When we first moved here we had no idea what we were doing. Well, we still don’t. But we have come to understand the extreme reliance we must have on God. And so because we were starting in a place where no man had been before (as far as living here in Countryside with the intentions we have), we were basically starting with a blank slate. In other words, we would be the ones to decide what programs to offer, what Bible study to do, what fun activities to plan, and how often to even do these things.
We did have enough sense and learned from some wonderful missionary friends of ours that Prayer Walking is a very important tool in ministry settings such as this. Growing up in the church I never knew what prayer walking was, and the other day I realized I talk about it a lot and some of you may not understand what I mean.
We have found prayer walking to be such a special part of our daily routine as a family. It has allowed us to travel the neighborhood in a spirit of worship and bring the petitions that are right before our eyes to the Throne of the Most High God.
(And if you want to see what a Hinson family prayer walk looks like, click here for pictures!)
And you can do this in your neighborhood, too. Take the information below and learn from it. Try it once with your family and see how you like it. You don’t have to pray out loud, but it’s cool for the others to hear what you are saying and how your heart is feeling.
So, without further ado, I present “Prayer Walking 101”.(a lot of this was taken from the North American Mission Board’s website)
Basically, Prayer Walking is prayer that is targeted for the place you are walking.
Prayer Walking falls under a category of prayer called Intercession. Intercession is praying on behalf of others; bringing their needs before the Lord as if they were your own. A wonderful example of Intercessory Prayer in the Bible is when Abraham negotiated with God over Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord revealed to Abraham that he was about to destroy these two great cities for their grave wickedness. Abraham interceded for them and got the Lord to agree that if there could be found as few as ten righteous people in the city of Sodom he would spare both Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18:16-33) If you don’t know how this story turns out read both chapter 18 and 19 in Genesis.
Now check your heart before you continue. Do you feel judgmental, critical, better than those “horrible sinners” whom you intend to target with your prayers? Be honest with God about your motives; he knows them anyhow. If you feel judgmental, read again the story of Abraham interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah. Ask God to give you a heart like Abraham had when he prayed for the Lord to pour out mercy on the cities and spare them judgment. Abraham had a humble heart when he prayed and our prayers will be effective if we have the same kind of heart.
Tips for Prayer Walking:
Pray for Direction –Prayer originates with God, so talk with him about how to get started, “Call to me and I will answer you . . .” (Jer. 33:3). Think of prayer walking as a way to get to know God better by taking a walk with him.
Get Cleaned Up –Before you can pray for others, you need to be in right relationship with God. Allow the Holy Spirit time to examine your heart, confess any known sin, and accept God’s forgiveness. Then you will be a clean vessel ready for God’s use in prayer. “Search me, O God, and know my heart . . .” (Ps. 139:23-24). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9).
Get Dressed –The object of a prayer walk is not to draw undue attention to yourself, so it’s best to leave the monk’s robe and incense-box-on-a-rope at home. In addition to putting on the whole armor of God as described in Ephesians 6:10-18, wear clothing appropriate for the season and location (culture) along with comfortable walking shoes.
Start Where You Are –Don’t worry about whether you do everything just right, or what other people may think of you, “. . . Do not fear the reproach of men . . .” (Isa. 51:7). Lean on the Holy Spirit. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness . . .” (Ro. 8:26-27). Take a brief walk around your neighborhood asking God to give you eyes to see your neighbors as he sees them. Pray silently or out-loud for them as God gives you insight about them from bikes, boats or other items you see.
Use Scripture –To keep your prayers biblical, spend time reading the Bible. Memorize God’s word; or carry a few key verses on index cards to refer to as you pray. “. . . So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (Is. 55:11).
Thank God that he loves your lost neighbors and pray that they would believe in Jesus. (John 3:16) Ask him to bring them out of darkness. (col. 1:13-14) Pray for them to be released from whatever hinders their faith. (2Timothy 2:25-26) Allow God to teach you through Scripture to pray in the character of Jesus, and remember “[God} is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine . . .” (Eph. 3:20), so pray believing he will answer.
The best way to learn to prayer walk is to give it a try; so tie your shoes and take those first steps while you’re thinking about it.