Finding God on prayerwalks is a fun, rewarding, and inspirational prayer experience. Prayerwalking is the practice of praying “onsite with insight,” as author Steve Hawthorne writes, but there are a couple different approaches.
Some people practice prayerwalking as a regular devotional practice–as a form of spiritual exercise, praying as they walk for whatever God puts within their path and eyesight. Some view this as a form of ministry for their neighborhood and community, and individuals can prayerwalk by themselves or with others with similar heart and focus.
Others organize event-centered prayerwalks for a variety of purposes and settings, including the following:
- Ladies’ retreats–as a optional early morning or afternoon activity
- Community prayerwalks–with churches joining together to pray for an entire community
- Neighborhood prayerwalks–centered around a church or residential area, focused on prayers for families and children
- City center prayerwalks–targeted to pray for the economy and well-being of a city
- School-focused prayerwalk–praying around the various schools and even colleges of a community
It’s not difficult to organize a prayerwalk. Here is a simple process for organizing such an event:
1. Pray: Ask God for a scriptural vision for your prayerwalk. I recently organized one around the schools near our church in Reno, Nevada, including the University of Nevada and the local community college. We chose Isaiah 2:3 as our inspiration: “He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” We liked how the verse addressed the concept of teachability–both for the school and for those who participated in the prayerwalk. I even ordered a banner with the scripture theme, so as to make our focus clear for the walk.
2. Define the purpose: Decide on the purpose, tone, and scope for your prayerwalk. The purpose could be as simple as “to draw women more closely together in prayer” if the event is a retreat.
3. Set up a committee: Enlist the help of others, who will take responsibility for publicity, mapping, opening and closing sessions, set-up and clean-up, written materials, and prayer.
4. Establish a date and place: Also set up a timeline for getting prep work done.
5. Map route(s): Use your car odometer to measure the distance for your prayerwalking route(s). Create maps for the walkers.
6. Create a program: Decide if you’ll need a written program and what kinds of refreshments, including water, you may want to offer. You’ll want an opening session for inspiration and information–perhaps some music and an emcee and/or speaker who will provide the focus and instruction about how to prayerwalk. A closing session is a great opportunity for people to celebrate their experiences praying and insights they received.
7. Promote: Depending on the scope of your prayerwalk, educate and recruit through posters, flyers, email, website, online social networking, and the media.
8. Pray some more: Recruit prayer groups and others to pray for your event, so that God is at the center of all your planning and the event itself.
9. Evaluate: Take notes and solicit feedback, so as to make your next prayerwalk even better!
Ultimately, your act of praying in response to whatever you see as you walk around your community allows you to put those concerns into God’s hands. Partnering with him and each other in prayer draws us more closely together and more deeply in love with God. Finding God on Prayerwalks is a meaningful exercise that reaps physical and spiritual benefits–on earth and beyond!
Enjoy this video on how NOT to prayerwalk.