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Prayer Walking 101: Praying On Site With Insight

Prayer Walking 101: Praying On Site With Insight

Prayer walking is a fantastic way to get to know a place and fall in love with its people.

 

As Great Commission workers we are called to go and bring the Kingdom to the people and places we are sent to.

We can do that unwillingly, like Jonah, and God will still be able to do His work despite us. But when we have love for the people and places we’re going to, the fruit of God’s work will be greater within us and in the places we’re going.

It's really hard to love something you don't know anything about. And if we don’t know the people or the place we’re going to? How can we love them? 

Because a missionary is someone who is sent, who goes, often to a people or a place different than their own, this unknowing of the people and the place is often the case.

 

Prayer Walking is praying on site with insight.1

  1. Responsive Insight: What we see, smell, hear, touch and taste. What we take in with our senses. 

  2. Revealed Insight: What is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. The things we sense about a place.

  3. Researched Insight: What we can learn about a place and its people by researching, both current events and the history of the place.

As you’re gaining insights into the place, here are some things to look for that may help you find deeper understanding and love for your place.

  • What are the pains of the place? The things manifested in society because of rejection. Things like: domestic violence, depression, poverty, etc.
  • What are the problems of the place? The things caused by lack of engagement by the government or the church or civic community. Things like: high housing costs, lack of police, unemployment, lack of toilet access, etc.
  • Who are the peoples of this place? What nationalities are present (how long have they been here? why did they migrate here? what businesses are they involved in?)? What subgroups are here? Look especially at the groups of people who are beyond the reach of the local church.
  • What powers are at play in this place? The good and the not-so-good: the mayor, police captain, community organizers, religious leaders, school superintendents, etc.
  • What are the potentials of this place? What is the redemptive gift of this place for its people and for the world?

 

What's all happening during a Prayer Walk?

A lot of things are happening in us, in the spiritual, and in the community while we prayer walk.

  • We are learning from the place, taking in and letting it teach us. We are hearing God’s thoughts about the place and the people. And as we get to know it, a love for the place and its people will grow in our hearts.
  • Prayer also prepares the way for God to move and do His work in the place.
  • We are praying in the community for the community, praying in the places we are expecting answers. As we continue to prayer walk these places over time, we will see the transformation.

 

7 Super Practical Tips for Prayer Walking:2

  1. Walk don’t race
    Don’t drive or bike, walk, take your time and go slow enough to take things in. Our aim is not to walk down every street. It’s to get to know the place and talk to God about what we’re experiencing.
  2. Keep your eyes open
    Observe what’s going on around you. And make sure you don’t fall into a hole!
  3. Keep conversation with God and with one another
    We are talking to God together. Let what you are taking in and hearing from your partner and the Holy Spirit guide how you pray.
  4. Don’t yell
    It’s just a conversation with the person next to you and God (and both of them can hear you in a regular voice).
  5. Use all of your senses to observe what’s going on around you
    What languages do you hear? What do you smell? Feel? Taste? See? As you walk, look across the road to the opposite side of the street. It’s often easier to see what’s going on there than right next to you.
  6. Take mental pictures of the things that stand out to you
    This can help you notice patterns and themes of the place. Or as you are walking, you can pray for a person who was highlighted to you as you crossed paths.
  7. Stop and pray
    You don’t need to be constantly walking. Sit at a plaza, or on a bench, or step into a building. Take the side streets or back alleys. Explore the city and its people as you pray.

 


References:

1 Steve Hawthorne & Graham Kendrick. (1996). Prayer Walking: Praying On Site With Insight. Charisma House Publishing.

2 Tim Svoboda. (2021).  Engaging Your City with a Loving God. Session 6: Prayer Walking Practicals. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnlvqepha1c

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