Genesis 4:26, “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD”, provides the answer to what we may be looking for as the earliest record of men to be engaged in prayer with the Almighty.

Apart from the title “The People of the Book”, Christians are known to be in all places and times as well as in every situation imaginable to be in pursuit of prayer. Having said this, there is however too few who have made prayer as their main priority and duty in life. We may be one of the many who have chosen to pray when it is convenient or only when we are under stress and going through trials in life.

The Lord Jesus Christ will be pleased not only when one has a place in his home dedicated to prayer but when prayer holds a important place in the individual’s life.

Why do we pray? We pray because (1) God expects us to be in constant contact with Him; (2) Our desire to be in His presence in the place of prayer.

1. What is prayer?

A] Prayer is to invite God to take over our lives by recognizing His power and acknowledging our weakness.

B] Prayer is to be hardworking, getting up early and staying up late to talk with the Lord.

C] Prayer is our weapon and shield to withstand the fiery darts of the devil.

2. Prayer is priority.

A] Paul says in Romans 12:12, “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer”

B] Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing”.

C] Luke 18:1, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint”.

3. Prayer as an example.

A] Jesus prayed before feeding the 5000—John 6:11

B] Jesus prayed before raising Lazarus—John 11:41

C] Jesus prayed in Gethsemane before His trial—Luke 22

Knowing what prayer is, the priority and prerequisite is not enough, but one should practise prayer if it were to be truly effective in one’s life. On the scale of one to ten, how do you fare? 9

G is for God’s Gift of Grace

The Blind Korean Pastor

(A Summary of Rev An Yo Han’s Autobiography by Wendy Teng)

Financial problems arose after three years. Without an income, all the savings were used up to look for cures for his condition. He had to sell his house and move his family to a smaller place. John’s friend recommended him to be a French teacher at St Paul’s Catholic Girl’s High School in Nonsan, Choongnam Province. Deep inside him, John was hoping that God would have mercy on him. John persevered in his teaching job until it became impossible for him to teach. When he returned home for summer vacation in 1974, he confessed everything to his wife, and resigned from the school. By 1975, his left eye was nearly blind too. For the sake of his family and his promise to his older daughter that he would not be blind, John sought treatment from a lady who specialised in “needle treatment” and became unconscious. His mother finally took him home. On April 16, 1976, John became totally blind and also deaf in his left ear.

After becoming totally blind, his wife and his children abandoned him and John was left to face a world of darkness and the uncertain future alone. He attempted suicide twice. In his second suicide attempt, he suddenly lost consciousness and fell to the floor. Then he heard someone calling his name and the voice seemed to fill up the room. Surprised, John opened his eyes and saw bright light shining in his room and sweet smelling fragrance filling it. The voice continued to shout his name, commanding him to get up. Frantically waving his arms, John asked over and over again, “Who are you?” “Where are you?” The voice answered, “I am Jehovah your God. Don’t say you are all alone because I am always with you. You will know that you are not alone. Read page 320 of the Old Testament; it belongs to you.”

New Found Faith

In his utter despair, the Lord reached out to John and gave him Joshua chapter one, commanding him to be strong and of a good courage as God was with him and would not forsake him. This new found faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and dependence on God filled his heart with joy overflowing and gave John the strength and courage to overcome his blindness and depression. John was assured that God would help him find His plan for his life. With this assurance, he packed a few personal belongings and a transistor radio, and left the house to start his pilgrim journey to seek God’s will and purpose in his life.

John had to endure hardships and humiliating experiences as he ploughed through the streets to find God’s will for his life. There were many obstacles along the way—stumbling on a stone, running right into the electric pole, bumping his forehead—but the contempt and sneering of heartless people was harder to endure than the actual struggle of getting around. Only the faith that he had that he would find the light at the end of the tunnel kept him going despite the adverse circumstances. The Word of God, “Be strong and of a good courage, I will not forsake you” gave John the hope to move on, trusting the Lord to lead him to the light. God finally led him to the Seoul train depot where his long journey came to an end.

At the train depot, there was a group of people—newspaper peddlers, shoe-shine boys, and porters—and they accepted John as one of the unfortunate people just as they were. Gradually, John experienced the kindness shown to him by the poor and lowly people. God revealed to John His will for him in his life through a newspaper boy named Jin Yong. John realised that he could serve the Lord in this lowly place by sharing his education with Jin Yong and the boys and teaching them God’s love and His words.

Going to Seminary

The Lord opened the way for John to be equipped for service. With the help of Jin Yong, John was able to find a Braille school and learned Braille in Korean and in English. Later, he learned Japanese, French, Hebrew and Latin. John needed a seminary education in order to be a Christian worker and that was the next challenge.

When Fall came, it was too cold to stay at Seoul train depot and Jin Yong took John to Noryangjin train depot and introduced him to his friends there to take care of him. Through Bang Wool, the shoeshine boy, John was able to sleep in the tea house. John listened to the religious English program through the transistor radio and copied the addresses of the organisations which offered counseling and wrote to them his personal story. In the early part of February 1977, John received the long-awaited letter. It was from Tom Frances, General Secretary of the Foundation of Helen Keller, which was also called the Milton Association for the Blind and they were willing to finance his seminary education. John enrolled himself in Hankuk Theological Seminary in Sooyoori, Seoul. He visited his father before school began and told him this good news. John finally fulfilled his father’s wish for him to become a minister of God.

Church for the Blind

After John graduated from the seminary, he established “The Promotion of the Blind Association” in 1979. He later started the church for the blind and on the last Sunday of June 1979, they held their first “New Light Church” service. John’s parents attended his first service. Later on, his friends from the train depot volunteered their services in the church for the blind and in this way they were also blessed by the Word of God, coming to church every Sunday. Offerings came in and they were used for the publication for the Braille magazine, the “New Light”. John then worked on starting an evening school for the poor and lowly, the boys from the train station.

John concluded his autobiography with this prayer, “Thank you Lord for my blindness. You took away my physical eyes which will decay with this body when it dies, but you gave me the invaluable spiritual eyes to see the truth. Thank you for calling me into your service.

With all my heart and strength I will serve you where you planted me until the day you call me to heaven. I truly value my unique ministry, Lord! Just give me the strength to carry on your work and help me to obey Your will until the end.”