Praying on location

On Sunday we began looking at praying like a child, and ended with a thought – what if we could increase the fervency and authenticity of our prayers?  What if we prayed on location for people? This praying on location has a name – it’s called prayer walking. And while we don’t see prayer walking specifically named in the Bible, we certainly see many examples of it being lived out. Abraham interceded for Sodom as he was walking toward the evil city with three men who had just paid him an important visit. Jesus emotionally prayed for Jerusalem and her people as he rode into town on a young donkey. And in his last moments on the cross, we hear Jesus praying on location for the criminal who hung beside him.

So what exactly is prayer walking? One author said prayer walking is intercession on location with information in cooperation against opposition for glorification. [1] Let’s briefly break down each part of that long definition.

Prayer walking is intercession – prayers of intercession are offered to God, in the authority of Jesus. Prayer walking is done in accordance with God’s agenda, not our own. As one author wrote, “As you walk and pray you will be a person of secret influence, interceding to the Father in the Name of the Son, with the Holy Spirit to the One who works where no man can work, who accomplishes tasks beyond man’s ability to accomplish, and who gains glory where man sees no glory. God will respond to your intercessions, not because He has to, but because He has chosen to do so.”

Prayer walking is intercession on location – certainly you can stay at home and pray, but prayer walking is about bringing the light of Jesus that resides in you to places that are dark and needing light. It is about going places where perhaps the love of Christ has never been, and praying for people for whom no one has ever prayed. By being “there” and praying “there”, the location and people become real.  Forever after, you will think differently about that neighborhood, business or street.  And forever after, you will pray with greater fervency and authenticity for that place.

And some us, while we’re praying for others, with the best of intentions, tend to be unfocused, don’t we? Our minds wander to something that needs to be added to our shopping list, or that pile of clothes heaped in the corner of our room, or even the smells coming from the kitchen. But prayer walking is also about praying while seeing, hearing, feeling & touching. As you prayer walk, those things that potentially distract you, can inform and become part of your prayers.

And that brings us to the next part of the definition – prayer walking is intercession, on location, with information. As you prayer walk, you may notice children’s toys or a wheelchair ramp and pray accordingly. A “For Sale” sign in a front yard may trigger prayers for a quick sale with fair price, and raised voices overheard from the sidewalk may encourage prayers of peace. Prayer walkers waiting at a traffic light in a crowded city, prayed with the changing of the lights that nonbelievers would exercise caution in their decisions, stop their sinful ways and go toward Jesus. Seeing a welder at work, one began to sing, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going…” and prayed for that spark.

Prayer walking is intercession on location with information in cooperation….Matthew 18:19-20 speaks of several cooperating in prayer. “Jesus said when two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” Another version says, “if two of you agree”.  The original greek word for agree is sumphoneo which sounds a lot like our modern word – symphony. The word sumphoneo is used for musical instruments that harmonize with one another even though they don’t play the same notes. So prayer walking is done in teams of two or three, praying in concert.

Prayer walking is intercession on location with information in cooperation against opposition. We have a very real enemy in the person of satan, and as we step outside the walls of the church, he will become extremely angry at our activities which will bring the light and love of Jesus to people. 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us, “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News.” And clearly he does not appreciate our attempts to enlighten and bring sight to the blind. So before leaving on a prayer walk, it’s really important to remember “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” Satan will try to discourage you, tell you your wasting your time, and potentially cause conflict amongst your group. But stand strong, “Submit to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.”

And finally, prayer walking is intercession on location with information in cooperation against opposition for glorification. As we go out, may we do so echoing the Psalmist, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let Your glory be over all the earth.” You have experienced how the love of God can change your life for the better. Or maybe you’re still trying to find out if His claims are meaningful or relevant to today. But we don’t want to just keep it to ourselves in here – we want to share it out there. Think of the impact of your neighborhood being prayed for, being interceded for. Do not worry about your effectiveness or skill, step out only in faith and obedience, and go forward, listening to what God says, “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted on the earth.” It is your obedience that brings glory to God. People will be blessed by your presence, and God will be exalted through your intercessions.

Tomorrow’s post will conclude with practical, nitty-gritty details about prayer walking.  Lace up those shoes and get ready to hit those (snow-covered) sidewalks!  (Or hey – whoever said you had to prayer walk outside….)


[1] Prayer Walk – An Orientation Guide: Part One by Dan R. Crawford