Beginning Prayer Walking – Ready, Set, Walk!
I guess I come by Prayer Walking naturally because walking is the only exercise I truly enjoy. When I’m out in the neighborhood I’m such a nosey walker; I’m always straining to see through windows. Evening walking is best when people don’t pull drapes closed because the inside light allows a better view from the sidewalk. I love to study architecture and evaluate landscaping and remodel in my mind as I walk past each house. I also like to play a little game where I guess the floor plan of the house based on the exterior structure.
Over fifteen years ago I had a power walking routine in my close by neighborhood. I was doing it for exercise but to kill two birds with one stone I also did my daily prayer as I walked. It was very early morning so no one was out and I prayed out loud. Sometimes as I walked by a house I would pray for the people inside. Sometimes I’d pray blessings on a whole block of houses as I whisked by. Similar to the floor plan guessing game I would often wonder which houses were having marital problems or financial difficulties. Who was happy, who was on the verge of divorce?
What is Prayer Walking?
A prayer walker was born. Little did I know what interesting and unusual experiences were ahead, especially when I organized and led Prayer Walking teams for a church quite a few years later. Basically, Prayer Walking is prayer that is targeted for the place you are walking. If you have a hard time just sitting still in a room praying over a list of people or needs, you might be a good candidate. In my estimation it can be a lot more interesting to actually see what you are praying for rather than sitting at home with your eyes closed imagining it. Actually seeing your prayer target can also inspire you with the right way to pray so that your prayer will be the most effective.
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.
Prayer walking is targeted prayer
I said earlier that prayer walking is targeted prayer so the first thing you need to say to yourself if you feel interested is; what is my purpose? Exactly what do I want to see accomplished? This covers the “why” of prayer walking. Secondly, where do I prayer walk? Another consideration: who do you do this with; is this alone or with others? And then there is the actual procedure for the walk; the “how” of prayer walking. These issues will be enough to get us started.
Prayer walking purpose
Perhaps you have been sensing an increased burden for those around you. Maybe you see signs in your neighborhood that are troublesome such as obscene graffiti or a house that seems to produce a lot of screaming or children that appear uncared for. Or maybe your neighborhood is picture perfect by all appearances but you happen to know firsthand the anguish and misery that lies behind closed doors. Maybe you know nothing about your neighborhood except that there are no other Christians; you are pretty much alone.
Consider this purpose: you are to bring light to the darkness. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” If you desire to be light to the darkness around you, you have set yourself a good goal. Your prayers can penetrate the dark places around you. You can effect change in your own neighborhood.
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.
Part 2 of this article: Where to Prayer walk – partners in prayer – Prayer walking procedure