Reported by Saffron Lee
The fifth Prayer United (PU) Leaders’ Annual Retreat kicked off in Sibu from 16th to 18th January at Shiuan Daw Methodist Church. Some 200 intercessors and prayer leaders from different denominations and prayer networks across the nation gathered together to listen, discern and also, to learn.
The first session was an open meeting at Masland Methodist Church. Rev Mark Goodwin, a humble instrument who was called to pray through for Colombia, was invited to share the revival in Colombia and how it was brought about with long haul prayer and a price.
It was followed by a brief report on the revival in Sarawak shared by a BEM Sarawak representative. Since the revivals in 1973 at Bario and 1984/85 at Ba’Kelalan and Lundu, there are still sporadic localised revivals which happened recently at Ulu Baram and Long Nen among the Penans, Punans and Kenyahs. Some backsliding youths are now on fire and enrol themselves for theological training.
The Bishop of the Methodist Church in Malysia Rev Ong Hwai Teik led us in prayer asking God for prophetic prayer and the spirit of importunity prayer.
Pray with hope in faith
On 17 January, we started the second session with lively morning worship. Rev Steven Choon of Sabah Pastors’ Fellowship then delivered message on Hope. He encouraged all the intercessors present to continue to intercede for the nation with hope that is alive as our hope is based on God’s promises (Rom 5:1-5). When we intercede with hope we will not pray in anger or get disappointed easily which may end up with some migrating to other countries.
Inasmuch, hope needs to be coupled with faith as we are basically praying for something that is yet to come to pass. Lively hope with faith is like a pair of wings that will take us beyond the current situation. Rev Steven thus stressed that if we can’t look beyond we can’t really pray. We must believe that God can. It’s just a matter of time.
In fact there are times that the situation seems to have deteriorated as we pray. Rev Steven said that is because when we pray and sins are unfolded. We are to pray more intensely in hope and in faith.
Rev Steven also reminded us that revival is just a beginning and it comes and goes. We must persist in praying for reformation of hearts and transformation of nations. He said only transformation would bring changes that sustain.
24/7 Prayer Centre
Twelve prayer networks across the nation then shared about progresses in their respective prayer commitment. These networks include regular prayer meetings in churches, interdenominational prayer bodies, as well as the House of Prayer at high places or on the hills. The last-mentioned is most common in the interior areas in Northern Sarawak. According to Ps Jeffery Agong from BEM, there are currently 14 Gunung Doa, 42 Bukit Doa and 4 Houses of Prayer.
Four workshops were prepared for the participants to choose from in the afternoon session. And then we assembled again to join the fifth workshop “PU Prayer Mobilisation” led by Bishop Emeritus Rev Hwa Yung.
To ensure that all the participants would bring the urgency and passion for prayer back to their respective churches and networks, Rev Hwa Yung rolled out the proposals and ground rules on Prayer Mobilisation which included mobilising the whole church to pray at various levels, namely individuals and families, local churches, denomination and groups of churches, as well as 24/7 prayer centres/towers. The floor unanimously agreed on the proposals to be implemented in all churches and to bring the prayer life of the Malaysian church to another level.
During the open forum session on the morning of the third day, special attention was drawn to the 24/7 prayer centres as it was not certain how many churches or centres are running them effectively and systematically. It was recorded that some 18 24/7 prayer centres have been set up across the nation since its launching on 16 Sept 2014. More 24/7 prayer centres were targeted to be set up in order to bring about revival in the church and transformation in the country.
For Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference, the Board of Laity was moved to initiate a 24/7 prayer centre in Sibu.
The floor also put forward the need to mobilise the youth to be part of the prayer movement. The voice became louder and PU committee was urged to organise a prayer gathering especially for the next generation.