The Week of Prayer and Self-Denial (WPSD) was started by the Women’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) more than a hundred years ago. The women from WSCS wanted to live more like Jesus and felt that a deeper consecration to prayer for a specified period was called for. Two decades into the new millennium, this practice could not be more relevant!
From 8 to 14 Sep 2019, WSCS ladies from the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC), Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) and Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) observed WPSD. Seven ladies from different TRAC churches shared devotions for each day of the week.
The week culminated with a Closing Service at the Covenant Chapel of Paya Lebar Methodist Church (MC) on the afternoon of Saturday, 14 Sep. The service was special in that about 180 sisters-in-Christ from CAC and TRAC joined in worshipping the Lord together. The worship was in English and Mandarin with melodious singing to the Lord in both languages!
We were blessed to have the Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung to share God’s Word with us. Speaking on the 2020 theme of the WSCS’s 11th Quadrennium, “God’s Standards and Promises for Our Living”, he was ably assisted by Mrs Chong, who translated the sermon into English. The congregation appreciated and enjoyed the obvious “chemistry” between speaker and translator!
Basing his message on Matthew 6:1–6, Bishop Dr Chong reminded us that acts of charity, prayer and fasting should be done on the quiet. He shared many personal anecdotes, including about someone who anonymously supported his theological studies. He highlighted the poor and needy around us and emphasised that acts of charity, including simple ones such as giving up our seats on public transport, show Christian love. He pointed out that our prayers are not to be stories for others to hear but praise and petition to our Heavenly Father. The ladies, he commented, looked bright and cheery, which was a good sign that they were not showing off their fasting.
The Closing Service included items by sisters from Bedok MC and Wesley MC. The former shared an uplifting item, Cup Praise, which combined music and the beats produced by cups. The latter gave their inaugural performance on ukuleles, after only a few months of learning how to play the instrument.
As part of the WPSD, a collection is taken each year to bless the poor and needy out of the abundance received from the Lord. The funds are used in projects supported by the General Conference (GC) WSCS and TRAC WSCS. Beyond financial giving, the ladies also give of their time and talents to train and support those in need. During the Closing Service, two TRAC WSCS sisters shared about the projects supported in 2019 through the 2018 collection.
Angela Goh is the D&N coordinator for TRAC WSCS (2018–2020). She worships at Wesley Methodist Church where she serves in the Communications ministry.
Photos courtesy of WSCS