“Prayerwalking” is exactly what the word says: intentionally praying while I walk, particularly in neighborhoods. This approach to prayer caught fire several years ago, but my sense is the fire has more recently died out – maybe because prayerwalking was connected with spiritual warfare proponents whose theology and activities were sometimes questioned. Recognizing these concerns, I still think prayerwalking matters. Here’s why:
- Prayerwalking requires church members to get outside the walls of the church. Far too many churches are so inwardly focused they think about only the people inside their building. It’s tough to reach non-believers if they’re never on your mind.
- Prayerwalking helps believers see non-believers in a different way. Most of us pass many non-believers as we go to church every weekend without ever considering their spiritual condition. Prayerwalking requires us to look at people with God’s eyes, seeing them as sheep without a shepherd (Matt 9:36).
- Prayerwalking leads people to pray in a focused way. Many believers struggle with prayer because they haven’t been taught how to pray. They don’t know how to start, how to stay focused, or how to end. Good prayerwalking training helps address these issues, at least in praying for people we see.
- We can do prayerwalking almost anywhere. Believers can walk through their neighborhoods. Students can walk through their schools. Employees can walk through their place of employment. Church members can walk through communities, focusing on places like other churches, government buildings, schools, or places of sin.
- Prayerwalking helps us see things we’ve missed before. Maybe we didn’t see that sign about the mosque to be built on the next street. Perhaps we didn’t read that church flyer about a divorce recovery conference or that “for sale” sign about a home foreclosure. Maybe we saw, but ignored, that homeless shelter, that local bar, or that gang hangout. Every one of these “sightings” should drive us to prayer.
- Entire families can do prayerwalking. With families so often separated in church activities, we need ministries that families can do together. Preschoolers as well as senior adults can prayerwalk; in fact, I’ve heard preschoolers and children pray passionately for other kids they see as they walk.
- Families sometimes meet neighbors for the first time during prayerwalking. Life is so busy that we often don’t take time to know the people who live around us. Prayerwalking requires us to slow down and look around – and perhaps talk with somebody who needs to know Jesus.
- We might pray for someone for whom nobody else is praying. Even in North America, there are people for whom no one is praying – and in some cases, for whom no one has ever prayed. We may, in fact, be the first person ever to intercede for somebody. That’s a powerful thought.
- Somebody might follow Jesus as a result of prayerwalking. As we see others and pray for them, we might get to know them. A friendship then becomes an open door to share the gospel. And, the gospel is still the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16).
If you’re interested in prayerwalking, here are some resources: