Jennifer Tan Hooi Peng is a 54-year-old Catholic who found her way back to the Church eight years ago. She lives in Penang with her husband and two children but currently she is in Ipoh with her elderly family members in this Covid-19 lockdown. She shares her journey back to the Lord in a series of articles. Her earlier articles are listed below.
By Jennifer Tan
NOV 11, 2021
I never understood what praise was all about for the longest time. It was only after several months of joining the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in mid-2015 that I realized there was such a thing as praise and worship. It took me a while to realise that Praise was different from Thanking God. Praising Christ was recognising Him for who He is and that is Our Father, Our Shepherd, Our Healer, Our Creator, and the numerous roles He is to all of us.
Highest Form of Worship
It was not until a year later in April, 2016, when I read the book Prison to Praise by Merlin R. Carothers, that I realised the importance of praising Christ. We are to praise always and especially when we are going through trials and difficulties.A copy of the book was given to my husband and I decided to read a random page. It was so captivating that I decided to read the book, finished it and then re-read it that same day. I finished doing that around midnight. It says praise is one of the highest ways of worshiping Christ. That was my turning point and I vowed to do so without having the constant need to refer to written text or projected words. Ten days later after the Holy Spirit Seminar in St Anne’s Minor Basilica that was guided by Deacon Clement Samuel and our CCR Spiritual Director, I felt even more determined to do so.
Initially I tried memorising some Bible praise phrases and verses but had a lot of difficulty when trying to use these verses at our CCR prayer meeting. It was somehow easier when I am alone and praising Christ freely without being conscious of people around me. It took a very long time to feel comfortable praising aloud in CCR prayer meetings until one day I immersed myself in Christ and consciously block out people around me. From then on, praises to Christ became more meaningful. Jesus taught me that true praises came from the heart, and not our minds. Thank you, Lord! Alleluia!
I learnt something else at a sunset mass at the Holy Name of Mary Catholic church at Permatang Tinggi. Father Augustine Wong, in his sermon, said there were also specific worship hymns such as “He is Lord! He is Lord!”. We could sing the chorus or parts of the verses and prostrate for worshiping which I do until today. Thank you, Jesus! Praise God!
Healing thru’ Praise and Worship
I truly love praise and worship sessions. I always became more joyful after attending. I also realised that after returning from a CCR prayer meeting, I am completely rejuvenised, especially when I am tired or bogged down with work and family matters. Answers to problems seem to flow into my mind, and problems become smaller and insignificant because Christ magnified. Thank you, Jesus! Praise the Lord! Alleluia!In a pray-over session during praise and worship on May 17, 2017, I received instantaneous healing from both knee-cap pain (osteoarthritis) from Christ through our CCR spiritual director. Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus! Alleluia!
The Holy Spirit
It was through prayer meetings in CCR that I started to learn more about the Holy Spirit. Previously, only God and Jesus featured strongly in my life. The Holy Spirit had prodded my conscience and guided me to seek Christ when I was away from him. And when I returned to Church, the Holy Spirit touched my heart making me cry in almost every mass for almost two years. I also slowly started to learn how to bring the Holy Spirit into my life by inviting Him verbally. On Nov 2, 2020, Sr Maximillian Soon sent me a hymn that she sang and recorded, “Come Holy Spirit” for no apparent reason. Jesus knew I was struggling in caring for my 89-year-old grand aunt who had fractured her hip and heart complications as well as helping three other elderly family members. He was prompting me to invite the Holy Spirit to help. This hymn comforted me especially in the first two months of this year, because I would call the Holy Spirit often to guide me when I was overly exhausted and stressed. Since mid-March, I have been singing many more hymns dedicated to the Holy Spirit and this continues to strengthen me spiritually. Thank you, Holy Spirit! Alleluia!
Previously I had thought worshiping was limited to mass participation (liturgically), by kneeling and prostrating (postural), thanksgiving, praise in words and hymns, prayer and meditation (non-liturgical) and repentance. Today I know worship is so much more and it includes the way I live my life and through words, actions, and thoughts that glorify Christ. Thank you for enlightenment, Jesus! I will keep trying, Jesus!
More articles by Jennifer Tan:
Being away from Christ was the greatest mistake of my life – the story of Jennifer Tan
Tears would roll down my cheeks each time I receive Holy Communion
‘Our return to Christ as husband and wife happened just as how God told me’
Discovering Christ through prayer
‘How I used the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet to Intercede for others’
Why my husband and I were drawn to attend daily masses
Jesus cleansed and healed me at the confessional