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 (BBTC). This message from Pastor Amos Pang (BBTC) is the second in a series of articles we will be running from the conference.
“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest’.” (Matthew 9:35-38, ESV)
This is a picture of Jesus released into ministry. He was going around preaching and at that moment saw great crowds.
The fields were ripe for Jesus. How many of you know your schools are ripe for harvest? Even if you don’t see it, I’m telling you: your schools are ripe for harvest.
So, what do we do about the harvest? Here are 4 Ps to get us started praying and sharing Christ on campus.
1. PASSION (AND COMPASSION!)
First, be passionate about the work.
Jesus was clearly passionate about the work, He went through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease.
He was doing a lot; not just meeting real needs but also meeting felt needs. As He continued to do so, you would think that the people who needed saving would decrease.
But that wasn’t the case for Jesus, because what He saw instead was more and more crowds.
I was a medic when I was in the army. So I was used to seeing a whole bunch of people streaming in for medicals at 7 am.
There was also a second “report sick” time at about 12 pm, so if we didn’t clear the 7 am batch in time, we would see another gang of people come in before the first batch was done.
Every time that happened, I had no compassion for the people who were sick.
I just wanted to get rid of them.
That’s not what Jesus’ response was.
When He saw more crowds coming, His response was that of compassion. Why? Because He saw that they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
How many of your schools are like that as well? Places where there are sheep without shepherds?
We need to make the proper response. Do we look at people as just problems to solve, or do we look at them like how Jesus did with compassion?
Sometimes when we look at the problems ahead of us, they feel really big.
But the reality is that they’re often smaller than we imagine — we’ve just made them so big in our eyes that they cover everything else.
Do we look at people as just problems to solve, or do we look at them like how Jesus did with compassion?
Only when I pull them away, does the change in perspective help me to realise these problems are so small compared to God.
I used to have a senior when I was in secondary school. At the end of her first year in junior college, she was so convicted that she heard God tell her to quit school and go into full-time ministry that she did it.
On one hand, I had some admiration for what she did. But on the other hand, I thought she was crazy.
There is a story behind her courage, though. See, when she was in secondary school, she was overwhelmed with many different things.
It was a tough journey, but she eventually became convicted that she should not be focusing on her problems — but on God.
So she decided to call her cellmate every day, and they would pray for one another.
Eventually, they ran out of things to pray for each other. So they started to pray for other things like their cell group, church and the world.
As time passed, they realised that their problems were small in light of God in their lives.
Experiencing God in such a way was how she was able to come to a point where she could obey God when He said “quit school and follow me”.
Today, she is the team leader at Focus On The Family which has done much to serve and impact Singapore.
Could you follow God like that? I know she only managed to because she recognised that God is so much greater than the problems we have!
A long time ago, O-Level results only were released in March or April.
Because of that, you go to Junior College or Polytechnic through your prelim results first. When you got your O-Level results, you would then reapply again.
So I was in Secondary Four when God kept sending me signs that I should go to Catholic Junior College (CJC).
My response was: “Away from me, devil! Take your evil thoughts out of my mind. Let me focus on Christ and Christ alone in Raffles Junior College.”
Jokes aside, going to RJC was honestly what was upon my heart — until two things happened that shook me to the core.
The first was when I was at a conference.
On the last day, the speaker came up and said: “I’ve got good news, at the end of this conference, every single school in Singapore has students that will commit themselves to pray for their schools — except CJC.”
Hearing that, I decided to “half-comply”: I would use my prelim results to enter CJC and start a prayer group. Then, when I got my O-Level results, I would apply to wherever I wanted to go.
God gets His prayer group. I get the school I want. Win-win right? Wrong.
December comes around and I’m at a retreat where Pastor Andrew (Cornerstone Community Church) came to speak.
I was kneeling before the altar, when Pastor Andrew laid his hands on my head. Suddenly, I collapsed to the floor.
I could then hear God’s voice bellowing: “Did you think you could really compromise with the one true God?”
So when I finally got my O-Level results, I took the form and placed CJC as my first choice without hesitation.
That didn’t mean my journey in opening a prayer group in CJC was easy. In fact, it was difficult in the beginning because nobody wanted to come.
Nevertheless, every morning, whether people joined me or not, I would sing one or two worship songs and then pray.
Eventually, two people started joining me though it stayed just the three of us for a while.
Sometimes, you can feel alone. You feel so passionate about praying in your school, but nobody wants to come with you. You might be thinking: if I’m the only one praying, is it enough?
Prayer does not just equip us for the greater work. Prayer is the greater work.
The encouragement is this: when it comes down to it, this passage really talks about one thing — and that’s praying.
When Jesus had compassion for the crowd, He didn’t tell His disciples to do more work.
What He said was: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest”.
Prayer does not just equip us for the greater work. Prayer is the greater work. As we pray, we are connecting ourselves to the true source of power.
Finally, we should participate in the work.
The next verse, Matthew 10:1, tells us that after Jesus gave this commission to pray for the workers — He commissioned His disciples as the workers.
Why? Not because these men prayed for power, but because they prayed that God would provide workers.
And God provided workers through them!
As we pray for workers, transformation happens in our own hearts such that we participate in His work.
Will we know the full extent to which prayer impacts other people? Maybe not. But, nevertheless, just be faithful to do it.
Every morning, whether anybody would be there or not, I would be worshipping in CJC.
I never knew the extent of how that impacted people until I was in University.
There were several occasions while I was walking around in university, when someone would just stop me. I had no idea who they were, but they recognised me.
I didn’t realise it at that point in time, but with the way CJC’s buildings were structured, it kind of served as a microphone. So I had no idea, but every morning the school was hearing me worship!
These people in university would share with me that they heard me worship every morning in CJC without fail.
They told me that when their friends came to share the gospel with them, they suddenly remembered there was this crazy person in school who had so passionately given his life for Jesus.
That made them think they should give Jesus a shot.
By faith, know that as you obey, God is going to use you!
If not for bumping into them at NUS, I would never have realised the full impact of praying and worshipping at CJC.
I just want to encourage you, that as you continue on your own journeys — God can do much more than you can possibly imagine.
You may not necessarily be able to hear of these things like I was blessed to.
But by faith, know that as you obey, God is going to use you!
This excerpt is adapted from a message by Pastor Amos Pang on the first night of Reaping The Harvest.
- What might be on God’s heart for your school? Take a moment to pray about it.
- Is there a prayer group in your school?
- Would you consider joining it or starting one?