I absolutely despise flying. Yes, I know flying can cut travel time down tremendously, but I still don’t like flying. I was on the plane looking outside my window as the rain from Hurricane Florence pounded the plane’s windows. I began to get nervous because I knew there was going to be some turbulence. The plane started up and I found myself praying. “Lord, please allow me to arrive to my destination safely.” The ironic thing was after I finished, I looked to read the book I brought with me: Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church by John Onwuchekwa.
Now, there are no shortage of books on prayer. So, what makes this book on prayer different? Prayer belongs to the Nine Marks Building Healthy Churches book series. This book delivers enormously. Concise, the book stirs the desires and affections of believers to pray. The book starts off with the author’s concern. “We don’t treat prayer like breathing. We treat it like prescription medication meant to rid us of an infection. Once the infection is gone, so is the frequency and fervency of our prayers.” When something goes wrong in our lives, we pray. In fact, those are the times when our prayers are more consistent and persistent. However, when things are going well, we don’t always consider the importance of prayer. Onwuchekwa gives a number of definitions for prayer, but readers will come to admire the number of illustrations and quotable lines.
Consider the following:
“A church’s commitment to prayer is one of the greatest determiners of its effectiveness in ministry. Prayer is oxygen for the Christian. It sustains us.”
“If prayer clings to the hope we share in Christ, then prayer should reflect our togetherness in Christ.”
“Prayerlessness is spiritual suicide.”
“To miss a day of praying this way is to spend a day where I’m tempted to think that God and I are okay because of my performance.”
“Corporate prayer is a way we teach our church how to engage with God.”
On every page, the author gives thought provoking statements about one’s prayer life. I found myself repeatedly highlighting and underlining different thoughts on prayer.
Onwuchekwa points us to the importance of prayer in different areas of the church. His pastoral heart reveals itself as he encourages the church to be faithful in prayer even when not many members are present. There are even chapters devoted to the importance of prayer in worship, corporate care and missions.
I am grateful to the Lord for this short treatise on prayer. I was able to finish the book while on the plane. From the turn of the first page, this book will draw you in. The Lord used this book to help me realize my need of Him even while flying. I heartily recommend and encourage others to read. It is challenging, convicting and refreshing! May the Lord use this book for the glory of His Bride.