The team had all of two weeks to prepare. St Andrew’s Cathedral, right smack in the heart of the city, had suddenly opened up to host this year’s FOPx Worship Night, which took place last Sunday night on July 1, 2018.
Held several months before the annual FOPx Youth Conference, the open event sets the stage for youth all across the nation and denominations to get a taste of the FOPx experience, as well as to worship God and intercede for their generation.
Last year’s Worship Night had drawn almost 1,500 young people from over 100 churches, so many that chairs in the hall had to be removed via a participant-made human chain to accommodate the sheer number of those who had turned up.
This same problem would be safely avoided with this new venue – the open field right next to the old chapel of St Andrew’s Cathedral – where a crowd of over 2,000 could be held.
But space wasn’t the first reason for the choice, Ps Andrew Yeo shared with me. He’s led the youth edition of Festival of Praise since 2016. This was the very field Billy Graham had held one of his public sermons, other than his better-known rally at the National Stadium during his 1978 Crusade.
“St Andrew’s Cathedral was built on land set aside by Sir Stamford Raffles for the first church after he’d founded Singapore,” Ps Andrew also said. “Next year, Singapore celebrates her 200th year since our founding.”
“And now we’re holding FOPx right in the middle of the government, business and shopping districts. There’s so much meaning.”
Although the evening drizzle wasn’t letting up even as the start of the event drew near, people were streaming in steadily. Some had already parked themselves under the tentage, but the open field right in front of the stage was almost fully filled by the time the sun began to set.
When the FOPx band opened the session at 7pm, nobody seemed to notice the rain anymore.
Fronted by Emmanuel Assembly of God’s Youth Campus Director Isaac Ong, who recently made it to the finals of The Voice (SG/MY), the band was noticeably youthful themselves – with no one over 30.
By the time Ivan Tan, organiser of last year’s Campus Combined prayer gathering, came on stage for the prayer and consecration segment of the night, the atmosphere was thick with worship and prayer.
Reading from Galatians 2:20, Ivan asked the crowd, “Can you imagine if Christ lives in you? That would mean Jesus is walking into your homes, your classrooms, your workplaces … Everywhere!”
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“I believe that if we lived like this, our nation will really change. Our nation, and beyond our nation!”
In line with the night’s theme of youth-led revival, anyone willing was invited to pray rapid-fire prayers of 15 seconds or less for their generation. With marked bravery, over 20 young people stepped forward to take the mic, several praying for the spirit of depression and suicide to be broken over Singapore, and even for all bullying to end.
“This will be a grassroots revival,” Ps Andrew declared when he took the stage. “When I was still a worship leader for the IGNITE youth movement back in the day, I had a vision of fires being sparked in different places across the island.
“I knew then that the revival will come from many different churches – and it will start from the young.”
When asked who would give their lives to doing God’s work in this nation, hands were raised all over the field. And as the rain continued to fall, one couldn’t help but think the rains of revival must have been falling on an unstoppable generation of burning hearts for Jesus Christ.
“Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit …” (Isaiah 45:8)
The FOPx Conference is happening November 29 to December 1, 2018. Details can be found here.