On January 15-17, 2019, 315 enthusiastic prayer leaders and intercessors from 17 Prayer networks and denominations from all over Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak met in peaceful Miri, Sarawak. Their aim was to share what God was doing in their various prayer ministries and pray together for the Church and The Nation. Above all, there was a zeal to know what was in God’s heart for the Prayer movement here and how God was moving us forward.
Out of the 315 participants, 43 had registered under the Methodist banner and represented all the Annual Conferences. It was a special joy to us also that God was using two Methodist Bishops (Bishop Ong Hwai Teik and Bishop Emeritus Hwa Yung) in significant ways during the Retreat. There was a strong presence and contribution of AOG Pastors and intercessors led by Pastor Teoh as well as those from the BEM/SIB prayer network. The hosts, BEM Pelita Church Miri, worked diligently to ensure that the venue and all technical and housekeeping arrangements and the flow of the programmes went smoothly. All delegates indeed owe a great debt of gratitude to them and the P.U. Committee.
On 14 and 15 January, P. U.’s Committee in their Prayer Meeting, had already corporately agreed on some goals. In skeletal and still in draft form, these are:
A. Prayer United : Strengthening Unity ; Building the Prayer Momentum
B. The Church: Preparing the Way for Revival; Nurturing The Next Generation
C. The Nation: God to Bless Malaysia; To pray for the Government and The Opposition
At the opening, Bishop Emeritus Hwa Yung stressed that the whole Committee felt that God was emphasizing “Unity” as the focus for the Prayer Movement in Malaysia. This unity is not organizational but is to be fostered in deeper relationships among all, rooted on the unity in The Triune God. “Don’t let anything break the unity!” was his clarion call at this Retreat.
On the second day, the Prayer Network leaders gave their reports. It was amazing to hear of what God is doing in various networks—ranging from Anglican, AOG, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, SIB Semenanjung and 24/7 Prayer to the various P. U. Prayer Networks (in Sarawak, Penang and P. U. Youth) as well as Pastors’ Prayer Fellowships (Kuching Ministers’ Fellowship and Sabah Pastors’ Fellowship). MNPN announced that they were terminating their ministry because their goals were similar to P. U. but they were releasing some of them to other Prayer networks.
The Presbyterians said their Prayer movement was still in “seed form”; Anglican Kuching was moving wisely in their own structure, respecting their hierarchy and managing to draw 33 Anglicans to the Retreat! The AOG under their dynamic Prayer Commission enlisting more than 1000 intercessors, and organised National Prayer Rallies. P. U. Sarawak listed 15 Prayer Hills, 45 Prayer Mountains and 4 Prayer Houses. Rev C Jayaraj from Methodist W. Malaysia shared on The Methodist Prayer Convention In Sibu 2018, which garnered 3,800 participants and 10,000 at the final open air dawn gathering during the Sunday Worship Celebration at Sibu City Centre. Pastor Steven Choon shared that Sabah Pastors’ Fellowship was moving from prayer as an event to a prayer culture where prayer is a lifestyle. Every network had something precious to offer. God is at work in Malaysia!
The Main Messages
P. U. 2019 did not have any invited guest speaker. Nevertheless, the speakers from P. U. fed us with precious manna. Pastor Robinson from BEM spoke on ministry. (1) Quoting Exodus 4:1-5 he pointed out that God was still asking, “What is that in your hand?” We should tap into all that we already have, to touch lives and advance His Kingdom. (2) The Lord wants us to do the works He did but the emphasis is not on big ministries alone. God “is more interested in building us than the ministry. The man comes first; then the ministry”.
Pastor Daniel Raut’s message on “Intimacy with God” with his memorable quotes on prayer stirred hearts deeply as he challenged “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tyre?”
He then elaborated on these points (1) Desire intimacy with God (Psalm 27:4; Phil 3:8). (2) Know God’s love language, quoting Gary Chapman. (3) Love God affectionately. Often we make the mistake of making ministry our priority but God is a jealous God. He must always be our First Love! (4) Don’t give up too easily. There are hindrances (busyness, sins and idolatry and indifference.) However, the benefits are (1) Access to Divine Secrets (Gen. 18:17- 19, Ps 25:14, Col 1:26. (2) Doing Exploits for The Lord (Daniel 11:32b).
Bishop Dr. Ong Hwai Teik in his Closing/Wrap Up Session on the last day, spoke from Psalm 139 about the SOVEREIGN GOD Who knows us. He sovereignly knows Malaysia! He “hems” Malaysia in! God is a searching God. He has searched for us all our lives; He searches us deeply to know our hearts. He knows our secret thoughts. In fact He knows us better than we know ourselves!. In John chapter 1:47, Jesus said He knew Nathaniel as a “True Israelite, guileless”; not deceitful. He was a person of integrity with no deception. God is looking for Nathaniels...true Christians... ‘What you see is what you get’ believers.” Can our neighbours say this about us?
Bishop Ong’s clinching point was taken from The Gospel of John where John “encrypts himself” 5 times as the disciple whom Jesus loved. “The hiddenness of being sovereignly loved by Jesus is that we can see more of the Lover, not the loved”. John realized the sovereign love of Jesus for “even me”! We are made of dust....our seeking after holiness is important but ultimately, “I am a disciple loved by Jesus”. “We are a church loved by Jesus, not so much a Church that loved Jesus! “Can we say this about ourselves?”.
The altar call that followed saw everyone on their knees, many in tears as we offered ourselves to The Lord and His service in prayer. All thanksgiving and Praise to Almighty God!
By Sis Ruth Ratnam (GC Prayer Team)