The Number #1 Prayer Call

by Rev Sng Chong Hui

This week we approach the celebration of Singapore Jubilee (SG50).

It will be a long weekend of celebration with goodie bags, freebies, parade and fireworks.

And we have much to rejoice for 50 years ago our people then could never ever imagine a vibrant modern garden city with fighter jets displaying their prowess in stunts and defense of our country.

SG50 fighterjetsWe must thank and praise our God who is the Lord of all nations for showering upon us His favor and blessing us with peace, progress and prosperity.

Surely, good government and good governance, which are key components that make our small nation strong, successful and exceptional, cannot be taken for granted.

And it is just why we need to pray for the leaders of our nation, and all the more as we head towards an imminent election.

The apostle Paul tells us that praying for the leaders of our nation is our number one prayer call.

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (I Timothy 2:1-3).

Those 3 words, “first of all” underline the high priority given to pray “for kings and all who are in authority.

Praying for leaders of our nation should be top in our list of things to pray. It is not something we reserve for the last item in our prayer list. It is the number #1 prayer call.

The outcome is “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

Praying for governing leaders of our nation is not something we do when we can afford the time.

Many think: “I have lots of work to do and lots of problems to deal with. I’m trying to get through my day just praying for my concerns. I don’t have time to pray for our nation. Let other people do it.”

Let me point out that every decision, plan and policy made by the leaders of our nation affects us personally in some ways, be it our jobs, our family life, our children’s education, our health care, our transport, our home, our social order, even right down to the acceptance of what may not be morally good, sound and right. That is why when it comes to praying for the leaders of our nation we cannot afford not to. It is our number one prayer call.

How we need to pray “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives” – free from war and disputes, free from terror threats and extremism, free from civil unrest, free from social turmoil, free from pestilence, free from anything which would disturb the peace and hampers the advancement of the Kingdom.

Although it is true that the outcome of our prayers is that we might live peaceful and quiet lives yet the objective of our praying is the advancement of the Gospel.

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:4).

Remember the days of SARS. How difficult it was for us to do Christian ministries. Hospital visitation and ministries came to a virtual halt. Church services would have closed down had the problem worsened. Of course, contact tracing did help us know who were our lost sheep but that “defining moment” ought to remind us to pray for our nation. We need to plead for God’s protective covering.

We can put up all kinds of security system and safeguards all over the island to stand watch for any viral and terror intrusions. But the Word of God reminds us: 

“Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1)

We need the Lord to guard our city and to shield us. And that protective shield is not built upon trained guards and security systems. It is built upon prayer by calling upon our Lord who neither sleeps nor slumbers.

We need the peace and security in our nation for the work of the Gospel to continue. It was the “Pax Romana” (the peace of the Roman Empire) that helped the spread of the Gospel.

We need to pray for the leaders of our nations that their decisions will not put heavy restrictions on religious activities but that their political attitude towards the Church will help promote the grace and truth of God.

GuoFor thousand of years the first line of defense for a city was a strong high wall built around it. When I went to Nanjing in China, I saw the historic wall of Nanjing. It stands as a monumental relic surrounding almost the entire ancient city. It reminded me of the Chinese word for nation, “guo,” which has a picture of a wall surrounding the king and people.

A walled city could not be taken unless that wall was breached. A nation becomes vulnerable when the wall of morality is breached. A city becomes vulnerable when a wall of a good social order is breached. Any nation or city becomes vulnerable when the wall of security is breached making it easy for enemies to invade.

When we see these gaps in the wall, we need to quickly stand in the gap to pray and call upon God to invoke His power to block the forces of evil invading our nation.

And God is always looking for people who will stand in the gap on behalf of their land.

“I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land” (Ezekiel 22:30)

Your prayers can make a huge difference. Your prayers can change the attitude of the leaders of our nation. Your prayers can influence their decisions. Your prayers can become a hidden divine counsel.

Because your prayers are directed to the One who says in Proverbs 21:1

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wishes.”

May this tiny “red dot” of our city-state find great favor with our great God.

May all the latter years to come be better and more glorious than the former years that we can proudly say: Majulah Singapura!

For that we need to pray. Join me in this prayer:

Dear God our Father, 

Your Word has taught us to pray for all governing authorities over us. And so we stand in the gap on behalf of our beloved nation Singapore to pray for our Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers and members of Parliament. 

We pray that You will breathe a fresh wind of Your Holy Spirit over them to stir their hearts toward Your purposes. May we enter a new era of change and growth that will transform our nation to new heights of peace, progress and prosperity. 

Just as You have blessed King Solomon’s request for wisdom, so we ask the same on their behalf that You will grant them wisdom from on high to govern this tiny nation making Singapore more and more inter-connected with the world, less and less vulnerable to the ups and downs of economic cycles and turmoils, with greater and greater plurality of views and voices in making right, sound and effective policies. Give to our Prime Minister, every Cabinet minister and Member of Parliament a wise and understanding heart to discern good from evil, right choices from false choices, wise judgment and decision that bring long term gains for the good of our nation. Help them to govern our people well with uncompromising integrity, with corresponding competence, with hearts of compassion and a strong sense of justice and equality so that we may all live peaceable and quiet  lives in all godliness and holiness. 

O Lord, let the legacy of good government, good governance, good succession and good international standing continue from one generation to the next. 

We believe Your Word in Proverbs 8:16 “By You princes rule and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.”

We thank You for giving us good leaders to govern our nation. May you use them to establish Your government here on earth. 

For the glory of Your Son Jesus Christ. In His wonderful Name we pray. Amen


Day 6

by Rev Joel Yong

Genesis 21:9 ESV
But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing.

I am sure Isaac was very precious. They waited a long time for him. Having just been weaned he was still the apple of their eyes. Then Sarah catches Ishmael, born of Hagar, half-brother to Isaac laughing. Other translations use the word ‘tease’ if not ‘mock’.

But both Ishmael and Isaac are in their childhood. Yet Sarah reacts with anger and her initiative begins the separation of two brothers, who become two warring nations eventually.

Why’d Sarah react in this manner? The earlier chapters reveal that she already had some bad blood between her and Hagar due to Hagar being able to conceive and her (Sarah) not being able to. Perhaps this is the culmination of their longstanding feud.

I wonder that if Sarah and Hagar realized that their actions had longstanding consequences, leading to the Middle East crisis we have today- if they would have still acted the same way?
Would you?

Deep Yearning – TWC Daily Devotional 20150806

TWC – The Word Connects: Connecting you to God and to one another … Thursday 6 August 2015

What do you yearn for everyday? What do I yearn for everyday? What does the church yearn for when we gather together on a Sunday or when we are not gathered together? Do we yearn to be in God’s presence daily, to walk with Him, to speak with Him and to follow His leading? The psalmist said in Ps.84:2, “my soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” There is such a deep yearning to be close to God here, and his whole being cries out to God. In verse 1, the psalmist expressed his view of the presence of God, he said, “how lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty!” When we read this, we get the feeling that his whole desire, everything within him just want more of God. Nothing else seems to matter and there is no other place he would rather be! That’s how we should be. We must find nothing more attractive than the presence of God. We must desire Him more than anyone and anything else. Our deepest yearning must not be to have more of the things of the world, but to have more of the things of God. The Apostle Paul tells us in Col.3:1,2, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” We need to set our hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things. When our preoccupation is always about how much comfort we want in our lives, whether it is about having more wealth or better health, when our preoccupation pushes out our devotion to God, then we are living dangerously in the wrong place with an unhealthy desire. Jesus said, “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Mt.6:33) When we seek God first and make Him our #1 priority, He will provide what we need. But allow me to add that when we seek Him, we have to seek Him, seek His face and draw close to Him in order to know Him, not draw close to Him in order to ask Him for things. We must not be like a teenager who would speak with his parents warmly only because he wants something, not because he enjoys spending time with his parents. Jesus made it very clear, seek God first – that is our part, and God will provide all we need, that is His part. As we walk with God today, I pray that our deep yearning would be for the Lord and for the things above. May we long to be in His presence so much that we would spend quality time with Him – not hurriedly, but to have a quiet, unrushed time with the Lord. Have a great day!

Barnabas Chong

Today’s Bible Text: “1 How lovely is your dwelling-place, O LORD Almighty! 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” (‭Ps.84:1,2)‬

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