The 40-year cyclical review of Dr Billy Graham’s prophecy over Singapore in 1978 has been ongoing rhetoric across multiple local churches even in the days and months leading up to 2018, recently fuelled by the passing of the great evangelist who took the world by storm.
But instead of holding its breath or crossing its arms in anticipation, the body of Christ has largely been rallying all members to intercede – prayers unceasing and hands raised – for the nation’s prophetic destiny. LoveSingapore, one of the largest church unity movements here, has even declared 2018 a “year of prayer” for Singapore.
The call to pray like never before was palpable at Kingdom Invasion 2018, with Lou Engle opening the night with an open challenge to fast and pray for 40 days to “lay down a conveyor belt for destiny to land”, and the presence of Suzette Hattingh, intercessor extraordinaire (in our terms) and founder of Voice in the City.
“Moses fasted for 40 days and transited into a new covenant. Jesus entered into His apostolic calling after 40 days of fasting. When Daniel understood the time he was in, he sought God and fasted for 40 days,” Engle reasoned.
“All hell will fight against this nation if she is to be the apostolic centre of Asia. We need to turn revelation into intercession.”
It is through prayer and fasting that our hearts respond to and align with the prophetic word from God, he said.
He also was joined by Hattingh several times during the conference so that she could share her expertise and wisdom on prayer intercession with the entire congregation. Hattingh had been invited to host break-out sessions on the topic.
In the early morning of March 15, 2018, before official conference hours, Hattingh held a special workshop on prayer. She began with an explanation on the root word for “intercession”: Paga`.
Paga`, a Hebrew word, is rooted in two different meanings.
“On one side, it is gentle,” Hattingh explained. “Like when we come before the Lord and simply worship.”
The other meaning of the word refers to a strong prayer. Comparing it to a man hammering a nail, she explained, “It is bold, and it is powerful.”
While both may seem contradictory, Hattingh assured everyone that they are actually two sides to the same coin.
“It is a parallel, not a contradiction. Both are from the Holy Spirit. We need to be both.”
Due to time constraints, Hattingh chose to demonstrate the “strong” side of intercession by explaining that our prayers must come from the Word.
Reading from Isaiah 55:11, she declared, “Satan can influence your emotions, but he cannot influence the activity of the Word. He cannot change the power of the Word that goes out!”
Hattingh continued, “It’s not about me, it’s about the Word. We are only a channel. As the channel, we use our voice to release the Word. The Holy Spirit will take the word from our mouths and fire them into the spirit realm.”
Following this lesson, she broke the audience into pairs and instructed them to pray from Psalm 36:8 as practice. Throughout the prayer session, she reminded them to pray using the Scripture.
“If you want to accomplish the harvest,” she said, “You have to pray from the Word.” The resulting roar of the praying crowd could be heard from the outer halls. Hammering a nail, indeed.
But the gentle side of paga` was also experienced later that morning, as Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor Bethel Church, Redding, preached on one of his pet topics: The importance of abiding in God, in order to host the presence of God.
He described abiding as a seamless connection with God, the way a branch seamlessly connects to the vine. It is the perfect relationship we were designed for, where our heartbeat is His heartbeat, His dreams are our dreams. And it is in this co-labouring partnership that the marvellous things of God will unfold here on earth, as it is in Heaven.
And in this abiding, this keeping of a deep affection for God and His Word, that Jesus was able to offer to all believers something once only offered to one man called Solomon: Ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. (1 Kings 3:1-15)
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:7-8)
If you abide in me, God says, if you keep that deep affection in place, and my words abide in you – I will be able to trust you with anything you request of me, because your desires will be the offspring of our relationship.
“These prayers that erupt from us in a place of abiding are shaped by the glory of God and His reality in our lives, and in answering those things, He is glorified,” Johnson said.
Our desires will be the offspring of a perfect abiding relationship with God.
“That a broken humanity can be redeemed to such a place where they can influence the heart of the Father – by this, He is glorified.”
Getting the audience to rise to their feet and accompanied by only a keyboardist, Johnson led the 3,500 strong crowd in an extended period of deep worship. “Take your time to abide,” were his only instructions.
The spiritual songs and whispered prayers that soon emerged from the solemn silence was undeniably paga` in its other form – gentle and beautiful.
In this momentous year for Singapore, the call to fight for our destiny on our knees is stronger than ever before. Intercession may not be the most intuitive thing for many of us, but if we want the Kingdom to invade earth, we need this seamless connection with the presence of God.
As Dr Ed Silvoso so nicely put it this morning: “When God says He will build His Church, He meant that he will build you because you are the Church!
“And the gates of Hades shall not prevail.”
Kingdom Invasion 2018 will run until Friday at Singapore Expo Halls 7/8. Night sessions starting from 7:30pm are free, subject to availability of seats. For more details, visit www.kingdominvasion.sg.