Hey, I’m Rachael! Thanks for checking out my website. Here’s some cool stuff the Lord has done in my life that’s gotten me to where I am. If you wanna chat sometime, hit up that Contact page and reach out. I’d love to connect with you!
September 2000, age 6 – Marked. Less than two years after giving her life to the Lord, my mom was divinely led to TheCall – a historic moment where 400,000 believers gathered in Washington, DC to fast, pray, and contend for God to release revival in America. It was at this gathering that prophetic words over my life were given to my mom (I wasn’t even there), and without knowing it, the Lord marked my heart.
For the next 6 years, I was raised in a culture of radical love and consecration to Jesus, and I was consumed with hunger for more of Him.
February 2006, age 12 – Commissioned. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was standing at the alter in worship at a conference in Harrisburg, PA, and the presence of the Lord was thick and weighty in the room. In response to His nearness, the worship team stopped playing to simply wait on Him and see what He wanted to do. In that moment, a prophetic song rose up from deep within me. I knew it was a song from the Lord that He was calling me to release, but I was battling thoughts and feelings of pride, fear, false-humility (aka, pride 2.0!)… Finally I reached a point where my insides were burning like the prophet Jeremiah must’ve felt, and I knew that if I didn’t sing out this song, I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night. So I sang. The moment I opened my mouth and began to release the song, I physically felt God inside of me and knew He was singing through me. I didn’t know I could ever feel His presence or know His nearness like I did in that moment, and I didn’t want it to stop. I was so overwhelmed and in love, and I remember hearing Him whisper to me, “This is what I made you for. You’re going to do this for the rest of your life.” I remember exploding inside, thinking, “If I can experience this for the rest of my life, sign me up!!!”
The next few years I got really serious about worship. I learned guitar, led worship in youth group, joined my church worship team, spent hours every day locked in my room with Jesus, and went to war against every area of hidden sin and compromise in my life like nobody’s business. I was all in.
August 2011, age 17 – Trained and Equipped. I knew worship was my calling, and I knew I needed training, equipping, and community to help me grow and mature into the fullness of who God made me to be. After learning about the International House of Prayer, a 24/7 worship and prayer ministry in Kansas City, MO, I knew that’s where I wanted to go to school. So I packed my bags, left everything and everyone I knew back home in NJ, and went to the midwest. As a full-time student at the Forerunner Music Academy, I spent three years immersed in intense theological teaching, world-class music classes, and a community of wholehearted lovers of Jesus who spent hours upon hours each week fellowshipping with God in the 24/7 Global Prayer Room (GPR). After graduation, I spent 2.5 years ministering to the Lord in worship on the NightWatch in the GPR. It was in this season that all of my training and equipping was put to the test and greatly matured (i.e. I failed pretty miserably on many levels, but with the help of wise and gracious leaders, friends and comrades, and the greatest Helper, Holy Spirit, I grew a lot).
May 2017, age 23 – Reminded. About six months after stepping down from leading worship at at IHOPKC to pursue other avenues of ministry, my heart became sick. It’s hard to describe it, but I suddenly longed to be back in the prayer room where my occupation was to behold the beauty of Jesus with my friends every single day. I felt like a part of me was dying, even fearing at some points that I would lose my gift and anointing in worship if I didn’t have an outlet to begin working those muscles again. I remember describing it as feeling like I was in a state of spiritual atrophy. After many tears and prayers, surrendering this fear and uncertainty to the Lord, He answered.
Within weeks, I received an email inviting me to visit a church just outside of Austin, TX that was actively seeking a worship director for their church and prayer room. As I read the email, I began weeping intensely while simultaneously exploding with joy – the Lord was reminding me of who I am and recommissioning me back into my Levitical calling to be a priest before Him. Two months later I once again packed my bags, said goodbye to my family and friends in Kansas City, and moved to Austin.
August 2018, age 24 – Established. A year after moving to TX, I never could’ve dreamed of all the Lord wanted to release over me in this season. He has truly rooted and established me in my identity as a daughter, a friend, a sister, a leader, a mentor, a mother, a worshipper, a musician, a songwriter, a disciple, a lover, a servant, a missionary… In this place of rooted identity, He has opened my eyes to a whole new set of dreams and passions in my heart.
June 2021 – New Beginnings. About two years ago I met a man named Paul Penner while on vacation with some friends. Almost immediately the Lord began to speak to me about this man, a few months later a relationship began to develop, and two years later, we are married! My name is now Rachael Penner, and I am currently in the process of learning how to be a godly wife! For now I am investing in building relationships with new friends at my husband’s church and in my new community, spending time sitting before the Lord in worship and His Word, and giving time to creative outlets like music, songwriting, and potentially some other projects.
This blog is where I share the overflow of a burning, lovesick heart. Through written posts, through podcasts, through worship and songs… this is my story. May your heart burn within you as you encounter the power of the Gospel of Jesus working in and transforming my life. Thanks for joining me on the journey.