As I was reflecting on commemorating Pentecost Sunday today, God reminded me of the biblical account in Acts 2, when on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended and filled the believers of the early church for the first time, as prophesied and promised by Jesus (Acts 1:8). Next to the death and resurrection of Jesus Himself, this would likely be the second most significant event in the history of Christianity.

The day of Pentecost in the Old Testament was traditionally an annual feast that followed the Feast of Firstfruits by a week of weeks (seven weeks, or 49 days), and therefore also was called the Feast of Weeks (Lev 23:15-22). The name “Pentecost,” from the Greek word pentekostes, means “fiftieth day,” because it was the 50th day after the Firstfruits feast (Lev 23:16). By the time of Christ in the New Testament, it had become a tradition for Jews from every nation to gather in Jerusalem during Pentecost for the feast.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the disciples at Pentecost signified the beginning of the early church, as well as the first illustration of the Lord’s intentions to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth, as those present heard the mighty deeds of God in their own language (Acts 2:9-11), and after Peter preached the gospel message, 3,000 repented and were baptized (Acts 2:41).

Today, Christians all over the world continue to commemorate Pentecost Sunday, now calculated as 7 weeks after Easter. In the last decade, another phenomenon has been linked to this day. It began in 2001, when 45,000 Christians united for a Day of Repentance and Prayer in Cape Town, South Africa. This prayer movement initially started by praying for Africa, but grew to a global level when in Nov 2004, at a meeting of the International Prayer Council in Malaysia, it was decided that all nations would join in a five year Global Day of Prayer (GDOP) up to 2010.

In 2005, more than 200 million Christians from 156 nations of the world united across denominational and cultural borders for the first GDOP. In the months following, Christians were overwhelmed by the testimonies of God’s powerful work in answer to these prayers. An estimated 500 million Christians participated in GDOP 2008, and as of last year, all 220 countries of the world were participating in this global prayer movement.

This year marks the 5th year that Singapore has participated in GDOP. The theme, as set by the organisers EFOS, is “One Desire,” to honour and glorify God by (1) loving our God, (2) serving our neighbours, and (3) reaching the nations. This is so much in line with our church vision, “a God-loving community touching and transforming lives for Christ in Woodlands and the World.”

Where will you be today at 3pm and 7.14pm? I strongly encourage you to make time and join us in interceding for Singapore and the nations today, and be ready to trust and see God’s hand at work in your life and those around you as we join in unison to pray!

… and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chr 7:14)