Contributed by Edmund Tay
The purpose of our trip to South Korea was to attend Yoido Full Gospel Church’s morning prayer meeting and to study how the church is run. I had heard so much about this church, and often asked myself, how is it possible to grow a church into 850,000 members? What is their secret?
These questions were answered on our first day at the church.
The morning prayer meeting was part of a 21-day prayer season initiated by Yoido Full Gospel’s senior pastor, Dr Younghoon Lee. These prayer meetings were held to ensure that the church moved in the right direction for 2009. The most mind-boggling part of the prayer meeting was that it started at 4.30am every day!
The “unusual” timing raised a few eyebrows among us Singaporeans, who are famed for our late nights and sometimes equally late mornings. However, with willing hearts, we readily dragged ourselves out of our beds, and assembled at 4am. To further spice up the situation, we were out and about in the midst of winter, facing minus 5 degrees temperature in the dark morning.
Entering the main sanctuary of Yoido Full Gospel Church at 4.30am, we were not disappointed by the sight before us. The hall was totally filled! There were so many people, that not a single pew was left empty — members came excited and ready to pray.
The one-hour prayer service was conducted into two parts. The first portion of the meeting was focused on prayer: the church members were boisterous and fervent as they prayed in tongues. The second portion was anchored by the service pastor, who delivered a message of encouragement to the congregation.
Throughout the service, I also noticed that the members were also tremendously disciplined. Not a single member was walking around — every one was focused and committed to prayer. This is truly a church of committed members — little wonder they are constantly experiencing revival.
This prayer meeting left me in total awe. I was humbled by the fervency of our Korean brothers and sisters, and totally amazed by their commitment towards prayer. Prayer is definitely the key to revival!
At 8am, we had the privilege of going to the Yoido Prayer Mountain. Located 90 minutes from the City Center, this sanctuary is where members retreat to when they want to focus to God. Although we were freezing, as temperatures hit minus 13 degrees, church members still made the trip up the mountain to pray. They came equipped with thermal blankets, and practically camped out at the mountain to seek the face of God. Services are also conducted at the Prayer Mountain, four times a day, to ensure corporate prayer. This church really prays!
|PHOTOS: Edmund Tay & Jimmy Sng|
As we proceeded back to the city in the late afternoon, we headed for our last stop before dinner. Our team was brought on a tour of The Kukmin Daily editorial office. This news agency was started by the church, to report current affairs with a positive outlook. With this noble vision, the agency has grown in circulation over the last 20 years and it is currently the fourth largest newspaper in Korea. As we visited the offices, our eyes were opened, and our faith was enlarged. We began to dream and think of more avenues, on how we can impact our society.
At dinner, the tables were full of stories and laughter as we exchanged our reflections with each other. Although the day was long and tiring, the experience was truly invaluable. We were definitely looking forward to the next day.