26 September 2014 by Jason Law CM –
What is prayer? If it is merely conversing with God, why is it so difficult for some people? Well, many reasons have been given for this. Some have said that when they pray, they feel nothing. For them, it is as if they are shooting arrows into an empty air. For others, the very thought of talking directly with God terrifies them and they rely on others to pray on their behalf.
Lest we judge them, we have to remember that Christians are also humans, and many Christians are young in their faith. How comfortable are we after all in praying aloud, as a representative of our churches, even after years of being in the faith?
However, prayer is extremely important and one of the cores of the Christian faith. How are we to have a relationship with God if we don’t talk or listen to Him? Michael Cheng’s book, ‘Man of the Hour’, aims to guide Christians in this important discipline; towards experiencing the amazing power of prayer.
As Michael himself stated in the preface of the book, there are many other books written by spiritual masters on the subject of prayer, and the Bible itself is the most complete and meaningful exposition on the subject of prayer. Why the need for another book on prayer then?
Michael Cheng in fact wrote his book as a clarion call for Christians. As he relates, he had a near-death experience, when God mercifully restored him back to life. Michael knew that everything God does has significance. Every day, we spent hours online, on our cellphones, on social media sites, going out shopping with friends, and so on. And yet, though many Christians claim to have a relationship with God, many of us scarcely spent time talking with God even though it is a great privilege given freely.
Michael communicated that as he pondered over the reason God extended his life, he realized that God has a message for His people that He wanted Michael to pass down. God longs to fellowship with His children. This book was written as a result of a very personal experience, as motivation for Christians to give one hour, out of the twenty-four that God has given us, back to God.
The story of Michael’s near-death experience and how God delivered him is related in detail in the book. This provides a context about where Michael’s need to write this book came from. He also explains the book’s title; why ‘Man of the Hour’?
The Purpose for ‘Man of the Hour’
Prayer is not just a one-way communication with God, but also God revealing Himself to us because prayer is essentially a two-way communication. Thus, the importance of prayer cannot be over-emphasized, and it is in fact, the most oft-repeated command given in the Bible. Michael provides illustration regarding this through two parables of Jesus, and through the life of Jesus Himself. For example, in Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. Further illustration is given through the messages of the Old Testament and New Testament prophets.
Secondly, why one hour? Michael shared that God had impressed upon him the modest “one hour” daily and does not demand more than that. To put it into picture, God has given each of us 24 hours a day. If we subtract from that total, seven hours of sleep and seven hours of work, we will have ten hours to spare. Thus, a tithe (10%) of the ten hours would be one hour which should be given back to God in fellowship with Him.
Michael relates the account in Matthew 26:40-41, in which Jesus mourned over the weakness of His disciples.
Matthew 26:40-41New International Version (NIV)
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
A context is given: ‘Jesus was agonizing in the Garden of Gethsemane shortly before His betrayal by Judas. He had asked Peter to pray with Him but He was disappointed when Peter was not able to answer the call to pray.’ This incident spurred Michael to accept the challenge to pray at least an hour a day, to be obedient to the bidding of the Spirit and learn to live victoriously on a daily basis.
Far from a legalistic or capricious imposition, the ‘one hour prayer’ call is made from a heart of gratitude and as a response to God’s love for us. Michael’s encouragement is that God may call us to pray longer which would be wonderful!
Six Principles of Prayer
In order to guide Christians in their prayer life, Michael provides a mnemonic device for 6 principles from the word PRAYER itself:
- P –Praise and Thanksgiving | Begin with Praise and Thanksgiving
- R – Repentance | Repentance Pleases God
- A – Agenda | Have a Written Agenda
- Y –Yield | Yield to the Holy Spirit
- E – Edification | Edification leads to Effective Prayer
- R – Revelation | Receive Revelation for Wise Decision Making
A brief consideration is provided for each of the principles before delving into each of the six principles, each in their own chapters.
While Michael has graciously provided a summary of each of these chapters for the readers of Christianity Malaysia, there is much more to be gained from reading the book itself. In his book, Michael relates many of his personal experiences, as well as a lot more of his reflections on Scriptural verses, in each of the area of prayer, helping to make them all relatable.
Top leaders have given endorsements for the contents of the book:
- Reverend Loh Soon Choy, former Dean of the Malaysia Bible Seminary, commended Michael for his attractive, refreshing creativity, simplicity, modesty, and practicality with a memorable structure regarding the ‘One Hour’, all without being legalistic.
- Lee Gee Koon, the Chairman of the Governing Council, FGBMF Malaysia, recommends the book as ‘a must read for every Christian who wants to pray at least an hour a day so as to live an overcoming life’.
- Dr Ng Soon Gan, Co-Chairman Elder of FGA, Kuala Lumpur, prays that God may ‘use this book to inspire its readers to pray at least an hour a day and see miracles happening around them’. One of his hopes is that the book will enable its readers to pray like never before and always pray in the Spirit so that signs and wonders will follow in the lives.
- Dr Wong Hong Meng, member of the Governing Council, FGBMF Malaysia, describes Michael’s book as
‘a clarion call for us to devote at least an hour a day to come into personal relationship with Almighty God. We know that we need to pray more but could not or would not do it. Michael tells us why we need to pray and how through his six principles. A most timely contribution for the building up of our prayer lives’.
Written with much urgency but also much humility, Michael Cheng’s ‘Man of the Hour’ is both a much needed boost of encouragement for Christians struggling with the issue of prayer and a great source of edification regarding the topic.
Information About The Book:
Title: Man of the Hour
Author: Michael Cheng
Publisher : Akitiara Corporation Sdn Bhd (website: www.akitiara.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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