I first learned about the idea of prayer walking while being trained to begin a new church. Prayer walking is the simple act of a group of people meeting at an arranged time to walk the streets of their community to pray for the needs of people in the community, to pray for the Gospel to take root in that community, and to pray for ground to be softened.
In no particular order, here are five good reasons to conduct a prayer walk. There are undoubtedly more.
- Conducting a prayer walk acknowledges that no matter how great our worship, no matter how clever our programs, no matter how well designed our strategies, Jesus Christ is the one who transforms a community and grows his church. Matthew 16:18 Whether one is beginning a new church or seeking to revitalize an existing church the power of renewal and revival flows from the head of the church, Jesus Christ. Apart from him we can do nothing. John 15:5 When we walk our communities in prayer we admit that our work is ultimately Christ’s work.
- Conducting a prayer walk raises awareness for people in your church. As people come to pray for the prayer walk they see neighborhoods they may have never seen before. They see homes up front and personal. They realize how many people actually live in the community. I always would point out that if we just reached 1% of the community that would be huge. I would also point out if all these people came to church on one Sunday there would no be enough seats to hold them in all of the churches in the community- we are not in competition with other churches.
- A prayer walk can function as a witness to the community. As persons walk they may be asked by someone in the neighborhood “What are you all doing?” and those prayer walking can say they are praying for the community and might even ask if they have any prayer needs. While it has never happened during a prayer walk I have been involved, I have heard of the police being called because of the weird people walking around the neighborhood mumbling to themselves. I think that is great and I hope when the police came they offered to pray for the officer.
- A prayer walk pleases God. I think any time you ask God’s intervention in a matter instead of asking God’s blessing after the fact you please God.
- A prayer walk softens the ground. As the church seeks to reach people for Christ and transform communities it faces both natural and supernatural forces working against her. Prayer walking softens the ground for the seed of the Gospel to be planted and come to harvest. After coming down the mountain after the Transfiguration and having to deal with a boy with a demon that his followers could not cast out, Jesus said this kind can only be cast out with prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:21 Some communities are so hard and have such strongholds that they can only be reached and transformed with much prayer and fasting.
Are there other reasons you can think of for conducting a prayer walk?