A call to pray
for the nation
By LIM K THAM
PRAY for the nation, but
recognise that nations are penultimate realities, and avoid making
God into a tribal God. This was the direction given by Bishop
Dr Robert Solomon as he launched the national prayer movement
styled "prayer@marketplace" on March 30, 2004 at a local
Initiated by a number of Christian professionals, the inter-denominational movement seeks to bring Christians together to pray for the Republic of Singapore, its leaders and its people's well-being. Already it has held several monthly prayer sessions in locations within the city. It is now under the sponsorship of the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS).
Bishop Dr Solomon, speaking as President of the NCCS, explained that empires will roll in one after another and will pass on -- only God is the ultimate reality. Drawing parallels from the history of Israel, he added that "Israel failed because it had treated God like a tribal god, a kind of divine mascot for protection".
He said: "They thought that Yahweh will protect them as long as the temple was there in Jerusalem. But they failed to spread the Law that was given them. They failed to be faithful to God. Hence the exile."
To his rapt audience of about 850 pastors and church leaders, he urged: "We must pray not only for our nation. God is the global God, a cosmic God. There is very much happening out there that is important to God."
But the efficacy of corporate prayer depends very much on the quality of one's personal prayer life, he went on to say, adding that "our corporate prayer is only as strong as our personal prayer". In the practice of prayer, Daniel stands out as a role model for Christians. This Old Testament prophet can teach us many lessons about prayer, not least his faithfulness, consistency and spiritual stamina, said Bishop Dr Solomon.
Concluding his stirring exhortation to take prayer seriously, he challenged the assembled Christians there to launch the prayer movement to ask themselves a soul-searching question, "How serious are we?"
From the agreeing nods and appreciative applause that followed, it would seem that the response to the bishop was a resounding "Yes, we are!"
Lim K Tham is the Associate General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Singapore.