetings.
By Venessa Thor
You might have felt a tremor on the evening of Sep. 8. No worries: it was no earthquake. It was thousands of City Harvest Church members crying out to God in prayer.
The Friday prayer meeting was the first in a series of 40 weeks was held at the fully packed underground auditorium of the Jurong West campus. Pastor Tan Ye Peng led the inaugural meeting.
PRAYERS LIKE INCENSE
Tan explained that the concoction of the idea of having a church-wide weekly prayer meeting came from the book of Revelation, Chapter 8. In the first part of the chapter, the seven angels could not move until another angel came with the incense. In verse four, the incense was mixed with the prayers of the saints. Tan explained that in the same way wood keeps a fire burning, our prayers maintain the incense that rise up to the throne of God. It seems like everything in heaven is waiting for the prayer of the saints, and God will start moving only when we pray.
Aloysius Tan, 20, a student, agreed. “I believe in strength in numbers. The more people coming to pray, the stronger the aroma of worship will rise to God.”
“When we gather together as a church, God’s presence will come and move,” said Royce Koh, 34, an IT manager.
A SPECIAL OFFERING
Tan shared an offering message from 2 Corinthians 9:6-9. This well-known passage was given a new perspective. Tan said that when we read this passage, we usually focus on ourselves, and the rewards that we will receive from God if we give generously. However, this time, Tan encouraged members to think of the beneficiary of the offering instead. This is because, as in verse 9, God gives to us so that we can give to the poor. A cheerful giver is truly one that gives while thinking of the person that he or she can bless.
Hence, in accord with this passage, Tan announced that the offering collected during every Friday prayer meeting would be directly given to people in need.
For the first part of the prayer meeting, members spent some time praying for their personal and spiritual lives. The first key to personal revival is the love to pray, Tan explained. He emphasized that it is important that our prayers are not empty words, but ones that tap into the power of the kingdom of God. The second is the love for the Word of God, which renews our minds. Last of all is the love for people. We should be so moved to want to be blessings to people and to pray for them.
THE SMELL OF REVIVAL
Other than revival in our personal lives, another focus of the prayer meeting was on church growth. Tan shared an anecdote that you know a revival is here by the “smell” of members arriving in church early before service, worried about not having seats because there are so many people joining. Members joined hands and visualized in faith, cell groups and services growing to be overflowing with new members.
“We need to build up a support system, and have this spirit of unity and having the same vision. God is pleased by our faith,” Wong He Xing, 23, a quality control supervisor, shared.
A CHOSEN GENERATION
In addition to praying, Tan also shared a short message on being chosen by God. When God formed man, He formed man out of the dust of the ground. The original meaning of the word “dust” was actually “rubbish”. In essence, God took what was of no value, breathed into it and it became a living being. Tan said that before God chose us, we were like dust particles that had no value. But because God breathed life into us and called us into his marvellous light, we become somebody of value.
Tan emphasised that we need to have the attitude of the “low-hanging fruits” on the tree. That is, we need to have the attitude of humility and not loftiness and pride. The vinedresser will pluck the ripe and low-hanging fruits and not those that are still green hanging high above. In fact, Jesus Himself, in the Gospels, stopped for the sinners and lepers and not for the prideful Pharisees. We should carry the attitude of desiring to be “plucked” or used by God in His kingdom.
The kingdom of God is one of grace, mercy and compassion, and we as the people of the kingdom, should desire to be used by the King to touch lives, to share the gospel and draw people into the kingdom.
In the later part of the prayer meeting, Tan called out to the sick to come forward to be prayed for. As church leaders and School Of Theology students laid hands on the sick, many were healed and went on stage to testify God’s healing miracles.
“It builds up my faith when we pray for the sick and God heals them,” said Felicia Choy, 21, a human resource assistant.
Tan said that he hoped that every Friday meeting would be an opportunity for the miracles of God to take place, and encouraged church members to invite their friends or family members who were sick to come and receive healing.