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Prayer & Praise: God Our Hope


Before you begin

  1. Ensure that there is sufficient battery power on your device – whether it’s your laptop, mobile phone or iPad. Plug it in!
  2. If you are ZOOM-ing to pray and praise God with others, it is best to use one device for ZOOM and a separate device to refer to this guide.
  3. Ensure your device is connected to Wifi.

How to use this guide

  1. Carve out a quiet space and time to enjoy being with God.
  2. Pace yourself. Don’t rush through. Quieten down your heart and just soak in the presence of God, talking to Him as His child.
  3. Taste and see all that He desires for you.
  4. Youtube videos: Click on the song titles (red words) to play them in Youtube. You may also choose to have another tab open for the full Youtube playlist. Come back to this page after each video to follow the guide.
  5. When you have enjoyed God’s presence, why not share with others how God has spoken to you and the joy you found in knowing Him more? God bless!

START HERE >>

Prepare your hearts

The spine of the Church is its priority of Word and Prayer. In the Word, God speaks, and in prayer, we respond. In faith, God calls us to not just a personal relationship with Him but to a congregational belonging as His Body. Just as we gather on Sundays for congregational services, we also gather quarterly for congregational prayer & praise.

We are encouraged that our Lord has drawn us together to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Although we are not physically together, we can still come before Him together via technology. Let this not discourage us from lifting our hearts in praise, but encourage one another to press on in faith, hope and love.

Let’s prepare ourselves to be still and know that He is God. 

Sit in an upright but comfortable position. Place both hands on your lap facing upward. As you do so, take 3 deep slow breaths. Be aware of your body’s breathing rhythm. Give to God all that has been troubling you, distracting you or weighing you down. Our Father is able to take care of all that is going on…and even whatever may happen during this time that You are with Him.

Breathe in deeply and slowly. Breathe out all your tensions. Again, breathe in. Hold. Breathe out. Once more. Breathe in and slowly breathe out. Now that we have entered into a time of stillness and rest, let us turn our eyes to look full in His wonderful face.

As you rest in the presence of our Lord, let the lyrics of this song be a prayer from your heart. You may choose to close your eyes and attentively listen to the lyrics as your own prayer. Or with eyes wide open, contemplate how these lyrics speak to your heart at this time. However you choose to do so, let’s be thankful for the breath we have and be mindful that every breath is a gift from our God!

Click on the link in the song title (red words) below. Listen and pray the lyrics of the song. After each song, come back to this prayer guide to continue the session.

Prayer in song: O Lord, Breathe Thy Spirit On Me

Lyrics:
O Lord, breathe Thy Spirit on me,
Teach me how to breathe Thee in;
Help me pour into Thy bosom
All my life of self and sin.
I am breathing out my sorrow,
Breathing out my sin;
I am breathing, breathing, breathing,
All Thy fulness in.

I am breathing out my own life,
That I may be filled with Thine;
Letting go my strength and weakness,
Breathing in Thy life divine.
I am breathing out my sorrow,
Breathing out my sin;
I am breathing, breathing, breathing,
All Thy fullness in.

Breathing out my sinful nature,
Thou hast borne it all for me;
Breathing in Thy cleansing fullness,
Finding all my life in Thee.
I am breathing out my sorrow,
Breathing out my sin;
I am breathing, breathing, breathing,
All Thy fullness in.

I am breathing out my sorrow,
On Thy kind and gentle breast;
Breathing in Thy joy and comfort,
Breathing in Thy peace and rest.
I am breathing out my sorrow,
Breathing out my sin;
I am breathing, breathing, breathing,
All Thy fullness in.

I am breathing out my sickness,
Thou hast borne its burden too;
I am breathing in Thy healing,
Ever promised, ever new.
I am breathing out my sorrow,
Breathing out my sin;
I am breathing, breathing, breathing,
All Thy fullness in.

I am breathing out my longings
In Thy listening, loving ear;
I am breathing in Thy answers,
Stilling every doubt and fear.
I am breathing out my sorrow,
Breathing out my sin;
I am breathing, breathing, breathing,
All Thy fullness in.

I am breathing every moment,
Drawing all my life from Thee;
Breath by breath I live upon Thee,
Lord, Thy Spirit breathe in me.
I am breathing out my sorrow,
Breathing out my sin;
I am breathing, breathing, breathing,
All Thy fullness in.

Look back with thankfulness

Dear God, as we sit here with You. We want to recall all that we have seen and heard from You this week. Remind us, dear God, what great things You have done and how we can praise Your holy name. 

On your own, pause now and thank God for who He is and praise Him!


Welcome to our time of Prayer & Praise!

How blessed it is when brothers and sisters all around the world come together to worship God…using technology in our homes to encourage one another to know Him and make Him known. We are living in a world that is changing ever so rapidly. At times, we even find ourselves breathless to keep up with the changes that require so much vigilance. Over the short span of 6 months, since COVID-19 was first discovered, so many aspects of our lives…physically, socially, relationally, financially, etc, has turned into an unsettling new normal. Much that has surfaced has been painful in terms of lives lost, family relationships stretched and livelihoods uncertain. We grieve and we need to lament. And out of the bad, difficult and painful, we are reminded to examine our lives for what truly matters and for what will really last for all eternity. Tough times calls for greater resolution and steadfastness…not in the things we see but in the God who is the unseen, who sees all that is happening and sees us all. Let us anchor our hope in the great God who is immovable and unchanging. While the COVID-19 impact on the whole world is great, we praise our God who is far greater still. And so we sing with thankfulness to our immortal, invisible, all-wise God!

Click on the links in the song titles (red words) below to play the video and worship God! After each song, come back to this prayer guide to continue the session.

Sing: Immortal, Invisible, God only wise

Let us exalt His great name!
Sing: He is Exalted/Great is the Lord

Heavenly Father, we pause to remember and praise You for Who You are. By Your will, all things were made that have been made. You flung stars into the sky and call them each by name. You are Creator God. Yet, You are not far away or distant. You are personal and close to us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and You know us so intimately, even knowing the number of hairs on our heads. 

We exalt You, O Lord, and lift up Your holy name. We confess that we have not lived up to Your standards of holiness and righteousness. We often prioritise our own ambitions above Your will and Kingdom’s purposes. We are inward-looking when You have called us to look upward and outward towards those in need. We store up for ourselves treasures on earth rather than treasures in heaven. We repent of our sins and inequities. Help us to know the Gospel of Christ deeply, that we might be transformed by the power of the Spirit and sanctified by the Word, so that we may be more like Jesus. O Lord God, let Christ increase while we decrease. 

We come before Your throne of grace and ask that You speak to us through Your Word from Jeremiah. Help us to know You in a fresh and real way. As we enter into Prayer & Praise of You this evening, let the meditation of our hearts and the praises from our lips be pleasing to You, O Lord. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Let’s “pray-sing” this song: Speak, O Lord, asking our Father to speak clearly to us.

We will be reading what God says from Jeremiah 29:1-14. Before we do so, let’s find out what was going on with the Israelites.

The prophet Jeremiah was prophesying to a people who had turned away from God, and who were steeped in idol worship. The Israelites had forsaken their covenant to God and at the height of their idolatry, they even participated in child sacrifice! God had sent Jeremiah to warn the Israelites to repent from their sin and turn back to Him. Despite His warnings, they did not repent. As a result, the Israelites were conquered by Babylon and many were taken into captivity as exiles in a foreign land. 

It is here in Jeremiah 29:10-11 where God promises an end to their exile. In what is perhaps one of the most well-known [and possibly most misquoted] verses in the Bible, He tells them that He has a plan for them; a plan to prosper them, to give them a hope and a future! 

The Israelites deserved to be punished for their sin. In fact, many nations before them were completely wiped out because of their rampant sinfulness. But here we see the heart of God – while He is a just God who punished Israel for her sin, He also extended a ray of hope to them, and promised that His people will one day return home. 

Look in to examine, confess and repent.

God loves you…me…all of us! Our understanding of His love is often skewed by our expectations of what we think is good for us. Like the Israelites, we too often end up choosing our own way, making choices that may not be Christ-exalting. Yet, in His love, He finds ways to call us back to Himself. But are we listening?  Let’s take a few minutes now to examine our hearts and listen to His words spoken in truth and love.

Click ‘play’ to begin the Scripture reading of Proverbs 3:1-12

1 My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
    Store my commands in your heart.
If you do this, you will live many years,
    and your life will be satisfying.

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
    Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
    Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favor with both God and people,
    and you will earn a good reputation.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
    Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
    and strength for your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth
    and with the best part of everything you produce.
10 Then he will fill your barns with grain,
    and your vats will overflow with good wine.

11 My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline,
    and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
12 For the Lord corrects those he loves,
    just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

What did God say to you? Is there anything that you need to confess and repent of?
Is there something that God is asking you and I to be…and to obey?
In humble repentance, let’s take a few minutes to confess. (Pause. Reflect. Admit. Yield)

Father God, thank You for Your grace and mercies that are new every day. Have mercy on me and forgive me of my sins. As I continue to look to You in our time together, please reveal Yourself to me ever so clearly, that I may see the greatness of who You are and see myself and others through Your eyes in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Watch this video: Jeremiah’s Call

Read Scripture: Jeremiah 29:1-14

Listen to what God is saying by entering into the story.

1 This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This was after King Jehoiachin and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) 3 He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:

4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”8 Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have.9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.

10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

To better understand the context of the Scripture, watch this next video. Pay close attention to all that is going on. Put yourselves in the shoes of the people as they heard God’s Word. Listen carefully. Feeling despondent, perhaps even forgotten and abandoned, God’s Word comes to the people to live out their faith in what appears to be “out of the norm” as they were in exile. Yet, in exile or not, uncertainty requires all the more that we be certain in seeking God and heeding His voice. 

Video: The Way of the Exile

Look around to what’s going on.

Prior to the arrival of Jeremiah’s message from God, the people probably felt that life would never return to “normal”. Consider what is going on around the world. Life is no longer the norm that we used to know.  We may have perhaps realized that we have taken much for granted.

Let us now come before our Lord with all that God brings to our minds about what we have seen, heard or read. Come with thanksgiving. Come interceding.

Pray for the World

  1. For a world that has been shaken and shocked by the pandemic to be awakened even more to the ravages of sin, injustices and prejudices. 
  2. For a world that has stood proud on self-reliance to be humbled and come before God in dependence and grow in grateful interdependence on one another. 
  3. For the large countries and superpowers (e.g. USA and China) to find mutual ground and avoid unnecessary provocation and war. 
  4. For the global trade and industries to cooperate towards the restoration of the global economy. 
  5. For the scientific and medical experts around the world to collaborate in discovering a vaccine for COVID-19.

Pray for Singapore

  1. For God to grant knowledge and wisdom to our national leaders to govern well in the midst of COVID-19. Pray that they will be thorough in processing their decisions and that the policies they implement will be beneficial for all Singaporeans, especially for the most vulnerable people in society. 
  2. For everyone residing in Singapore to adhere to the government’s advisories for our national well-being.
  3. For God’s healing over those currently infected with the virus and for His protection over all Singaporeans as the country enters into each new phase. 
  4. For our healthcare workers and all those at the frontlines to be kept safe and strong, so that they can continue to treat the infected, the sick and the chronically ill in our country. 
  5. For God to raise up leaders who have a heart for the people and for the good of the nation. For Singaporeans to vote wisely and responsibly, weighing carefully all the factors and ramifications in the choices they make.

God’s promise to restore the exiled Israelites extends beyond merely bringing a conquered nation back to their homeland. Embedded within Israel’s history was a promise God had made to their forefathers – the promise that one day, a descendant of King David would come. This King would write God’s law on the hearts of His people. 

You see, the biggest threat to Israel (and indeed, to all of humanity) was their sin. It was not conquest by foreign nations. Towards the end of the Book of Jeremiah, we read that the king of Babylon invited Israel’s king, Jehoiachin, to eat at his table for the rest of his life. The book of Jeremiah ends there. Though the majority of the book is written about exile and despair, it ends with a glimmer of hope. It gave the Israelite readers a hope that God would keep His promise to deliver them through a King from the line of David. 

We have the privilege of knowing that this King was none other than Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The God who showed mercy and grace to an undeserving Israelite nation is the same God who, through Jesus Christ, shows grace and mercy to a sinful and fallen world. Christ died to redeem us, and rose again victorious over sin and death! What joy, what hope we have when we have Christ!

Sing: All I Have Is Christ

Look up with hope to God

While God had promised to restore the exiled Israelites, we see in Jeremiah 29: 8-9 that there were some prophets and diviners who were presenting them with false hope. Chapter 28 of Jeremiah explained that Hananiah was a false prophet, whose message to the people was that their exile would last only 2 years. But it was a lie. 

Recall that Jeremiah 29:11 is perhaps one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible. Indeed, many health, wealth and prosperity preachers have used this verse to teach that God would end all our sufferings right now or in the short term (similar to what Hananiah was saying). Some even preach that this verse suggests that God wants us to have many physical blessings in the form of wealth and good health. In so doing, they are giving false hope to their listeners. In Jeremiah 29, while God had made a promise to restore the exiled Israelites, it was not an immediate or short term plan. It took 70 years before the exiled Israelites were able to return to their own land! This means that an entire generation would have passed and would not actually be able to witness the promise of God fulfilled. In addition, these exiles were supposed to settle down in a foreign land amongst enemies and even pray for the welfare of the Babylonians!

Click ‘play’ to begin the Scripture reading of Jeremiah 29:11-13

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 

What comes to your mind when you hear God declares, “…I know…?” 
What are you thinking of Him at this time? (Pause & Reflect.)

When we read God’s Word, we often tend to read it with emphasis on us. However, if we want to hear God speak, the emphasis should always be about Him first. He speaks; we listen. As you read the above verses, what do you discover about God? What is His Spirit bringing to mind? Only thereafter, what is He saying to you?

How are we as Christians supposed to understand this verse in light of the gospel?

In the context of the gospel of Christ, this promise holds true. God indeed has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future. This is a promise that He has already set into motion through the finished work of Christ – not a life of financial and biological prosperity, but one that is rich in the love, joy and peace of God regardless of the circumstances. In addition, we too, have been given a great hope through our risen Lord Jesus; the hope that one day we will all be called home, our true home in Heaven, with Christ as our King! It is there that Christ will finally put an end to all our suffering, sin, and shame!

Sing: Living Hope

In the recent climate of COVID-19, hope has been a companion to many. In the early stages of the disease, there was a hope that the virus epicenter would not shift outside of China and a few South Asian countries. Everyone was hopeful that this disease would have died down within 2-3 months. Financially, there were many ups and downs on the stock market based on speculation about the disease progression. Today, even in the face of financial and economic disaster, rampant unemployment, and hundreds of thousands of deaths, we are hopeful for a cure or vaccine against this disease. On a global level, we are hoping that a vaccine can quickly remove all the current social distancing measures, thus leading to a slow but steady recovery of the economy. Certainly, many are hopeful that a cure can be found for their loved ones who have caught the virus. Families and loved ones who have been separated by the social distancing measures long to be together again. Important events such as marriages, home renovations, overseas education etc. have been put on hold, and many are hopeful that these can soon resume.

Many experts believe that COVID-19 is here to stay for the long run, much like HIV. Others say that vaccines are being trialled now and should be ready within the year. Others whisper that they are doubtful that a vaccine will be discovered at all. The truth is that no one knows. But we shall yet hope in the Lord! We have no need to despair. The same God who gave hope to the nation of Israel is our God today! He is still in control. We can continue to hope in the Lord to see us through this season. Remember that Christ has already conquered the greatest enemy, sin and death, and our hope in Him is heavenward!

What are your hopes? Let us now run to our Father with all our hopes.

Sing: Run To The Father

How can we make the best out of the current situation? (Remember that God had encouraged the Israelites in exile to settle down, set up homes, and even to pray for the welfare of the Babylonians). One Christian doctor recently shared that he was thrilled at the opportunity COVID-19 has given us to reach a wider audience using technology. In his own words, “COVID-19 has forced us as Christians to think outside the box when it comes to outreach and ministry. These are exciting times and we can do so many exciting things for the Lord”.

Let us come in prayer discerning the way forward for God to do mighty things through our church.

Prayer for the church

  1. For God’s desire to grip the hearts of all believers to share the gospel with new, unique and effective ways and do good works.
  2. For Carmelites to not give up meeting but come together for continuing community and Care Group support, all the more if they are not part of a Care Group or Ministry team.
  3. For our church to look out for and help those who are unemployed, physically or mentally unwell, or emotionally troubled.
  4. For our church to be united even though we are physically apart and that the upcoming July 26 AGM to run smoothly and be well-attended.
  5. For our leaders to discern how to move Carmel forward in a Covid-19-persistent world.
  6. For God to speak to Senior Pastor Oh Boon Leong and the pastoral team as they listen to the Holy Spirit in discerning the way ahead for church growth and the church plant.

Let’s sing with confidence that Jesus is the Hope for the Nations!

Sing: Hope Of The Nations

What hope, what joy, what peace we have as children of God, for He is the strong and mighty one, the King of glory!

Let’s read aloud Psalm 24 in a sweet reminder of the God we worship!

Read Scripture: Psalm 24

Of David. A psalm.
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for He founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in His holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.
5 They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek Him,
who seek Your face, God of Jacob.

7 Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is He, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
He is the King of glory.

Sing: One Day

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Everyone say: “AMEN in JESUS’ NAME!!”


Faith Expressing Itself Through Love: A Practical Exercise

On your own, ask God, “Father, how may I express my faith through love?
Here are a few suggestions to follow through…

1. Have you remained hopeful in the Lord through this Covid-19 season? 
If your answer is yes, share your hope with someone else; you might encourage them by doing so. If your answer is no, find someone whom you can share your struggles with and ask for prayer.

2. How has COVID-19 affected your Christian walk or community? 
If you have discovered a way for your Christian walk to thrive, share that with someone who is struggling. If you find that your Christian walk has diminished, speak to someone about this and pray together.

3. How has COVID-19 affected you, your family, or loved ones? 
Are there any opportunities for you to show compassion, love and outreach within your circle?

4. Think of someone from church whom you haven’t spoken to or seen in a while. 
Reach out to this person (while abiding to current social distancing laws) sometime this week.
Send a card? A photo of your times together or a picture of hope? A bouquet/pot of flowers? A meal? A dessert? A back/seat pillow for their chair as they work from home? A financial gift? Pay for a doctor’s visit? Send them coffee and a muffin? Exercise together online or in person. Go over and help a senior set up a digital connection? Give someone a smartphone? Give them a data plan subscription? Help someone stay connected with online services by going over to worship with them (keeping in mind government advisories). Just ask God for whom and what to do. Trust Him to bring someone to mind and just be a blessing! 🙂

God bless!


This prayer guide was put together by John Calvin Chua, Cynthia Wee and Eld Albunus Ng

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