Singapore: A Nation of Refuge

Singapore: A Nation of Refuge

Written by: Lemuel Teo (Photo by: Caleb Kay)

Interview with Daniel Lim

On 15-18 June, Christians from Singapore and the surrounding Southeast Asian nations gathered for the Burning Hearts Conference 2016. The conference centred around the pillars of prayer, worship, and missions.

Daniel Lim, CEO of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, was one of the conference speakers. Born and raised in Penang, Malaysia, he is well-acquainted with the Singapore story and the culture of this city. It felt like I was speaking to a wise older brother-in-Christ who was not only aware of the times, but could articulate its urgent needs with great precision. In an interview with SELAH, Daniel shares his heart on Singapore’s past, present, and future.

How did you end up speaking at this conference?

Jason Chua went to the IHOP internship in Kansas City, came back, started the Burning Hearts prayer room and we have been on a journey with him for many years ever since. Over the last few years, there have always been speakers from Kansas City that would help him in Burning Hearts’ annual conference. This year we prayed about it, and felt that it’s supposed to be about prayer and missions.

Coming to Singapore, what is the one thing that has struck you the most?

Outwardly, this society looks very orderly, clean, and the systems are efficient. In the spiritual, God has done much in this nation but some re-strengthening of the foundation is needed for the next decades.

This is the 51st year, and God has much to do, but there’s a whole generation of young leaders — whether Christian or non-Christian — who are not connected to the struggle of its early days. I believe that the Lord wants to connect them to the heart of the Father of this nation — spiritual fathers of this nation.

At the same time, the Lord wants to heal and release them from the sense of fatherlessness that was the struggle of the older generation, ones who tried their best to develop this country.

What are your thoughts about Singapore being the “Antioch of Asia”?

This is possibly true, but I think Singapore has not fully walked out this potential; some ingredients need to be in place. One of the vital foundations is consistent prayer. I think there are pockets in Singapore that are fervent in prayer. But, overall as a Church, the culture of prayer has not really set into the Church yet. I think that this is the track the Antioch of Asia runs on.

In Acts 13:1–4, the prophets and the teachers came together to minister to the Lord in prayer and fasting. And that is how the Antioch church sent out labourers and expanded the Kingdom. If the church in Singapore is not a praying church, then “Antioch of Asia” becomes just a good slogan: You can have prosperity, finance, technology, but the spiritual ingredients that made the Antioch church Antioch were Word and Prayer. The Word dimension might be quite developed but the Prayer dimension is not as developed, hence there needs to be some attention paid in that area.

But I am encouraged because there is a generation that really wants to give themselves to prayer. I know of older people in Singapore that gave themselves to prayer. There’s a group of young people that really wants to do this and there are older ones that have been praying for many, many years. I believe that the Lord is  strengthening the foundations of prayer in Singapore.

What do you think is the call of God upon Singapore?

Singapore is a nation of refuge. You are adopting strangers, and that’s basically the Father’s heart — adopting nations that are not your own.

(Daniel Lim released a prophetic word on the first night of the conference: while fatherlessness defined part of Singapore’s post-independence narrative, it was actually God who was adopting this nation so that He could set it apart. Singapore was to adopt other nations and to embrace them with the heart of the Father. Singapore would give refuge to other nations in times of trouble.)

What do you hope to see in Singapore in maybe a decade’s time?

I would like to see Singapore fulfil her destiny — whatever God has set her apart to do — through sustained and consistent prayer, discipleship, evangelism, and missions. Singapore will be a pearl, a blessing, to the neighbouring countries. God has enriched this nation for a purpose, giving this nation an influence beyond its size. And He did this for a reason.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for Christians globally today?

I think there are two fronts. Number one: The persecution and martyrdom of Christians. It is a daily, modern-day phenomenon that is neglected by the media. The media has focused on the persecution of certain kinds or certain groups of people. But Christians have been killed and persecuted all around the world on a daily basis with no media exposure.

Secondly, young adults and youths are being exposed to social media, or rather discipled by social media with a cultural worldview that is anti-Christian — not just atheistic but anti-Christian.

In conjunction with Burning Hearts, this article is the first of a three-part interview series on Singapore’s prophetic destiny.

LEMUEL enjoys good conversations over a cup of kopitiam kopi. He connects with God while playing the piano and is frequently in awe of His creation—sunsets, sea breezes, and tropical downpours. View his attempts at capturing interesting or beautiful moments @lemuelteo.

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