Just before the turn of the year (Dec 28-30, 2021), close to 150 participants across 61 churches and 26 schools came together for an online/on-site inter-school prayer meeting called Reaping The Harvest.

The desire? To see Christ-centred youths who will be empowered to live for Jesus and carry on the mandate of revival to the next generation.

Aside from morning panel sessions and afternoon workshops, night rallies were also held at Bethesda Bedok-Tampines Church. This is the first in a series of articles we will be running from the conference.

School can be tough. We’re running on little sleep, rushing around CCAs and getting through one lesson after the other.

Where got time to pray? That’s the first thought that comes to most minds. Not these four, however, who have initiated and led prayer groups and movements in their schools.

Speaking at a panel on Day 1 of Reaping The Harvest, these youths opened up on the struggles and successes one faces in leading a prayer group.

Are you unsure if God has called you to start a prayer group in your school? Don’t know how to go about it?

Put your anxieties aside and listen to these four young prayer warriors who share how they got started.

How did you start your prayer group in school and what convicted you to do so?

Joel: I had this locker that I couldn’t find any use for, but I realised it could be something wonderful if people would pray for each other because of it.

I put a small little book there, some snacks and a note saying that it was a public locker and that people could leave their prayers there and ask for help — and that they could contribute to the snacks if they wanted. 

After a few weeks, I checked the locker, and there were a few pages filled with prayers and people interacting with those prayers, praying for other people. I was also glad to see I wasn’t the only one stocking up the locker; other people would come forward with their gifts and snacks to contribute. 

I left the prayer journal behind because I know that towards the end of every year, the Student Council would clear the lockers. So I left a note saying to keep the journal, and to keep the legacy intact.  

Hwei Shuean: In Sec 1, I encountered God in youth ministry. Then when I stepped into my secondary school, I felt that something was missing. Where was God in my school? I found myself wanting more. 

As a Sec 1 student, however, I didn’t really know how to start a prayer group. I tried a few times to start something but it didn’t really work out that well.

But then an opportunity came when I joined this prayer network called SHOP (School House of Prayer). It’s now called Praying Schools, where help and resources are available for students to start a prayer group.

Where was God in my school? I found myself wanting more. 

Around that time I also attended a conference where I received a burden in my heart to act on what the Lord had spoken to me, so I started a prayer group in late 2019 at the end of Sec 2.

Jaryl: After a 2018 youth camp where I committed my life to follow Jesus, I felt the Lord commission me to start a prayer group in Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road). 

God, how — where do I start? I’m not the best. I certainly don’t have the best reputation. And I’m like, Lord, where are you leading me?

But God said, take your guitar, go out. So at the bleachers, where students gathered for assembly, we would gather there to pray.

I would sit there with my guitar and worship God every day and pray with people before school started.

There’d be days when no one came, there’d be days when 30 people came.

Elijah: Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve always had a desire to see unity between different churches and denominations — people coming together to pray and just worship God.

So I was very keen on seeing what we could do in school. In St. Hilda’s Secondary School, we got together a few people from a few classes, gathered outside the toilet with one ukulele, and just sang worship songs on Wednesday mornings. 

Later, while I was in Temasek Junior College (TJC), I had a friend who went to polytechnic who remarked to me that there was a day of prayer for the polytechnics.

I joked with him that I should maybe organise a day of prayer for the junior colleges.

That thought slipped to the back of my mind during J1 because I was very busy. But during J2 orientation, I felt God speaking to me: “Hey, what about that JC day of prayer idea?” 

So I said, okay, let’s start small with TJC. I gathered a few of my friends, we pulled a few people together, and we had our first day of prayer.

It was amazing. Teachers came, alumni came. It continued on when I attended NIE where believers in our batch would gather to meet every Wednesday night to pray and fellowship.

Why do you think we should evangelise in our schools?

Joel: We have a very clear command by Jesus to do so from the Great Commission.

In schools, we can plant the seeds of the gospel, which may sprout and bloom later in life. We may not see the results now, but we may well become the very ones who sowed the seeds of salvation. 

I believe in the eternal world. It should really bug us how our friends may not end up in the same place as us after this life. Our hearts must desire to see other people being saved.

After all, the friends we reach out to can go on to share God’s hope and love with others.

Have you heard of Mordecai? Ananias? They are the “small people” who helped to bring in huge catches. The world doesn’t remember them, but they also started ripples of revival.

When a person is saved, that one person may go on to reach a whole million. You never know — the friend you share the gospel with could be the next Billy Graham or even the next Paul. 

What is a good starting point to share the gospel in school?

Elijah: The starting point of evangelism is simply where you’re at. If you’re in a certain class, and you know your tablemate is a pre-believer, just start from there.

You’re in a CCA? Then start from there. Whatever interaction you have with people — even the teachers or cleaners in school — just start from there.

With that small interaction, as you cover them with love, people will know the genuine love you carry — the love of Christ.

From there, that’s where doors open and their hearts will be open to you. Wherever that you’re at, just begin from there. 

Hwei Shuean: It’s about living out the gospel wherever we are. Evangelism starts from us, the way we present ourselves, the way we live. It’s in the everyday things at school; we carry Christ wherever we go. 

Joel: It’s a matter of overflow. When your spiritual life is strong, that bleeds into your everyday life as well. 

How do you manage your time between leading a prayer group and academics and CCA?

Jaryl: Giving up the things that we like — that is the price of a revivalist. Revival comes at a cost, and it’s not cheap.

Sometimes, it means you’re going to have to give up a bit of your study time just to minister to your friend. Sometimes it means you’ll get 3 hours of sleep in a night because you need to help someone.

Sometimes that might even mean not pursuing a romantic relationship, choosing to keep your eyes focused and fixed on the Lord instead.

If you feel called to do this (starting/leading a prayer group) then I want to encourage you to form a list of your priorities. Because sometimes when we say, “I have no time”, what we’re really saying is “I have no heart for this” — and that’s okay.

It’s okay to say “I have no heart for this” if God never called you to this. But how you spend your time really shows you where your heart is.

How can we keep encouraging our peers to come for prayer group even when they don’t want to?

Hwei Shuean: To encourage them to come, we have to have first journeyed with them in their walk with God.

Besides that, there must be conviction in prayer. Without a conviction or desire to pray, there’s little meaning in simply showing up prayer meetings.

Elijah: Wanting them to come is one thing. Praying for them to receive a conviction and revelation of prayer’s importance is another.

When the Holy Spirit reveals the importance of prayer to them in a personal way, it’s not something anyone can take away. They will then come because they themselves see the importance of prayer. 

So it comes back to being intentional, ministering to them, caring for them — whether or not they’re attending prayer group.  

Joel: Trust in the Lord’s ability to turn hearts.

The main thing is to draw the line between being their friend and where we’re supposed to let go.

Sometimes the answer is to simply let them go on their own journey — to discover for themselves that they cannot make do without God.

We don’t interfere, but we do intercede. We pray for them.

The prodigal son’s father stood waiting outside his house for his child’s return. Similarly, we too should hold an expectancy, that one day they’ll be saved. 

What are some lessons you’ve learnt along the way?

Hwei Shuean: Don’t hesitate to do what the Lord has called you to do. The Lord will empower you if He has called you to it. Go forth, in His strength, to do what He has called you to do. 

Joel: Even if you are two or three, a prayer group can still be powerful. Find kingdom friends. Find people with the same heart.

How do I reach out to backslidden believers?

Elijah: People backslide or leave their spiritual community for different reasons.

If you cannot pinpoint the reason why, pray and ask God what they need. Pray for them. Don’t despise prayer — prayer works. 

Joel: Prayer really does move mountains and it does change hearts. Keep that person close to you.

Get a prayer journal so that you can look back how God has been working as you intercede. Keep praying for that person and reaching out to them. 

Hwei Shuean: Be genuine in your interactions with them. Don’t come from a place of “you need to believe in God”. Just be their friend first.  

How can we have passion and fire for God, and how can we keep it going?

Jaryl: That passion and fire that God sets alight in you is given by the Holy Spirit. But too often, there’s no follow up to passion.

If you have a passion right now and you’re scared of it dying, then be accountable. Stay in community and follow up with people.

We plan the big events but what happens after that? We need to continue stoking the fire in our spiritual community. So, build the culture of “How can I pray for you?”

The Bible also says to exhort one another daily. We should encourage one another daily, and ask for prayer requests. Praying daily will keep the fire going — and do it with others! 

Elijah: Spend time in the Word and spend time in prayer. Guard your own relationship with God more than your ministry, more than the prayer group.

For example, if you didn’t have a prayer group now — would you still spend time with God?

It’s your relationship with God that keeps your fire going.

The book of Daniel says that the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits for Him.

The people who know their God know their God not to do great things for God, but to know their God. It’s about knowing God.

All the disciples started with that. They didn’t have a ministry, they just followed Jesus. All they knew was Jesus, and then from there came the fruit, the overflow.

So, walk with God. It all starts with a relationship with Him. 

Joel: One practical way would be journaling. Note down your prayer pointers and track your walk with God.

Has your walk been strong? Have you forgotten about someone you should be caring for?

A strong relationship with God doesn’t come from Christian activity or how much you serve in ministry. It comes from intimacy with God and knowing who God is.

Write out your prayers and express them vividly to the Lord; the posture of your heart really does matter when you do this.

Hwei Shuean: Having a strong Word-life and prayer-life are very important. These are what overflow in your ministry to others.

Prioritise your relationship with God. Make time to get into the Word, get into prayer.

A strong relationship with God doesn’t come from Christian activity or how much you serve in ministry. It comes from intimacy with God and knowing who God is.

The responses have been adapted for clarity and concision.

  1. What do you think God is calling you to do in your school? 
  2. Who are some people you might partner with in this kingdom endeavour? 
  3. What is one practical thing you can do to shift the needle in your school’s spiritual thermostat?