What do you do when your church has 7 coronavirus cases? Pray, says Grace AOG member
Samantha Loh // February 14, 2020, 1:56 am
It was 7.50pm and the Ministry of Health had just announced that, for the second day running, there were more confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in my church, Grace Assembly of God. There are now a total of seven cases in our cluster – and even my senior pastor is one of them.
Below is a candid shot of our senior pastor, Rev Dr Wilson Teo, who is in high spirits even while warded in the National Centre for Infectious Diseases. You can hear more from him in his personal letter.
Many of our members have also been offering help to those affected by quarantine orders – even if it’s a craving for char kway teow or kopi, we will get it for you!
As for me, I was not afraid, but I was deeply worried. Over the health of my pastors, my friends and the rest of the congregations; over the possibility of more cases; and yes, even over the ugly comments on various news reports.
Humanly speaking, the timing seemed bad.
We had just installed our new senior pastor at the turn of the year. This past weekend, we had also just kicked off our 70th anniversary celebrations and were looking forward to a season of celebration and thanksgiving. Now this?
Even across space, prayer was, and still is, the best response.
Then my phone buzzed again. It was an invitation from a church friend to meet up and pray tonight – online.
Even though most of us were still in shock, the agreement to meet was fast and unanimous. At 9.30pm, eight of us gathered on Google Hangouts.
Even across laptop screens, God was at work and community flourished. Even across space, prayer was, and still is, the best response.
I expected our prayers to be short and succinct. Yet, God moved each of us to pray with different perspectives, all uniting eventually to thank God for the disruption in our lives as an opportunity to realign with him.
This is the transcript of one of our friend’s prayers that moved me deeply, which has been shared with permission.
- Father, I pray over the church. I pray that this hope, this light, this salvation would spread to those that do not yet know You.
- In such a situation, our flesh would fear, our flesh would worry… but Father teach us to see who You are in our lives. You are our fortress, You are our Protector.
- Even if the enemy tries to attack us, we will not stumble and fall. You are our cornerstone, You are our foundation.
- Even if the number of cases increase and create fear in our hearts, Heavenly Father, help us to remain confident in You. Help us not to be afraid.
- We want to pray this over the church, over believers in Singapore, over believers in the nations.
- Lord, You know that it is hard, and You understand the weakness and the imperfections of our human, feeling heart.
- But Father, Your mercies are new and Your forgiveness extends to us. Most importantly, Your grace brings us through every situation.
- This is the prayer that I want to declare over the church.
- Through this whole ordeal, the one thing that we ask of You Lord is that we can dwell in Your Presence, that our heart would yearn for and to be directed to to seek Your face, and to delight in Your love, in Your perfection, in Your glory and in Your healing power.
- Heavenly Father, should there be any troubles or worries in our hearts, may You just bring us back into Your sanctuary of peace and hope.
- That we shall not focus on the situation but Lord, we will hold our heads high and look to You because You are the God of the whole universe and the whole world. You are the Lord of Lords and King of Kings – You are the Highest.
- So Lord, in this situation, may our response as believers be one that even pre-believers would be puzzled about.
- We can still be joyful, we can still praise You, we can still glorify You. If those whose hearts are cold, who mock us and say that we are blind, so be it. We will praise and glorify You.
- Even as we seek You today, I’m sure many of us are asking: “Why is this happening to Grace Assembly of God?”
- But Lord, we know that You are good, You are sovereign and in control of all things. Should there also be something you want to show us, Lord, reveal our hearts and humble us to seek You during this time.
- We want to pray for the church leadership as well. As they handle this crisis, with the varying reactions, positive and negative, Lord, guide them. Let them not function on human wisdom and experience, but Father let them wholly depend on You.
- May you unite our hearts as a church as we go through this together, with peace, with joy, with hope.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!
The prayer session definitely brought a release within me. These were already things I had known, but it took community to remind me of it, to encourage and to build me up.
The release came from repentance first – that God would refine my faith and the church’s – and then a fresh surrender of myself and the church to the Lord in this season.
Finally, it was also one of thanksgiving, that although our strength was being tested, both physically and spiritually, together we could ensure that at least one aspect would not fall.
It seemed apt that our pastors had just preached over the launch weekend on the Biblical significance of the number “70”.
“70” marked the completion of one chapter of God’s assignment and the start of a new season under a new leadership, hence the theme “Anchored in Faithfulness” for our anniversary celebrations.
“70” represented the renewal of hope.
And while we may not have expected the renewal to come in the form of a crisis, may we yield to the mighty hand of God to take heart and to take part right now – in His marvellous plans for Grace Assembly of God not just for the rest of the anniversary celebrations, but also the next 70 years!
Weekend services will resume on February 29 at both our locations. If you’d like to come and have hope renewed together with us, we will see you then!
Samantha attends the YAYP (Young Adults, Young Professionals) service at Grace Assembly of God. More information on church services can be found at www.graceaog.org
PAUSE + PRAY
In his personal letter to the church, Senior Pastor Wilson Teo closed with this psalm. May we also pray it and be encouraged!
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains. My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. ‘ The LORD will keep you from all harm he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.“ (Psalm 121:1-8)