#onlyGod

That day we met up, Yvonne shared about how work got crazy busy after she changed her work laptop password from ‘lovejoypeace’ to ‘#onlyGod’. We had a good laugh over how “apt” the password was.

Just now during the prayer meet, Christine got us to think of the #onlyGod prayers we wrote on the piece of paper, and to pray and trust God with these seemingly impossible things. That was when I realised that what I had wrote then – family and work – had taken a not-so-good turn in this current season. Still, I could trust that God would let hope rise within me and that He would make a way for my family and people at work. But there’s one thing I find it hard to ask Him to help me look to Him for it again…

I came home that night, filled with the determination to give it up. That night, I felt like I was taking back the #onlyGod prayer list from God and was saying to Him, “Let me strike this off; You don’t need to answer this prayer anymore.” No I wasn’t depressed when I did that, in fact I felt relieved. 

I’ve been hoping, trying, getting disappointed, hoping, trying, getting disappointed and the cycle repeated itself many times. I’m tired. I.have.done.all.that.I.could. I’m done. That night, I thought it was easier to condemn it to the abyss and tell myself this is a complete impossibility. It’s easier that way, because sometimes bearing that kind of hope is tiring.

The next morning, I was going about the house getting ready for work. I walked past the fridge, lifted my eyes and suddenly saw a magnet on the fridge that said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 

Funny huh. This is the kind of moment that God has been bringing before my eyes whenever I said I was done. This time round, I said, no it’s okay, let it remain impossible. And I walked away.

During the prayer meet when we were encouraged to pray and trust God, I felt challenged by God. So you can’t trust me with this? Why is it that you will trust me with things that currently look bad in those other requests but you will not trust me in this – when this issue hasn’t changed for the worse this season? So you can’t trust me with this?

I felt myself bargaining with Him, explaining to Him. I don’t have a good justification. I would surrender because He’s asking me to surrender and I want to obey. But. I don’t have the strength to even the bear the hope anymore. 

It’s totally out of my means and I really can’t do this by myself anymore. I won’t take this up. But here’s my heart, change it if You will.

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#onlyGod

Prayer before exams

Had this random inspiration to take the initiative to pray for the Christians in my junior batches before their exams. Think it came when I was reminded of what I had learnt about being a discipler who role models – to walk the talk. I kept forgetting to check their exam schedules until the start of this week, and I realised that most of them were down to only 1 paper left. A little late, but glad that I could still make it for at least one of their papers.

I was thankful for those few minutes with J before her paper yesterday. When I found her outside the exam venue, I realised there was another Christian with her, so I asked if this junior would like to join us. We prayed and talked a little. It was interesting how she was surprised that I am actually this small in size hahaha all along she had thought I was taller, and so they started spouting nonsense about the “big aura” that I have #tyvm

Then we started talking about exams and grades because that junior was a little concerned about having to pull up her cap. Joeline and I shared our own ideas of how all we have/can do is to do our best rather than think about that, because anything else is beyond our control. Basically, just do what we can, because that’s all we can do.

At that moment, it just felt like we’re in this together, again. We were trying to build another fellow Christian up together. Always thankful for a support like J, who shares similar motivations. Was also glad that in that short few minutes, we could share a little with this junior/friend, and I hope this junior/friend gained something out of that :) It was a blessed time that affirmed my decision to be there to pray.

Before each of their papers this week, I texted them to arrange to meet them. The replies I got contained often some form of “why?” It would be easier to reply with a joke or say “It’s just convenient anyway” that kinda stuff (I mean, I’m not comfortable with expressing myself verbally), but this time round I decided to be intentional in letting them know that I had wanted to be there to pray with them. Not because it’s convenient or that I was too much time on hand, but because I wanted to.

This time round, I have no sharings prepared about praying or supporting one another. But I do hope that in the little time I have left in this school, small things like this that I do will encourage these juniors to pursue God’s dreams for us in the days ahead. I still believe in the vision given to us. I hope they will take this baton and continue running with it.

Thankful to God too, for guiding me as I lead. Things like that are don’t occur naturally to me – like I’m usually a participant rather than an initiator. He helped me to see small things like this one that can make a difference.

Prayer before exams

In this together

The fatigue from weeks ago drags on. Felt it again this morning as I struggled with the decision to let this evening’s prayer meet go on, knowing that there’s potentially going to be just J and I.

Before I began my day this morning, I realised that I had 15 minutes to spare. Deep within me, I knew what I needed – time to worship and pray. So I did, and in that short 15 minutes, I just dwelled in God’s Presence, hoping to get some help. Realigned my heart with His and said sorry for the things in my heart that were selfish.

I didn’t come out of the room feeling like everything within me changed. But I was reminded of what it means to disciple J – not just to teach her to do things, but to walk with her and inspire her through it. This means to go on with the prayer meet even though there’s just two of us. This also means to be vulnerable with my struggles. If I don’t open up my life, how shall I even walk with her, and how shall I expect her to walk alongside me? If we don’t walk, how shall we inspire one another?

We met up this evening. The intention was to have a chat and pray with one another. Amongst the things we talked about were our thoughts and struggles relating to this group. We felt like we’re on our own; he was on his own, she was on her own, and I was on my own. We have a common goal, we meet regularly, but strangely we pray individually together. We admitted to each other that it’s tough-going when it seems like no one’s standing by our sides. We had wanted this to be something we look forward to each week.

We need a spark, a spark that would start a fire. So desperate to get that spark. We’ve been trying for a long time. Trying to get everyone into each other’s lives. I can’t emphasise enough how valuable togetherness is. This is something so small and seemingly insignificant in the grand plan, yet potentially powerful that will help us get there. We decided that we will try again this time round. We decided that we will do this together, because as long as there’s someone else with her or me, it makes all the difference. It gives us the drive to keep on going even through hard times.

And of course, if not for God assuring us of His Hands with us amidst this seemingly tough season, we wouldn’t have bothered. We were on the verge of giving up, but what He showed us gives us the reason to try again, and again, and again. That’s probably why she came, and also why I was there, despite what we struggled with individually this morning. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I know He will keep His Promise to us.

In this together

Reason we gather

Another to add to the recent ‘list of touched moments’:

Trying to fix a day for prayer meet for the rest of the semester. Coordinating this is actually quite difficult as I’m trying to 1) fix it on no one’s free day other than my own (will be too hard if I were to avoid mine haha too many) 2) take into account the time table of those in the group with the hope that they will turn up and be refreshed through the sessions.

Last night I thought I finally found a day like this, until Jaron said that’s his only free day. Apparently his tutorial that day is optional. I suggested making prayer meet on one of the evenings then. But before anyone else replied, he just said “O hey if really can’t then I’ll just come school.”

Very touched and very encouraged by his dedication to the prayer group. Many came and went but a few of them stayed behind and supported in every ways they could. I guess it’s because they see a value in doing this and they believe God is doing something in our midst and amongst our coursemates. Doubts may come and busy periods may hit us, but I’m encouraged by how they always always give their best to be at the prayer meet.

And God, who is faithful, always turned up in our midst. This makes all the difference and this gives us a reason to keep on doing this. Not out of good tradition or out of what is a trademark of a good Christian (since we all have our church activities anyway), but because we desire God and He is almost always found each time we gather. This is a powerful testimony for us to bear in mind in the time to come.

Reason we gather

Get up and run again

A few days ago, mom conveyed a message from Ps XH to write a thanksgiving note to my previous church for their 17th anniversary. Haven’t gotten down to writing it because…

But anyway, so mom wrote hers. Part of the response to her note that came in was this:
“青年人方面我只请到慧敏写,希望 [琬軒] 能写,尤其她住最远却最早到教会参加晨祷…。谢谢。”

One of the first thoughts that came to me was this – that’s pretty impressive. Impressed with the young but fervent teen then, but at the same time I couldn’t help but to ask myself, “What happened then?” I still remember that the leader, whom I’ve always loved and respected, once asked me, “What happened to you lately? You used to always be the first to be here, but now you aren’t even always here.” Elaborating on this part of the story isn’t the point of this post, so if you wanna know what happened, come talk to me about it.

But anyway, the point is that that kind of fervour was something that people remembered about that kid. Even when this didn’t surface in my mind when I’m asked about my experience there, it’s something that they reminded me about whenever they talked to me. By the way, I still love God and I genuinely do. Question for myself is, what changed?

I wonder, if there’s a weekly prayer meet like this in Hope, will I give my best to be there? Even if no one asked me to, even if no one expected me to, even if no one cares if I’m even there or not. Will I rise in the early morning at 5.30am again to seek God, just to seek God? Will I have that resolve, that determination, that eagerness?

Maybe, physically speaking, my body is no longer used to waking at 5.30am like how I did everyday in secondary school. But I’m wondering if this is just an excuse I’m making. Well maybe I’m busy now and stay up later into the night? Staying up nowadays is true, but much of it by choice actually. So if I actually do make an effort to rest early so that I can rise early, well. Being busy… I think I was more occupied with commitments and events than I am now (if you think I’m busy now, try asking me what I used to be up to from Monday to Friday each week lol).

On my way home just now, I kept asking myself, so what changed? Taking things for granted, complacency, eager feelings faded… all these came to me and all I thought was “maybe”. But suddenly, the word “passive” came to me and mm…

Passivity could quite likely be a cause. Been getting so used to getting fed, have people so nicely gently tactfully invite me for events (like prayer meet, fellowship, outreach), have people pasting reminders all over so that I am made aware of what’s going on and when’s this and that. For instance, when I first got here I used to find it odd that cell group leaders have to remind us that there is prayer meet coming up on this particular date and time. I even questioned the sensibility of doing that, and wondered what the rest were doing if they were not paying attention when announcement about prayer meet was being made. But guess what? I haven’t been aware of the past few prayer meets until my cell leader informed me about it, which by then, a lot of times I had already made some other plans. There was once, not long ago, when my mind just went, “well you didn’t tell me earlier, so it’s not my fault that I can’t be there”, and then the next thing that came into my mind was, “why wasn’t I paying attention to announcement, and why am I not keeping track of the fact that prayer meet is on the last Friday of every 2 months?” Good questions, no answer. Didn’t even bother to give much of a second thought about them.

No excuses, but I’ve just got to be more active when it comes to the things of God. It’s not about having the best attendance, serving the most, speaking up the most in LG, being there all the time, but to simply pay attention to the things of God because it matters to Him, and because it matters to me. My passivity makes me feel like these things lost their importance – because if things were important to me, I would be sure to catch them. And if I don’t like the gaps that I see, then I better be prepared to stand in those gaps, and to encourage others to stand with me. I can’t just be talking about how much I dislike these gaps and just be hoping someone else does something about it. That kid didn’t used to be so passive; if there was something she saw a value in, she would go out of the way to pursue it. Even if that meant lining up alone outside the Indoor Stadium, even if that meant joining external Christian organisations to take part in what the church was not involved in, even if that meant having to talk to Christian strangers so as to learn from them, and many other things.

Come on WX, you’ve got to get up and run again.

Get up and run again

When two or three are gathered,

An interesting question I was asked today, “Looking at how there were so few of us the previous time we met, and today, are you disappointed?”

To which I answered, no. And uh, I have no good/appropriate answer to this too.

Well, numbers shouldn’t matter and that’s what I keep reminding myself even as I pray for this group. Secondly, I kinda prepared myself for a time like this right from the start – can’t say this was a genius move though, haha it probably has to do with some issues I have with disappointment/expectations? Thirdly, I just hope that they are close to God and still reaching out in their lives in the midst of busyness even if they do not turn up on this day.

To be honest, there were some days when I realise it’s going to be just the 2 or 3 of us, and there’s still preparation needed on top of my academic submissions, a small part of me would kindaaa wish we meet another day. But then haha I’ll be reminded by what my pastor once shared, that even if there’s only 1 other person with him, he would still go ahead with the prayer meeting. What excuses shall I have then~ hahaha it’s a good reminder though.

Anyway, I am encouraged and I do feel supported by this brother-in-Christ who asked this question. I am encouraged by his desire to simply seek God and worship Him. It’s as though nothing else matters as much, and he really just enjoys worshipping God THAT much. It’s quite… amazing. And although he dropped me a “warning” to say I am to continue leading this group (phrased in a nice way of course) and his focus in this year may not be on this group, he still turns up and supports in whatever ways he can. Thankful for this bro! :)

After doing this for about 1.5 year now, I really enjoy seeking God with those who desire to seek Him. I love how this group does not exist because of an… institution (e.g. church, cell group) in a way? I love how we gather simply because we want to. I love how we love God. Quite a lot of those powerful encounters with God took place here.

Amazed and humbled by this experience. haha to think that God would use someone as tiny as I am and with hands as bare as mine to gather His people.

When two or three are gathered,

Prayer Tasks

Just yesterday, a few of my friends and I came together to pray in a park in the arts faculty. All I brought for the gathering was a guitar, 5 chord sheets and… little plan. There was no list of items to pray for. As we began the time of praying, we did it with the idea of simply immersing ourselves in worship and prayers – no list, no agenda, no plans. Plan flow of songs, unchecked. Plan things to say to lead others in worship, unchecked. Last minute changes to songs, checked. In fact one of it was so last minute that we sang the song halfway, stopped and agreed to move on to another song. Desire to worship and pray, checked. Desire for an encounter with God, checked. Desire to be led by the Spirit, checked. Desires met, checked.

There are also other occasions where some of us gather. At the end of the meeting, we decided to pray for one another. Prayer requests came in one after another. We allocated these to different people. We prayed. And we were done.

Those “other occasions” feel as though prayers are one of the ‘to-do’s. Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that having prayer requests and praying for one another are bad. They are good, and we should share about our lives and keep each other in prayers often. But what I’m suggesting is that our prayer lives could go further. To learn to dwell in God’s Presence. To be fine with having no one directing that time. To be fine with silence. To be fine with just letting our time come to a stand still, and wait, and enjoy that moment.

Prayers are not tasks on our to-do list to strike off. It is not merely a task that is good to complete at least once in our meetings. Prayer is a lifestyle, a form of worship! Spend unhurried moments, be immersed in worship, go without a plan, let God speak to us and let Him show us things unseen. I think to pray this way is powerful! That’s where re-alignment of our hearts take place and that’s where we learn to pray for things that matter to Him.

That was what we did yesterday, and we had a good time worshipping and praying freely! Looking forward to more of such times with these brothers and sisters-in-Christ :)

Prayer Tasks