Prepared by Rev Ruthmary Bond
When we talk about prayer walking we are talking about intercessory prayer taking place while walking. So having read all about Intercessory Prayer in our study together I won’t go over it again, but please feel free to refer to past articles to refresh your memory.
It is true that prayer walking is not mentioned specifically in the Bible. However, we are told to pray without ceasing[i] and to pray listening to the Spirit [ii]. This is what we do when we prayer walk, and God is using prayer walking all over the world today. As with all these things it is important not to get too hung up on the method, but to be sure the focus stays on worshipping the inspirer of the message. God is bigger than any method.[iii]
It has been said that Prayer Walking is ‘… intercession on location with information in co-operation against opposition for glorification’ [iv] When I first looked at that statement I thought they were a lot of strong words in one place, and I could not see what it really meant. So I embarked on a journey of breaking down this statement into parts, and looking at each part to see how it came together as a whole. This article will share that journey with you.
Intercession: is the type of prayer that is used on a prayer walk. It is not prayer that is prayed in a classic style or with a specific format, but in this context, is prayer that is a two-way conversation with God, listening specifically for the leading of the Spirit. Have you ever had a conversation with a best friend where the conversation had no specific place of starting, flowed along with talking backwards and forwards and then ended on a note that was not pre-prepared? This is the type of conversation we have with God as we go on a prayer walk. We tell God about the things we see, think and perceive about our area and share with him the needs, concerns and joys that come to our mind as we walk. Of course we can jog or ride a bike too; it’s about praying on site and knowing that God is with you, listening and responding. In our conversation with God it is important that we come to Him as our Father because as we speak to Him He answers[v]. We pray in the authority of Jesus[vi], in and with the Spirit. When we do this we are set free to let the agenda be God’s and not ours. In the name of the Son, with the Holy Spirit to the Father![vii]
Location: Whereas most prayer is done sitting in one place, prayer walking is where we take the prayer to the location. Now you may ask “Why can’t I just stay in bed and pray – what are the benefits of walking and praying?” In bed or at home we are limited in what is around us that we can think about and respond to. As you walk, your eyes are able to see the things that are happening in your area that need prayer. When open to the Spirit your heart can feel the joys and needs that are at your back door, and your ears can hear the heartbeat of your community, the community you have been placed in by God. Of course God can use you in many places, as with the Roman captain’s servant whom Jesus healed from a distance[viii], or the woman on the journey who touched Jesus’ cloak and was healed,[ix] or when Jesus went to where the need was and raised Lazarus from the dead.[x] At first it may feel strange praying out there on the street, but let me encourage you – it gets easier. As with all things, practice makes perfect![xi] You can go anywhere on a prayer walk – a government building, schools, parks, hospitals, businesses, homes of those you know, churches, high places, anywhere!
Information: It is important that as part of your preparation for a prayer walk you have some idea of the area you have been called to, so take some time to educate yourself on the area. You can use the internet, newspapers, talk to people in the area, or to local council to find out things like the demographic of your area. Without this information your prayers can tend to be more generic; when you are informed you have a foundation for your prayers to be specific.[xii]
Co-operation: As we walk we are working together with God and our team. This can give us a confidence because Jesus said where two or more are gathered I am there with them[xiii]. Ask God to give you and your team an open mind and receptive spirit. We are walking with others who are part of our team, and there needs to be a unity, so be sure to pray together for each other before you start the walk. Even if at some points there is an uneasiness, that does not mean there cannot be unity. It is also helpful to have other intercessors who are not on the walk backing you up in prayer as you walk.
Against Opposition: The Bible says that Satan is the opposition; he rules the powers of darkness in the world.[xiv] Therefore we are in enemy territory. But before we focus on that point it is important to remember, “We are in spiritual conflict not because the outcome of the war is still in question but because the enemy has refused to cease fighting, even though defeated”[xv] Satan does not want us to pray, so you will be attacked personally to keep you away – too tired, too busy, not really worth it, not well, family. As a team on the walk: not working, dissension on the team, waste of time. Don’t give these thoughts the time of day. We have weapons[xvi] and it is God who pulls down the strongholds and breaks open closed doors. “We submit to God, resist what the devil is up to and the devil will flee”[xvii]. You don’t even need to talk to Satan at all; just talk to God and he removes Satan. So protect yourself as you go, put on the armour of God, and go in confidence![xviii]
Glorification: We know that God loved the world so much that he sent Jesus into the world to die for us that we may be forgiven [xix]and that the Kingdom of God could come here on earth. It is very important that we keep God at the centre of our focus so that everything we do is for His glory so that His Kingdom will come here on earth. [xx]
As we begin to put into practice the journey of prayer walking, it is natural to ask, ‘does prayer walking work?’ Or ‘will my participation make a difference?’ It comes down to two things 1) Those who walk by faith will see; those who walk by sight will always be sceptical.[xxi] Even if the fruit is there, the one who walks by sight cannot see it! Walk by faith! 2) “This side of eternity, you will never know the value of one person – you – walking and praying among a group of people loved by God, for whom Jesus died.”
But if you feel a nudge from God to do this or at least give it a try, I would highly recommend that you do it, for your sake and for those Jesus loves!
May God be glorified, against our opposition, in the midst of our co-operation, with our new information, in our location, through our intercession![xxii]
Some Practical Tips (not exhaustive):
Be spiritually prepared
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Take drinking water
- Pray as a team before you go
- Listen to the Spirit’s prompting
- Look to see what to pray about
- Use scripture in your prayer
- Be pleasant to those you meet
- Start and finish on time
- Pray as a team at the end[xxiii]
[i]1 Thess. 5:17
[ii] Eph. 6:18
[iii] Prayer Walking. Dan R. Crawford and Calvin Miller.AMG publishers. 2002 pg 5
[iv] Prayer Walking. Dan R. Crawford and Calvin Miller.AMG publishers. 2002 pg 4
[v] Jer. 33:3
[vi] John 15:16
[vii] Prayer Walking. Dan R. Crawford and Calvin Miller.AMG publishers. 2002 pg 8
[viii] Matt. 8:5-13
[ix] Matt. 9:20-22
[x] John 11:1-44
[xi] Prayer Walking. Dan R. Crawford and Calvin Miller.AMG publishers. 2002 pg 13
[xii] Prayer Walking. Dan R. Crawford and Calvin Miller.AMG publishers. 2002 pg 13-18
[xiii] Matt. 18:19-20
[xiv] Matt. 12:24
[xv] Prayer Walking. Dan R. Crawford and Calvin Miller.AMG publishers. 2002 pg 26
[xvi] 2 Cor. 10:3-5
[xvii] James 4:7
[xviii] Eph. 6:10-20
[xix] John 3:16
[xx] Psalm 108:5
[xxi] Prayer Walking. Dan R. Crawford and Calvin Miller.AMG publishers. 2002 pg 29,30.
[xxii] Prayer Walking. Dan R. Crawford and Calvin Miller.AMG publishers. 2002 pg 32.
[xxiii] John Davise, Reading the Everyday, Third Way October 2006 pg 13,15. Prayer Walking. Dan R. Crawford and Calvin Miller.AMG publishers. 2002 pg 32. Simon Carey Holt, God next door:spirituality and mission in the neighbourhood. Brunswick:Acorn Press, 2007 pg 103,104