Global Day of Prayer 2011: An Urgent Cry for Malaysia
by Debbie Loh
THE Global Day of Prayer (GDOP) 2011 in Malaysia was a quieter and more localised affair compared to the mass gathering at a Klang Valley stadium the previous year.
On 12 June 2011, the worldwide date for the GDOP, main prayer rallies were held at three locations in the Klang Valley while one was held in Penang. Smaller prayer meetings took place in over 40 cities and towns throughout Malaysia that week. Though more subdued overall, many who attended GDOP 2011 felt the urgency in crying out to God for the state of the nation's affairs and to take seriously the call to repentance and prayer in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
For Malaysia, people prayed for repentance, restoration of moral values and healing for society. Among the items highlighted were the high number of child prostitutes between the ages of nine and 18, estimated at over 4,000.
Other concerns included the crime rate, in particular rape, where statistics show that one rape occurs ever 2.5 hours. Child abandonment was another concern, whereby one baby is said to be dumped every 10 days. The high incidence of abortion at one for every five pregnancies, and growth in the HIV/AIDS rate.
The political climate was covered in a unique way at the prayer rally led by youths in Kampar at the Grand Kampar Hotel. The meeting here prayed for forgiveness and restoration of Malaysia using the five principles of the Rukun Negara: Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan (Belief in God), Kesetiaan kepada Raja dan Negara (Loyalty to King and Country), Keluhuran Perlembagaan (Supremacy of the Constitution), Kedaulatan Undang-Undang (Sovereignty of the Law), Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan (Good behaviour and morals).
Restoration of godliness in society was the prayer focus for the Chinese GDOP rally held at the Taman Midah Lutheran Church in Cheras on 16 June. The gathering broke into small groups to pray for the seven mountains or sectors of society: business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion. Rev Kok Chin Ming from the Mudun Chinese Methodist Church spoke on the need for personal holiness and urged Christians to live holy lives in order to affect change in these sectors.
For the Malaysian Church, people prayed for unity among Christians across denominations and generations, and boldness in standing for justice, integrity and in preaching the Word.
For the Middle East, prayers were said for mercy and peace to be restored to countries facing political turmoil, for genuine freedom and improved livelihoods for citizens.
Given the state of affairs in Malaysia and the Middle East, GDOP 2011 Malaysia Chairman Rev Looi Kok Kim aptly summed up the mood of the times in his message at the Petaling Jaya Evangelical Free Church (PJEFC) rally on 12 June.
"2011 is turning out to be a year of making choices, whether on a personal level, nationally or globally," he said. He referred to choices facing Malaysians, for example, whether to remain in the country because of the current situation. He also referred to choices facing Middle East citizens in recent and on-going protests for a change of government. Rev Looi noted that the choices people made now would shape events in the coming years.
"Things may happen for better or for worse, but the important thing is for God's people to stand firm in faith. Faith is required in order to do the unthinkable, such as the crossing of the Red Sea," he said.
He quoted from Moses moments before leading the Israelites across the Red Sea in Exodus 14:13-14. "Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. … The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Some pastors were heartened by stronger youth leadership in GDOP events this year. At the rally at SIB Brickfields, Rev Danil Raut, president of SIB Semenanjung, said he was moved by a strong turnout from the youth. "I was very encouraged to see more young people, unlike before."
The youth-led meeting in Kampar was spearheaded by students of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR). Daniel Chi of the GDOP Kampar Committee said more students had been inspired to pray for the nation. The event drew about 100 people, mostly UTAR students and Orang Asli Christians from around Kampar.
In Penang, churches united together to form dance, worship teams and choirs for the event which was anchored by the Excel Point Community Church (EPCC). Pastor Sam Surendran of EPCC said the prayer rally was the culmination of the 168-hours non-stop prayer chain held from June 4 - 11, and the Run Penang event.
The call in 2 Chronicles 7: 14 remains true even after GDOP 2011 has passed. The challenge for all Malaysian Christians is to continue preserving in repentance, prayer and ethical living, before God can heal our land.