“Prayer walking is a way of saturating a particular place and people with prayer, drawing us out of prayers that are limited to our immediate concerns and into a larger circle of God’s loving attention.”
Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
As we move into the summer season, we want to encourage you to take your prayers outside as we learn to walk and talk with Jesus on the road.
There are two simple movements of prayer that we can all have a go at.
One | INTERCESSION
We’ve been invited to embody the way of Jesus, who moved into the neighbourhood, incarnating Himself into real time and a real place. Each of us find ourselves situated in a locality surrounded by neighbours to be loved, cared for and prayed for.
One of the best ways to posture ourselves towards our local communities is to pray for them on the road, interceding on its behalf that God’s Kingdom would draw near to the area surrounding our homes.
This summer, take time to pray for the place where Jesus has placed you, walking the pavements and fields in your authority and contending in prayer.
Intercession as you walk is really simple and a great practice for you and your family to participate in.
Set out around your local neighbourhood and begin your walk with a simple prayer, like “Come, Holy Spirit”, to centre yourself, to mark this as something more than a dander and to open yourself up to what Jesus may say and do through your intercession.
Consider what catches your attention as you walk and bring your reflections to Jesus in conversational prayer. Ask Him simple questions like, “Jesus, what do you see and what do you say?”
Use homes, buildings, schools, business, fields and nature as prompts for your prayers. Take a moment at the position of your prompts and pray for God’s Kingdom to come in that place. Pray for people and organisations by name.
As you set out on your prayer walk, you may bump into people on the road. As you strike up conversations, consider taking a risk and ask them if you can pray for them right there and then – socially distanced of course!
Notice what Jesus has revealed to you, what you feel around certain spaces and consider how you can respond through your actions and ongoing prayer.
Two | REFLECTION
There is a lot to process right now and there is no better time for us to have a go at a way of praying known as the Examen – a way of opening ourselves up to God as He lovingly helps us see ourselves more clearly.
The Prayer of Examen is a simple rhythm of reflective prayer through which we replay the events of our day, noticing how God has been with us and the moments where we didn’t respond to His presence-reality. This ancient prayer practice is experienced best in solitude and many find walking to quiet spaces a helpful way to engage and could be a helpful practice for summer evenings.
As you get used to this practice, try it out for 10 minutes, focusing on the individual steps in turn. Yet very quickly you will get used to the rhythm of the Examen, as its movements it will flow naturally. The time you give to this way of praying can be extended for much longer if necessary.
Begin your walk and time of reflection by praying a simple prayer that opens you up to hear from Jesus. The key to the Examen, is that it is practiced in the context of a loving, intimate friendship with Jesus. This is not a self-help, or self-condemning tool but a means of grace and growth.
Think through the events of your day, or the time since your previous moment of reflection. What took place as you replay evens in your mind? How did you feel? What emotions do you notice? In which moments did you recognise God’s presence?
Take time to worship Jesus, thanking Him for how He revealed His goodness in both obvious and the unseen. What are you grateful for?
Bring to mind how you may have wronged God in thought, word and deed, by what you have done and left undone. Consider the moments where you have not loved God with your whole heart and settled for lesser loves; or the moments when you have neglected others. Say sorry to your loving Father as you confess and move towards repentance as you receive His boundless forgiveness and choose to live in the direction of His Kingdom.
Close your time of reflection by prayerfully committing to live the Christ life, in the Christ way as you look to the future. Ask that you may become more aware of God’s presence in every moment of your day.
Acknowledgments and Further Reading:
Sacred Rhythms – Ruth Haley Barton
24/7 Prayer Course Toolshed