The song "Every Time I Pray" was written in 1981 for Full Gospel Tabernacle's (FGT) first church camp. At that time, FGT was at her infancy, with only 30 people. Most of the members were young. The leaders were also young at that time. At our first meeting, we raised only a few thousand ringgit which was not even sufficient to pay for the church fixtures. I remembered we were poor and had to sit on the floor at our first few meetings. This was the setting when the song was written.
"Every Time I Pray" is our cry to God for help. It reflected our faith in God that He could see us through all the difficulties we faced at that time. We believed in prayer. The church was built through intense prayer. Prayer has always been and will continue to be an important activity in the church. Before every major decision was taken, the leadership would always be a call for the church to pray for a period of time.
Today, 25 years later, FGT has grown to almost 700 members. They have also planted more than 10 churches across Malaysia. Many of the original pioneers are now full time Pastors. Prayer remains one of the most important activities of the church. Every leader, worker, musician, singer etc. are required to attend the Prayer Meetings on Friday and Sunday mornings. This is a non negotiable requirement. It is still a fundamental belief that prayer is the single most important activity in the Church.
Recently, I have heard some disagreements with the phrase I have written " Every time I pray, I move the hand of God". They suggest that the phrase reflects man's arrogance as it shows that Man is greater than God since the lyrics states " I move the hand of God". Hence they conclude there is error in the theology. Some churches have even banned this song and forbid members to sing it. But people have completely misinterpreted the song and interpreted that single line out of the context of the whole song. The verses clearly state " I am weak and helpless Lord, You my strength shall be". So the verses already qualify that man is weak and helpless. So how can a weak and helpless man be arrogant with God ? What the chorus really mean is that when we come to God in prayer and acknowledge our weaknesses, God moves His hand our behalf. It is like a very small boy asking his father to reach for something he cannot reach. So his father stretches out his hand out to get something his son could not reach for.
I do not know why God has chosen to single out this song to be the most "popular" among the 100 songs I have written. I can only guess that it could be because it was written at that period of time when we were weak and desperately seeking God's face. Another reason could be that God really wants all of us to understand the importance of prayer as reflected in the lyrics of the song.
Every Time I Pray
Lyrics and Music : Ng Wah Lok, 2nd verse: Voon Yuen Woh, 1981
I will come to You in prayer
I will seek Your face
I will stand within the gap
There will I intercede
For every time I pray
I move the hand of God
My prayer does the things
My hands cannot do
For every time I pray
The mountains are removed
The paths are made straight
And nations turn to you.
I am weak and helpless Lord
You, my strength shall be
Guide me with Your gracious hand
There will my victory be.
Copyright 1981 Ng Wah Lok & Voon Yuen Woh