“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” (John F. Kennedy) At 8, I did not understand the context, the implication nor the calling of this quote – in fact, I thought it was some kind of joke. It was too magnanimous for me – what can the strength of one person do for his/her country? For some reason, this quote struck a chord in my naïve mind.
The Malaysia United FireWall (MUFW) is a prayer initiative which enables the body of Christ (comprising individuals, churches, ministries and prayer networks) to come together in unity and agreement to pray for Malaysia. Among others, intercessors can sign up for 15-minute prayer slots, at a time to one’s convenience, and intercede for our nation. There were readily available prayer points to follow. And so I did.
In late-May 2021, there was a call by MUFW to have a 24-hour, seven days a week praise and worship of our Lord, held on Zoom. It was initially scheduled to run only for a week, but soon it took up momentum and continued on until early July. I did not imagine what it would be like, to praise and worship our Lord Jesus, non-stop! What started out as something to satisfy my curiosity, turned out to be more than a month-long pursuit. Churches of different denominations and languages in Malaysia were united in a concerted effort, round-the-clock, to pray for the nation! Even in the wee hours of the night and morning! This was truly a sight to behold for me, and an experience like no other. It was very encouraging and touching to see hundreds of people logging in to pray and crying their hearts out to God, at any time of the day. Praise and worship were offered to the Lord in the many languages and dialects of our beautiful country – Bahasa, English, Mandarin, Tamil, Cantonese, Punjabi, Hokkien, native languages of the Orang Asli, etc! This brought my understanding of praise and worship to a new dimension! There were also sessions where real-time maps of different parts of Malaysia were displayed and states and towns in Malaysia being prayed for.
It was also during this time that I observed that there were more than the usual handful of homeless people in the area where I live in the city centre. Before the movement control order, they were few and far between. It was quite alarming to see such magnitude of poverty amidst the seemingly plenty in the city. The regular soup kitchens in the area were also not in operations. God led my husband and I to provide food for the homeless people a couple of times a week, for several weeks. Initially, the fear of approaching them held me back; but when I was partaking of the delicious food that God has consistently been providing for me in my comfortable home, I felt convicted. I realized I should allow myself to be used by God to channel His blessings to the less fortunate. This street-feeding exercise remains close to our hearts and we continue to seek opportunities to serve our local community even in small ways.
After over a month of the 24/7 praise and worship, however, the situation in Malaysia did not appear to improve. In fact, we witnessed daily record highs of Covid-19 cases, tumultuous political scenes, rising unemployment, businesses shutting, and others.. I asked God, “Why is it that after such concerted effort by the body of Christ in seeking Your face, knocking on the doors of heaven for 24 hours a day for over a month, that we still do not see the changes that we have been expecting?”
God very quickly impressed upon my heart, that He is still on the throne and He remains sovereign over Malaysia. Our role is to humble ourselves, get on our knees, pray and seek His face with contrite hearts when interceding for Malaysia. We are to submit to His sovereignty and rule over Malaysia. I should not let what I see happening shake my faith and make me forget what God has said and commanded us, His children, to do. The worse things may appear to be, the more we should pray – He is our loving Heavenly Father; He is concerned with everything that concerns us! It is our responsibility and privilege to be used by God to pray for our country’s leaders in running Malaysia. Our leaders need God’s wisdom to step into God’s perfect will to govern Malaysia righteously. With this, God has reminded me to stop complaining, but to continue praying.
I am reminded once again in Romans 13:1 that there is no authority that is not established by God. With freedom in Christ, we, as Christians, are called to give honour and respect to the king and our authorities, the very people who have been allowed by the One to come to that throne and to assume positions of authority in the country.
In all, God deserves our trust, because He always does what is best, for us individually and also for the country where He has placed us. I now know the paramount thing I can do for my country, Malaysia - God has never stopped working, and I must participate in what He is doing in our country – to continue praying and serving, and to do what is right in God’s eyes for His greater glory.