This article was originally published in Edition (6) of Prayer Magazine,  Apr-Jun 2006.

Prayer Walking has been part of our Christian Heritage for many centuries.  The British Countryside has many long distance paths that were used centuries ago by monks and other travellers, moving from one cathedral city to another.  Prayer walking today still has the power to take our prayer out into the territory around us.  Just as many British churches had an ancient tradition of ‘beating the bounds’, during which they would lay claim to their parish for God, so too prayer walking today can claim territory for Christ.

The Bible links walking with God’s promises on several occasions; Noah is described as ‘walking with God’ (Gen. 6:9), Abraham was told to ‘Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you’ (Gen. 13:17).  Joshua was told, ‘I will give every place where you set your foot as I promised Moese’ (Josh. 1.3).  The prophet Micah declared, ‘All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever’ (Mich 4:5)

Prayer Walking can be used to describe any outdoor prayer which links to the geographic location in which the prayer is prayed.  Or as it is sometimes put, ‘praying on-site with insight’.

Prayer walking allows us to soak a particular part of our neighbourhood with prayer, focusing on a few streets at a particular point in time.  This is different from prayer wandering, where we free ourselves from distractions to enable us to communicate with God more clearly.  In prayer walking, we seek to bring before God the needs of a locality in intercession.

It is best done by one or more small teams, although it can also be done by individuals.  Your prayer can cover a range of areas.

  • Prayer for ever person and household to come to faith.  Pray specifically for those known by name to members of the group.  Pray more generally for those none of you know.
     
  • Prayer for the community and the values that they hold.  Pray for the care and compassion that exists within the community, one member for another.
     
  • Prayer for the witness of the church in the locality.  Pray for how the church is perceived, for its work and its outreach.  Bring before God Christians who are known to be living in the area.
     
  • Prayer for other speific needs as you feel led.  You may be prompted by seeing particular buildings or by observing people or things that happen around you.

Keep prayer walking low profile and natural – just a few friends walking together through a neighbourhood.  As you walk, also be open to what God may prompt you with.  Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal things to you as he guides your steps and your prayers.  Try to pray with purpose, but with excitement and a sense of working in collaboration with God.

Sometimes, you may feel that prayer walking is hard work.  Satan seeks to oppose those who will bring prayer into the streets.  Don’t be afraid of this – in God we have the victory.  Remember, as Jehosophat did, the battle is not ours but the Lord’s (2 Chr. 20:15).  You may find it helpful to remember the armour that God provides – five defensive pieces, plus the word of God (Eph. 6:14-17).

Twelve tips for Prayer Walking.

  • Get yourself right with God.  Joshua told God’s people as they were about to cross into the promised land, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you’ (Josh, 3:5)
  • Research the area – try to find out as much as you can about the area you will be prayer walking – how many church members it has, what kinds of activities go on in the area, etc.
  • When you meet, start with prayer.
  • Walk in teams of two or three.  (possibly four, but that is the maximum).
  • As you walk and pray, pray with your eyes open so you can see what is happening around you.
  • Use scripture in prayer.  Hebrews 4:12: ‘For the word of God is living and active’.
  • Don’t be afraid and be silent for as time as you pray.
  • When you meet people, smile and be open.  If you engage with people, be willing to admit what you are doing.
  • Keep your prayers simple but focussed and specific.
  • Pray again as a team at the end of your walk.
  • Spend at least a moment or two reviewing your prayer walk.  What do you feel was most significant about it ?
  • Keep a prayer notebook and make entries the same day as your do the prayer walk.

Prayer walking need not take long – between half an hour and an hour is plenty of time to walk around a small area.  Done regularly, you can soon build up the area you cover.

Current plans in Derbyshire

God has used Greg Hall to bring together a large local team made up from many denominations who are planning to walk across their county of Derbyshire during Prayer Week

He has been moved by God to instigate a Prayer walk through their, firstly North to South starting on the Yorkshire/Derbyshire border north of Glossop on Sunday 7th May ending in Swadlincote on the Derbyshire/Leicestershire border on Sunday 14th May.

Greg says, “We have a number of towns on board promising to set up prayer events as we pass through: Prayer events will be planned in towns where we come to, over-night. This is in order to serve local vision and to come in under, and as an encouragement to local leadership.”

The overall purpose to stimulate and encourage a wave of prayer and mission throughout the county, as well as all of the normal aspects of prayer-walking. There will of course be a lot of localized issues for prayer as we go along.

A working group has been formed to steer this, which we are simply calling "Derbyshire Prayer Walk 2006". At present that comprises 5 of us who are prayer leaders from the county: Two from the Derby Prayer Shield, an Elim pastor who coordinates prayer in the Erewash Valley, which is the area on the border with Nottinghamshire, the Lydia leader for this region, and Greg.

Greg said ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could link to any other county walks in the area. If there was a walk in South Yorkshire that we could have a common start with them going North and us South’.

God moves others to do the same:

As the team in Derbyshire were working on plans for their walk, they were contacted by John & Yvonne Pressdee from Orpington in Kent. (Many people will remember John & Yvonne for their development of March for Jesus and their numerous prayer walks not only in the UK, but across large part of Europe covering over 10,000 miles in the process)

The Kent County Prayer Walk will be part of this initiative and what they are planning, is to have teams of people who will meet at various points on the Kent County boundary, or the coast, who will then walk and pray into the centre, either Charing, which is probably the geographical centre or Maidstone, which is, the county town. They are then talking with a large church there about having a Prayer Celebration on Saturday May 13. How this is done, will depend on each group. All ages can get involved in different ways. If you have a heart for your area and your nation, then join us. You do not have to be an accomplished walker or pray-er. John and Yvonne will make themselves available to advise and help train.

If you would like more information as to how to organise a prayer walk, contact Yvonne.pressdee@ntlworld.com

The prayer walk teaching information at the start of this article is derived from ‘Unwrapping the Gift’ and used with kind permission from John Preston, The Teal Trust.

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