Fresh Wind Graphic
Summer Reading Challenge. Chapter 5 Commentary.

Perhaps the simplest gift I can offer my glorious Father…a prayer. Is its simplicity the reason I fall so lax? Do I get so lost inside my head in trying to have all the right words that the Holy Spirit hits a road block? Am I too concerned with what everyone else will think of me that I do not honor the reverence of my God and fall on my knees in complete awe and surrender of His grace for me? The tears of thanksgiving and praise should flow free in the endless love and gifts that He bestows upon me…a sinner deserving of nothing short of a fiery hell…instead He promises me an eternity lined with endless beauty, joy and streets of gold. And what do I give Him…some days not even a prayer.

As a child, we ask our parents for everything. We cannot get through life unless they provide our most basic needs. We are blessed with birthdays and holidays for our hearts most material desires. We rely on their insight and wisdom to help navigate challenges and lift us up and encourage us when we have fallen. I am and will always be a child of God, yet I seem to think that I can get through this life without calling on Him on a daily basis for my needs and heart’s desire, for His insight and wisdom to navigate me through the challenges, for His love and grace to comfort me when I have fallen. Cymbala states the apostles had this instinct: When in trouble, pray. When intimidated, pray. When challenged, pray. When persecuted, pray. I would add: When content, pray. When encouraged, pray. When victorious, pray. When comforted, pray. As my husband will often say, “prayer should be a reflex, not a last resort.” But so many times, I am guilty of making prayer a last resort and for that I seek forgiveness in Christ and in my repentance I hope to find obedience in the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that calls us to “pray without ceasing.” (ESV)

I feel that God is calling Grace Church to something greater. I do not think we are just reading this summer reading challenge to add a checkmark to our lists of books read. My prayer is that Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire will speak to all who read it…to call and inspire each of us to pray more. However, not just to pray alone or within the confines of our personal space or homes, but together as a church…united for Christ with a deep faith and desire that God will be faithful and the Holy Spirit will break down the walls of our strongholds so we can reach the lost in sincere love and gentle grace. We are all well aware of the darkness that is consuming this world, tempting our youth and destroying the foundation of marriage, which in turn is tearing our families and communities apart. Cymbala states in Chapter 5 that “only turning God’s house into a house of fervent prayer will reverse the power of evil so evident in the world today”. So let’s challenge ourselves at Grace Church to get serious about our praying together as a church. Let’s fervently call on the Holy Spirit to move in this community, this state, this nation, this world. Our numbers dwindle right now and we can do better. Grace Church has an average of 626 people in attendance on Sunday mornings. Any guesses on the attendance to our church prayer meetings that are held twice monthly? 10-12…10-12 people is the average attendance to Grace Church’s prayer meetings. Sorrowfully, I am not one of those 10-12…but I want to commit to be and I certainly ask for an accountability partner to call on me to show up when I make all my wonderful excuses for how busy I am in life. With nearly 200 books given out, my prayer is that we can see our prayer meeting attendance increase and watch God work in mighty ways within our church and community.

This entire book has filled me with plenty of healthy convictions and has also revived inspiration in this spiritual journey I stumble along each day. I want to glorify God with such simple gifts of prayer, these gifts that He finds so fragrant and beautiful. I want to be a part of a church that is not afraid to faithfully call on God in fervent prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to work in astonishing ways. Grace Church…let’s see what God can do when we are intentional and obedient in His call to prayer. “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” Acts 6:4 (ESV).

Father,

I pray that we as a church would be drawn closer to you. That we would surrender our hearts. That we would surrender our pride and just fall at Your feet. Expose us. Strengthen us. Unite us as one so that we may fulfill our purpose on this earth…to share the gospel. Let us see that we are all alike in our differences. Bring healing to our communities and nations. Let us set our sights and hearts towards heaven and be still in Your promises for an eternity in Your awesome presence. Forgive us Father for our lack of prayer within the church you have blessed us to be a part of. Lead us to repentance and grow us in our faith. In the magnificent name of Christ, Amen.

 In His grace with love,

Rachel Honberger

 “There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.” A.T. Pierson

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