A Dangerous Prayer

I remember this single moment in July 15th 2018. I was in church and we were singing ‘New Wine’ by Hillsong. Feel free to play this playlist with the song as you read this post.

The first time I heard this song early in 2018 before it was released in April, it already left a massive imprint on my heart.

But somehow singing it on that particular date felt really different. I remember singing the pre-chorus and first half of the chorus like I meant it.

At that time, I thought I was singing about my visa situation. I thought I was just praising over the uncertain status of whether or not I’d be in NYC for the foreseeable future. I thought I was just petitioning over my then current responsibilities in NYC.


With almost a year in hindsight, the lyrics of that song became one of the most dangerous prayers of my life yet.

I’ve definitely prayer the classic Christian prayer of ‘use me Lord.’ But I prayed small prayers, like ‘use me in this very specific situation – and maybe my life – but more importantly this specific situation’.

In a way, I thought I was praying that kind of prayer on July 15th 2018. But God knows my heart and my desires better than I do. And I remember that feeling of ‘God’s here in this moment‘ as I sang those lyrics at the start of the song.

What I was really asking for on July 15th 2018 was to:

Yield to Him and His careful hand.

Trust Him even when I don’t understand.

Make me a vessel and offering.

Make me whoever You want me to be.

Christian worship songs are pretty predictable with verse 1, chorus, verse 2, chorus, bridge, chorus x2 – with some variations here and there; usually I only really get into a song by chorus 2 and am moved by the music in the bridge. But this song headbutted me into full-teary mode after verse 1, giving me the rest of the song to go deeper into His presence.


If I had to break these 3 points down briefly, here’s what hindsight has taught me:

Yield to Him and His careful hand.

‘Yield’ means ‘give way to arguments, demands, or pressure’. It means I have to completely submit to God – no arguing with Him, no demanding what I want, and He’s not pressuring me to do so. I consciously, willingly, fully submit.

The beauty in submission is that God is careful.

God does not want to harm me – His intentions for me are perfect and good. This does not mean that I will be free from getting hurt, or ever free from harm’s way. But when I go through the unforeseeable painful moments, I’m already in His arms, in the very palms of His protective hands.

Trust Him even when I don’t understand.

There have been way too many moments since 15th July 2018 that I don’t understand. I can’t even go into all of them because it would take a book by now.

But He reminds me to trust Him. To trust Him is to not rely on my understanding. If I understood the future, then I wouldn’t need God.

I still don’t understand the past, let alone the unknown. But I’ve trusted God more than I have ever needed to since that prayer.

Make me a vessel and offering.

So yielding and trusting is all cool – but we’re seriously getting into the dangerous zone of prayer. If the first 2 points were already terrifying, this is like finding out cockroaches can fly.

A vessel is something that can be filled, like a water bottle or a cup. One of the most famous Psalms has the iconic imagery of an overflowing cup.

An offering is more than just the New Testament 10% tithe – an offering is a sacrifice that atones for something, that pays on behalf of someone else. In the Old Testament, it’s a sheep or cow (or a dove if you’re poorer); in the New Testament, it’s Jesus.

So when I asked to become a combination of these two in that sequence of vessel then offering, I’m literally asking God to empty me so His love can overflow from my existence on this earth, in order for me to be a sacrifice, a perfect offering, for His glory.

I’m no Jesus, but that’s the prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest, before His crucifixion.

Make me whoever You want me to be.

This request is the final blow in the superhero’s story where the villain has completely vanquished the hero and we are 3/4ths into the story with minimal amount of hope for the remaining quarter.

What I asked for was complete recalibration of who I am, to be replaced with who God wants me to be.

If I’m drawing my moment in worship as a parallel to Jesus’ prayer in the Garden, then this is the closest as I’ve ever asked God to change me. I don’t pray for change because change is scary, uncontrollable and uncomfortable. And I also know that when I ask God for something, He answers, and rarely the way I want it answered.

Yet in this moment, I did. Like I said, God knows my heart better than I do. I remember praying for change over my visa situation, but God’s got bigger ideas than just a visa, and God heard my prayer to change me from my idea of Grace into His Grace.

We’ve been brought up to believe that we can be whoever we want to be – astronaut, musician, lawyer, billionaire. But then we grow up to know of limitations like money, time, natural talent, privilege and other insurmountable odds.

However when you pray the prayer of ‘whoever God wants you to be’ – suddenly all limits bow down to an all-powerful God.

But when you strike a deal with an all-powerful God that will overcome the world on your behalf, whoever God wants you to be will be whoever God wants you to be, and this process of becoming and being is all on His terms. Also, no take backsies.


I can safely and confidently tell you that God answers prayers because my life flipped quite drastically on July 16th 2018.

I can even tell you how I felt when I reached that moment of knowing that my life was never going to be the same forever. I felt like the subway trains were moving too quickly, but I could see the platform across the tracks through the moving windows, like an old-school motion picture with flipping pages. I looked up at the dark subway tunnel ceiling and zoomed out of this world for a hot second, just to tell God to His face ‘oh shit, what have You done and what do I do’.

Months later, I randomly remembered the dream I had the night before, and how visceral and tangible it was. The dream was forgotten in the chaos of waking up on a Monday, but when I remembered it out of the blue, it made so much sense that it felt like only God could orchestrated such a coincidence.

Almost a year later, this subconscious prayer still haunts me. There are many days where I wonder if my life would be like this if I didn’t pray this prayer. The ‘like this’ means the tumultuous, exciting, heartbreaking, confusing and beautiful moments I’ve experienced.

Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, there are no take backsies. I’ve made the choice I made, and the choices thereafter.

But if you were ask me to change that subconscious prayer into a conscious choice today – I’d tell you I’m forced to choose every single time I tear up/cry thinking of all that I’ve lost and all that I miss dearly from being a parcel of being a vessel and a portion of being an offering. Yet, I would sing the same pre-chorus and chorus with the same hungry heart over, and over, and over until the day that there are no tears left.

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