Guide to prayer-walking
What is prayer-walking? It’s “praying on-site with insight.”
The purpose of prayer-walking is to seek God’s guidance, mercy, and transforming power—both for the community and for ourselves as God’s servants in the community. Prayer-walking helps us become more aware of what we see while we walk and pray. It is connecting prayer-walking with observation.
Steps for Prayer-Walking
· Meet at an assigned time and start with group prayer.
· Walk in groups of two or three. Plan your routes ahead of time to cover as much of the area as possible.
· Pray aloud in a quiet conversational voice if you feel comfortable doing so. Or pray silently, letting your prayer partner(s) know what you are praying about. Don't call attention to yourselves.
· If anyone asks what you are doing, be prepared to respond, "We're praying God's blessing on this neighborhood. Is there anything we can ask God to help you with?"
· Although it is not the primary purpose of prayer-walking, be open to opportunities that may grow out of your experience that will allow you to interact with and bless people.
· Plan to walk for about half an hour. If anyone in your group is not comfortable with walking, he or she can prayer-drive around the neighborhood instead.
· Afterward, gather to share your prayers, observations, and experiences. What did you learn about the neighborhood? How was God manifest in this experience?
· Encourage people to continue praying for the community during the week.
How do you pray?
·Pray for discernment – Try to see the neighborhood through Christ's "lens" and discern what God is already doing there. Ask God to show you how you can pray with greater insight for the people, events, and places in the neighborhood.
· Pray for opportunities for the Gospel – Pray that the Good News be communicated clearly and powerfully to each person who has not yet taken the step of trusting Jesus Christ as his or her Savior.
· Pray for blessing – Pray over every person, home, and business you encounter; for God's intervention in each life, and for God's will to be done in the neighborhood "as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10).
· Pray with empathy - See and feel what residents live with every day; offer intercession for those things that express brokenness and grieve God's spirit, and give thanks to God for the blessings and gifts that exist in the neighborhood.
· Pray from Scripture - Prayers based directly on God's Word can be especially powerful. You may want to bring a small Bible with key passages highlighted or copy verses onto note cards. Here are a few suggestions: Psalm 25:4-11, Jeremiah 29:11-14, Colossians 1:9:14, I Timothy 2:1-6, Ephesians 1:16-21.
· Pray in God's power - Allow times of silence for the Spirit to speak to you or through you (Romans 8:26). Pray with trust and eager anticipation, while expecting God to answer your prayers!
As you pray for specific homes or work sites in view, you'll find that hope for those people begins to grow. You'll begin to see people as God might view them. You'll likely find yourself becoming more interested in the welfare of the people you are praying for. Watch for the ways God impresses upon you to display His love in practical acts of kindness.
After your Prayer Walk
Take time as a group to compare notes and reflect on your observations. Discuss the following:
· What are some signs that show God is already at work in the neighborhood?
· What needs and concerns are evident?
· What do you see that might detract from people's quality of life?
· What challenges are people likely to face as they go about their daily lives?
· How is the Good News of salvation through Christ relevant here?
Close with a time of prayer for the neighborhood and for your witness and service there.
Adapted from Community Study Guide: Understand Your Church's Context for Ministry by Heidi Unruh (2007).