The Power of Prayer Walking
Have you ever taken a stroll around your neighborhood and wondered how you can reach those who live around you for Christ? Do you desire to be more intentional in your relationships and in sharing Christ in your community? One way you can make a significant impact in the community around you is by prayer walking.
What is prayer walking? According to IMB missionary to Lisbon, Portugal, Jonathan Sharp, “Prayer walking is simply walking and praying with your eyes open to be able to see the needs around us and join in what God is doing.” Jay Reed, former IMB missionary to the Middle East, says that prayer walking is “praying on-site with insight.” It is just as it sounds – praying while walking. It can be spontaneous or it can be planned. You can do it alone, with a partner, or in groups.
Jonathan says he often goes prayer walking with his wife, Bethany, and his two daughters. He also goes with Portuguese partners and that people who participate in their evangelism training go out in pairs to prayer walk. “We focus on areas where we are doing church planting or are trying to start some outreach groups. We train people to go out into the neighborhoods where they live and work,” he says.
Why prayer walking? What is its purpose? Jay says about his prayer walking experiences overseas: “I absolutely believe that prayer is effective from any place in the world - prayer walking on site is certainly not required. But for inexplicable reasons, we seemed to obtain a lot of insight into what God was doing or wanted to do in certain places when we prayed this way. Often the sites for prayer are places where mission work is going on, or perhaps where there has been some resistance - basically any physical place (be it a government ministry building or an entire city/village) where prayer needs to be focused.” Jay also says that prayer walking helped participants get a feel for the spiritual needs of the area they were focused on. “It helped us introduce them to some of the spiritual battles going on at the time,” he says.
Jonathan gives these reasons for why they prayer walk: “We prayer walk to be able to better see what is going on in our community and to see clues of where God is at work and where we can join Him. We are motivated by the needs around us. We know that most of the people we see are not believers. We want to know what is important to them and what their needs are, as well as to pray for their homes and their families.”
Through their experiences with prayer walking, both Jay and Jonathan have seen God at work. Jay says that while they were in the Middle East, groups from another country would come specifically to prayer walk. He says, “They would sometimes connect with us, but often they would come on their own, travel on their own, then report back to us later with what they had gleaned. The insight they received, the things God spoke to them, were amazing. I think it was because they were completely open to what He might say - they knew the power of prayer.” God works through the prayers of His people. Prayer walking is one way to not only focus prayers on a specific area or community, but also to listen and hear what God has to say about that place. Sometimes we just need to intentionally tune our ears to hear what He has to say and what He wants us to do.
Jonathan says this about how he’s seen God work through prayer walking: “We’ve seen people begin prayer walking and get motivated to engage their community and get to know their neighbors. We’ve seen people go out on prayer walks and meet people who join Bible discovery groups with them. We’ve seen doors open to have greater access in the community and find people who introduce us to others. We’ve also developed a deeper love for our community and a greater sense of urgency to reach the lost.”
Does prayer walking interest you, but you’re not sure how to start? Start by listening to what God is telling you about where to prayer walk. Jay gives this advice: “Simply be open to hear God. In my experience that’s where the real value came - not in telling God, ‘This is what we want to do here,’ but asking, ‘What are You doing here now, and how do You want us to connect?’” Prayer walking is a great way to not only pray for those around us, but to reach out to them. Prayer walking opens doors to relationships that weren’t there before. As Jay and Jonathan have both given testimony to, it is a powerful tool for reaching those around us for Christ.
On Sunday afternoon, August 6th, FBC will be holding a prayer walking event. We will be prayer walking in neighborhoods and also hanging door hangers on front doors. The door hangers will advertise for the new third worship service. Each community group is encouraged to join us to help reach as many people in Starkville as we can. As we walk, we will pray for each home before we hang the door hanger. We will ask God to help that home come to know Him if they do not already. For more information, contact Jason Duran at firstname.lastname@example.org.