When did you learn to cry out to God in prayer? For John Onwuchekwa, the answer is “6 weeks before I planted Cornerstone Church in Atlanta.” But the story that moved John to his knees is tragic. It was the death of his 32-year-old brother. The family tragedy derailed John, a sunny optimist, into a tailspin of pessimistic depression. His faith was shaken. And in the low valley of his soul, his prayers changed. Prayer became the exhale of his soul, unloading his burdens on the Lord.
What do you think this personal transformation did for Cornerstone Church? Under the leadership of a praying pastor, they became a praying church. Not simply a church filled with individuals who pray. Rather they prayed together. Their church prayed corporately. In corporate prayer, we unite together, standing as God’s children relying upon our Heavenly Father. We act as a family. Because we are a family. Individual prayer displays my priorities. Corporate prayer displays our priorities. Prayer is not just something God gave to you and me. He gave it to us.
Four years later, how is Cornerstone Church doing? Their family is alive. And they are praying together to Jesus, who is alive as well. Further, they are teaching other churches how to pray. Now, as of August 31st, John is teaching us how to pray. 9Marks released his new book, “Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church.” It encourages local churches to give themselves to praying together.