By Ps Lee Kok Wah
On January 3, 2023, the SingPass service went down for many users following the launch of the latest tranche of Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers. A number of users said that they were unable to log in to SingPass to claim the CDC vouchers. That Tuesday evening, the Government Technology Agency said in a statement that a “preliminary investigation does not suggest any correlation” between the SingPass outage and the redemption of CDC vouchers.
SingPass stands for “Singapore Personal Access.” All Singapore citizens and residents are eligible to apply for this digital identity that allows them to access government agencies and businesses, online and in person. The key words here are “eligible”, “identity” and “access”.
A person who follows Jesus Christ as his or her Saviour and Lord is a child of the triune (or tri-personal) God. God the Father is his Heavenly Father. God the Son is her Saviour and Lord. God the Holy Spirit indwells him as his guide and counsellor. She is a citizen of the kingdom of God. A Christ-follower, also known as a disciple of Jesus, has a “GodPass” – the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Owing to the Christ-follower’s identity as a child of God, he or she is eligible for access to the Creator of the universe through prayer in Jesus’ name.
While we may log in to SingPass to obtain a service or to receive a voucher, prayer is much more than just “logging in to God.” Prayer is conversation with God. Prayer is encountering God. Timothy Keller, in his book Prayer: Experiencing Awe And Intimacy With God (Hodder & Stoughton, 2014), defines prayer as “a personal, communicative response to the knowledge of God.” He continues: “All human beings have some knowledge of God available to them. At some level, they have an indelible sense that they need something or someone who is on a higher plane and infinitely greater than they are. Prayer is seeking to respond and connect to that being and reality, even if it is no more than calling out into the air for help” (p45).
Jesus taught his disciples that they should always pray in his name (John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-24). We need to pray in the name of Jesus Christ because the only access to God is through Jesus himself.
The Apostle Paul gives us his take on eligibility, identity and access. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ … He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Ephesians 2:13,17-18). The word access is used to describe the granting of an audience by a king in ancient days. In those days, no one could simply walk into the presence of a powerful king. The consequences could be severe punishment, including imprisonment or even death. If that was an expression of the gap of power between a human king and his common subjects, consider the infinitely wider gulf between our holy God and sinful human beings. No one could look upon God and live (Exodus 33:20). Yet the Word of God assures us we now have access to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Adherents of other religions pray. Even non-religious people pray at times. Christian prayer is set apart from other prayers by several distinctives. Two key distinctives are that Christians pray to a personal God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. God invites us to commune with him and gives us the way to approach him. Let us accept his invitation eagerly.