Written by: Natalie Yeo (Photo by: Johan Andrew Ocampo)
Interview with Jason Chua
If you have not met someone with an infectious joy and passion, you should meet Jason. I had my first conversation with him at my youth ministry’s camp in 2015 and found a man who had a vision and dream for Singapore.
Having been to Burning Hearts, a prayer room that Jason and his team started, my heart has been stirred in greater measure to see a generation of worshippers and laid-down lovers pursue Jesus with all that they are. In an interview with SELAH, Jason shares about his journey in championing a local prayer movement and in organising the upcoming 1:11 Conference.
About six years ago, you spent six months on an internship at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. What did God birth and deposit in your heart during that time?
I went to Kansas City uncertain of what to expect, yet carrying an eagerness to find my heart again as I was utterly burnt out from ministry. At that time, I was alive on the outside in my service to God, but dead in my walk with God within my heart. God, in His grace, opened the door for me to be in a 24/7 prayer room. I spent six months in that prayer room with only my Bible and a notebook, and for six hours a day I conversed with God.
I spent at least two hours every day meditating on John 17:24, engaging with the prayer of Jesus and encountering His heart. The central theme of that prayer was the desire of Jesus; in my response to what He had prayed for, a vision was birthed in my spirit. The encounter with His desire for me and for the nations led me to pioneer a house of prayer in Singapore.
You are currently heading Burning Hearts, a prayer room in Singapore that began in 2012. How has facilitating a prayer movement revealed more of God’s heart to you?
In facilitating a prayer movement, we essentially experience first-hand the heart of God through the scriptures. In that place of encounter, we get caught up in God’s story and find that the prophesies of old are still relevant today!
For 10 hours a week at Burning Hearts, we position singers and musicians in the prayer room to sing the scriptures, pray the Bible, and engage with God. There are moments where nothing much happens, but there are also moments where God moves powerfully and leaves a deep mark upon our hearts. We have learnt that both environments are necessary and equally important.
The moments where nothing seems to be happening keeps our hearts steady, teaching us to be good stewards of what God had revealed to us. It is in the mundane we learn to be faithful in carrying His heart. Over time, what is in His heart will eventually become ours.
Burning Hearts has been holding annual conferences the past few years. This year, the conference bears the name 1:11. Could you share more about how this name came about?
We initially wanted to use the name “Convergence,” but the Lord impressed upon our hearts the determining factor for the conference: To see a united church that will be centred around exalting the name of Jesus. The Lord has continually beckoned us to be a voice in bringing together the different denominations and to remove every dividing line in the body of Christ.
Malachi 1:11 is the heart of our prayer room. It was in that prayer room at TripleOne Somerset where the Lord gave us a vision to see the convergence of worship, prayer, and missions for the exaltation of the name of Jesus, thereby hastening His return as written in Acts 1:11. Thus, we felt it was befitting to name the conference 1:11.
What is the heart behind this year’s conference?
The heart behind the 1:11 Conference is to serve as a catalytic gathering where believers can be awakened to the desires of the heart of Christ and readily respond to God the Father to be a part of the story He is writing for His Son, Jesus.
We also hope to see a breaking down of divisions in the body of Christ and that many streams will converge into one mighty river that will bring healing to the nations.
With the missions movement converging with prayer and worship, what does carrying a heart of missions mean to you?
Quoting John Piper, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more.”
Prayer and worship are the launching pads of missions. When we see the true worth of Christ and deeply understand what He did for us on the cross, we will be led to lay down our lives and give everything to Him for His glory. To carry a heart of missions is to simply carry a heart of worship. Missions exists for worship, and Jesus must be worshipped for all He has done for mankind.
How can believers in Singapore play a part in what God is doing globally?
I believe Singapore was called and raised for such a time as this. It is surely of no coincidence that a nation that has no natural resources went on to become one of the most affluent nations in a span of 50 years, impacting and blessing nations at a global level.
More than exporting technology or wealth, I believe Singapore will be a nation that will export the gospel, disciple nations in the way of Christ, and release the Holy Spirit to redeem nations for the glory of Jesus. A dear friend of mine once said, “Let us not just be the best in the world, but let us be the best for the world.” God has given us much so that the world may see the One who has blessed us abundantly.
What is a recent burden that God has laid on your heart?
One recent burden that gripped me was seeing the church lose youth and young adults with no firm foundations. Today, grooming new youth leaders often translates to honing skillsets to create church service experiences, with an emphasis to reproduce leaders who can rally, build, and facilitate cell groups. These in themselves are not bad things but they are not the priority in raising spiritual leaders who will lead a generation in the knowledge of God.
We invest in leading our young people in a way that causes them to be externally stimulated by man-made aesthetics, yet these youths are void of engagement with God. In the long-haul, the effects are detrimental to the church – resulting in a generation of organised yet handicapped spiritual leaders – as the Bible becomes a tool used to teach principles of leadership or good living and not about the knowledge of God. Eventually, the next generation of youth will become spiritually dull and biblically illiterate.
I was once a leader as described above. The Lord deconstructed the foundations that I had built from 10 years in youth ministry and caused me to reprioritise prayer, meditation, and practising the presence of God daily.
I believe God is about to stir hearts through a global prayer movement, where faiths are not anchored by external stimulation, but by an internal fascination with Christ who dwells within. Lives will be lived from the inside out, and not outside in.
What is your heart’s cry over the young generation of Singapore?
I’ve been asking God to release His Holy Spirit over the youth and young adults in our generation. I am believing that God will raise up a new and rare breed of young men and women who will be consumed by the words and worth of Christ. Just like the saints of old, every ounce of their lives will be fully surrendered for the sake of the Gospel and to see Jesus receive the reward of His suffering.
I believe we are living in the days in where a generation will see the return of Jesus, fulfilling the prophecies of old. We might not know exactly when but Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “When the gospel of this kingdom is preached to the ends of the earth as a testimony to the nations, the end will come.” This is the truth, and the end is nearer than we think.
My prayer for the young generation in Singapore is to step into their God-given destinies as “Antioch of Asia,” to hasten the day of the return of Jesus by giving their lives for sake of the Gospel.
If you had all the resources you needed to do anything for the Lord, what would you do and why?
I will go to every city in the world as well as the hardest and darkest places on the earth where Jesus is not known or loved, planting 24/7 prayer rooms, hiring singers and musicians to worship and pray day and night. At the same time, set up training centres to raise a new breed of leaders in the prayer room who are mighty in the word and spirit, releasing them to plant churches and/or prayer rooms, preach the gospel, and reproduce disciples.
Why? Because Jesus is worthy of day and night worship; He must be worshipped and loved.
What encouragement would you give to those desiring to build a deeper prayer life?
Don’t focus on the outcome of your prayer agenda, but focus on the person you are praying to! If you know who you are talking to, prayer will no longer become boring and tedious.