Before revival must come repentance: Pastor Edmund Chan at PraySingapore

Before revival must come repentance: Pastor Edmund Chan at PraySingapore

“When God is about to do a mighty work, He gathers His people in consecrated repentance,” said Reverend Edmund Chan at PraySingapore on October 7, 2018.

“We each need to return to our own Galilee,” said the Leadership Mentor at Covenant Evangelical Free Church (CEFC), who called on the tens of thousands of Christians who had gathered at the Singapore Sports Hub to unite in consecrating their hearts in repentance.

Why Galilee? Rev Edmund recalled the words of Jesus to the two women who were surprised to find an empty tomb. “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:10)

“Lord, we are coming back as a church to our first love, to start over again.”

Why Galilee? Why not Jerusalem? Why make that 120km journey up to Galilee? Rev Edmund said he believes it is because Jesus was telling them to return to the place of their first love.

Galilee was the place where the disciples – many of them fishermen – were first called.

Likewise, he said, for the Church in Singapore to be the Antioch of Asia, we need to return to our first love, the place of our first calling.

“Each of us has a spiritual moment when we heard the first call of God on our lives. It is that moment that the presence of God became real for us,” he said.

“Starting over. Breaking free. Looking up. Letting go. Moving on. That is the call of Jesus.”

Reverend Edmund Chan delivering his opening address at PraySingapore, exhorting attendees to come before God in holy repentance. Photo by Marcus Chow.

Reverend Edmund Chan delivering his opening address at PraySingapore, exhorting attendees to come before God in holy repentance. Photo by Marcus Chow.

United in repentance

After Jesus was crucified, the disciples were scattered, broken, their faith shaken. All hope, it seemed, was lost.

The spiritual moment when we first heard the call of God is the moment the presence of God became real for us.

Until the empty tomb, and the word from an angel which gave them the same instructions as Jesus had given the women: Return to Galilee. (Matthew 28:7)

“This is what Biblical repentance is about: Returning to our spiritual Galilee, when we first heard the call of the Kingdom and the mission of Jesus,” explained Rev Edmund.

Key to this is unity in prayer, because Galilee was also the place where the Great Commission was issued to disciple the nations, he said. It was only after that call was given that they were sent to Jerusalem.

And so, upon their return to Jerusalem, the centre of religious worship for Judaism, the disciples gathered as one in prayer (Acts 1:12). When that happened, the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 2:1-4).

Tens of thousands gathered at the National stadium for a time of corporate worship and intercession.

Tens of thousands gathered at the National stadium for a time of corporate worship and intercession.

Lessons from Dunkirk

A memorable call to united repentance also happened during World War II, shared Rev Edmund, in an incident recently immortalised in film.

Gather and repent before God as one, then there will be a consecration of God’s people.

In the Battle of Dunkirk, Winston Churchill – then the British Prime Minister – was woken by a phone call from his French counterpart, saying that his country had fallen to the Germans. With the fall of Belgium, the Netherlands and now France, Germany had trapped some 330,000 Allied troops along the shores of Dunkirk.

The War Office reported that, realistically, only 20,000 to 30,000 – a mere 10% of the troops – could be rescued.

Churchill spoke to the reigning monarch, King George VI, who then called for a National Day of Prayer on May 26, 1940.

But, instead of praying for deliverance of the troops or victory in the war, the Church gathered and repented before God, Rev Edmund told attendees at PraySingapore.

When they prayed, three miracles happened:

  1. Hitler halted 1,800 tanks just 10 miles from Dunkirk for no apparent reason. If the tanks had pushed through, the victory would have belonged to Germany. Churchill speculated in his memoirs that Hitler ordered this as he wanted to depend on the country’s aerial superiority.
  2. But that backfired as bad weather in the Flanders kept the 300 German planes grounded.
  3. A rare and unprecedented calm in the English Channel facilitated the evacuation of British troops. Some 800 vessels, both big and small, took part in the greatest rescue operation of all time, as more than 300,000 were brought safely home.
Attendees united in consecrated repentance before God at PraySingapore.

Attendees united in consecrated repentance before God at PraySingapore.

When His people repent, miracles happen, Rev Edmund said.

“Today as we get back together, we want to return – to the place of calling and consecration as a family,” he said as he called for attendees to pray.

“Today, return to Galilee and say, ‘Lord, in repentance and united prayer, we, the church of Jesus Christ, stand as one for the kingdom of Jesus.’”

About the author

Geraldine Tan

Geraldine is a former news journalist, public relations practitioner and research editor with a penchant for puns, punctuation and a positive attitude. She is always up for the next new adventure and is on a quest to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Geraldine is now Assistant Editor at Salt&Light.