Two Hearts Praying As One

This article was first published in Wesley TIDINGS, July 2021.

An experience in praying at a church camp in Port Dickson in 1983 gave a couple – Peter and Doris Chow – the impetus that transformed their lives and led them on a journey of praying. 

The couple, who were married in Wesley Methodist Church in 1969 by the late Rev Christopher Smith, and who have two daughters and five grandchildren, have not looked back since and have persevered for more than 30 years on this journey where prayer takes centre stage in their lives.

Early Days as Prayer Warriors 

In the early days, Peter was new to prayer and each time he was asked to pray, he would be full of trepidation, hoping he would not be called upon to pray. 

Said Peter: “I would always memorise a simple prayer.”

 But at the March 1983 church camp in Port Dickson, the person before him said the prayer that Peter had prepared, so when it was his turn, he felt trapped in that he thought he had ‘reserved’ that prayer but it had been uttered by another! To Peter, it was always daunting to be asked to pray. 

Doris too feared praying into the microphone, and the struggle to pray naturally became intense. In those days, at prayer meetings held in the Sanctuary, people would pray into the microphone.

” I would find a seat away from the microphone, and where there would be no one near me,” recalled Doris.

One day, she ‘bargained’ with the Holy Spirit to give her those conditions. A lady who sat next to her moved to the back, and when Doris next opened her eyes, the microphone was just next to her! 

“I surrendered, knowing it was God’s doing, to help me overcome my fear,” quipped Doris. 

Doris has since grown from strength to strength in her involvement in the Prayer Ministry where she and Peter have served for the last 38 years. 

At that Port Dickson church camp, attended by eight families, totalling just about 30 participants, the couple first witnessed the power of prayer. 

“There was a lady camp participant who suffered a heart attack,” recounted Doris. “Some campers rushed to find a doctor. At the same time, Shirley Lim wife of Isaac Lim and one of the spiritual leaders, gathered them all and prayed for the lady. When those who went in search of the doctor returned, without a doctor, the lady was resting from her condition.”

The female camp participant recovered quickly and was actively participating in the camp activities the following day. 

“Both Peter and I  witnessed the power of prayer.”

2013: Peter and Doris at the Bibleton Dedication during the Wesley 128th Anniversary Service in the Sanctuary

More Signs and Miracles 

Peter, a faithful usher for more than 30 years, was diagnosed with a nose polyp in the 1980s. 

He had been listening to Maranatha Praise 4, playing songs like I love You Lord, In His Time (from Micah 6:8).

This is Peter’s testimony: “In hospital, I played the music all day long and followed the lyrics. I was so touched that I teared. I promised God that when I went back to church for prayer, I will go forth to pray to give thanks to Him to glorify His name.” At the next prayer meeting, with a beating heart, he went forward courageously to pray into the microphone. At the end of the service, Rev Melvin Huang came and told the couple that Peter had indeed met with the Lord. It was a great encouragement that prodded them further. 

In 2012, Peter was diagnosed with prostate cancer. One of his children asked why it was him who was struck with the disease; yet, Peter stoically replied, “Why not me?” 

To this day, an operation and 32 weeks of radiation treatment later, Peter still maintains that the disease that he was struck with gave him the opportunity to be like Job, to wait upon God and be faithful. 

The couple are also members of the TRAC (Trinity Annual Conference) Healing Ministry, having been trained for the job in 2017. 

They have been at it since then, interceding for others for deliverance, healing and a host of other needs — faithfully every month, in a Methodist church, thankful for the privilege and seeing lives changed. 

Prayer and the Pandemic

Doris bemoans how prayer has changed in the pandemic. She feels that passion is missing in praying online via the various platforms. 

According to her, for instance, although we might be able to see everyone online, we can’t join hands to pray or feel the touch that sometimes says something about a person’s feelings. Yet, she quips that the pandemic has not affected prayer adversely, so long as people feel the need to commune with God and spend time with Him, something she feels very strongly about. 

Lessons from Service in Ministry 

When asked what they had learnt from their many years in the Prayer Ministry, Doris boldly says this: “God is faithful, He is kind, He is compassionate, He is good.” 

She reminds us to just trust and obey even when answers to prayers are delayed. For Peter, it is the opportunity to wait upon a promise-keeping God that is priceless, plus growing in intimacy with Him. Peter and Doris, who have been Small Group Leaders (Toa Payoh SG) for 36 years, and whose SG has spinned off two other SGs, enjoy seeing the multiplication of groups which they feel translate to a growth in praying members. 

Why Pray? 

The couple have this to say about the job of praying — when asked to pray, don’t delegate to others, such as to pastors. They learnt this from the late Prof Khoo Oon Teik who taught them not to absolve themselves of this very important part of church life, by passing or delegating it to others, but to take it upon themselves to do so. Doris has this to say in encouraging those who feel intimidated or inadequate about praying — just use simple language — after all, you are talking to your heavenly father. There is no language reserved for God, she quips. Do it as if you were talking to your own father! She stresses that we need to come together to pray with brothers and sisters-in Christ, leaders and all, leaders because when leaders pray, those whom they lead, will too. She continues that just as they were spurred on by testimonies to adopt prayer as a way of life, as a way of worship, others will too. Reminding us that Jesus Himself prayed, we too should. Peter has this to say — when you pray, give yourself completely to it — leave idle talk behind and dedicate the time wholly to God to intercede for yourself and others. 

Undoubtedly, for Peter and Doris, the key motivators behind prayer and their persistence at it, are the power of prayer as manifested by the countless incidents where they saw first-hand how God answered prayers, the many miracles that prayer achieved in their own lives and in the lives of those they prayed for. So today they are charged up with the passion of prayer. Their parting shot is, join a prayer meeting with someone, and don’t be afraid to talk to God. 

Make the first move, and like this stalwart couple, see your life transformed by it. God broke the ice for them, and He will do the same for you. Join us at our next prayer meeting!

Read also: God is Greater than My Circumstances

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