Prayer feels powerless & unfocused
Two of us have begun to pray-walk the borders of our city; praying about whatever we feel prompted to. On our first walk, we went to a Dao Temple as I really felt that this was where God wanted us to be. I find that our prayers feel powerless and unfocused even though we feel called to do this and I’m wondering if you have had a similar experience.
– T. from Montreal, Canada
What’s happening when we pray (Part 1)
Yes, I have definitely felt that way during prayer walking experiences and other times in private prayer also. At first, it can be disconcerting but as time goes along, you may come to view these experiences as particularly powerful and effective. That’s how I feel, even though I would agree they aren’t the most fun times.
Let’s imagine what’s happening as you pray. God is in heaven and you are on earth but there is a space in between, sometimes called the second heaven. This is the realm controlled by the demonic forces. That’s why Satan is called “the prince of the power of the air.” (Ephesians 2:2)
To the extent that the people of God have not enforced the full weight of what Jesus accomplished at the cross, the devil and his horde control our earthly institutions, our culture, our cities and territories. Prayer walking is one strategy for taking them back for God’s kingdom. BUT, you have to press through the dark cloud cover of the current occupant and that can feel like pulling teeth.
I imagine that is what you are going through right now. You are plowing very hard ground and there is a huge resistance to your breaking it up and making it fallow enough for the seed of the gospel to take easily. Additionally, the devil would like to discourage you from continuing. If your prayer is insipid and weak, Satan may ignore it but if it is hitting the mark, he may focus on getting you to quit.
The way I first caught on to this was noticing certain times when it was a struggle to speak as though I had a speech impediment. Rather than clearly articulating my prayer, I found myself fumbling for words, stammering, and getting confused about what I was trying to say.
If that happens, take it as a good sign. Push through; keep going; force yourself to continue because your prayers will no doubt bear fruit.
Focus First (Part 2)
In order to maximize your prayer walking experience, I suggest you stop and pray before you go and strategize about what you plan to do. This can be done in just a few brief minutes before you leave. It is also a good time to specifically pray prayers of protection over yourselves and your households. See Prayers of Protection for the prayers I use.
While you are at it, bind any demonic spirits that would try to interfere with your prayer. Preempt any attack that you may encounter before it strikes. Invite the Holy Spirit to give you your marching orders before you arrive on site. What does HE want to accomplish with this particular prayer walk?
Armed with the Lord’s direction, you will be less likely to get sidetracked as you walk. You may also find that your prayers will be somewhat easier to get out with clarity and focus. If it does become hard, you will still feel encouraged to complete your mission. After the prayer walk is finished, I find it helpful to write down a few brief notes about what happened. Later, as you look back, it will help you measure progress.
The next time your prayers feel powerless or unfocused, SMILE. It probably means you’re hitting the bull’s eye!