A church of my childhood hosted a VBS and advertised in the community. The handout consisted of a white cardboard church building with times and dates and a plastic strip attached to the paper. When I dragged my thumbnail across the strip, it emitted a high-pitched sound saying the name of our church -- a gimmick from the 1960s.
Junior high students enjoyed going door-to-door and giving those out as we invited neighbors to summer Bible classes. I don’t know if the squeaky speaking strip fascinated potential visitors or just the young teenagers. Another way to reach a community about the good news of Jesus Christ is the humble acts of prayer walking.
Prayer walking may be new to some Christians. It’s not a gimmick. We’ve probably all done it at one time or another whether we labeled it as such or not: walking a hospital hall -- praying. Walking in your home -- praying. Riding in a car – praying.
However, planned prayer walking is an effort in proximity. Navpress PrayKids newsletter describes prayer walking as “getting nearer to pray clearer.” On-site praying exercises selfless prayer. Walk a basketball court in your neighborhood, praying for the players. Walk the perimeter of your workplace, inviting God’s presence. Walk near a county jail and pray for inmates. Skilled nursing centers, the courthouse, or police and fire departments—give thanks for medical professionals and public servants. Pray for calm in their lives and recipients.
God can hear requests for Bulgaria from a New York apartment, so prayer walking is not for God’s benefit. We don’t have to stand in an exact place to ask God’s grace. The walking and praying benefits both the pray-er and the prayed-for.
A forward-thinking scripture to pray is that people will recognize Jesus and that the time will soon arrive when “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).
At the unemployment office, pray for those out of work. Pray at a military base or anytime you see the familiar camouflage fatigues of troops in airports or malls. At a movie theater, pray for godly entertainment. Find the highpoint in a city and pray for Christians to light the community. Walking through your day, watch for countenances that seem stricken with worry, bless the bearers with a silent prayer. At a senior citizen center, pray for the elderly.
In the movie “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” widower Jacob Whiting placed an ad in a newspaper, for a wife and mother: “someone who will make a difference.” Every person on earth could benefit from “someone who will make a difference.”
Pray near church campuses in your community asking for unity. At popular night spots, pray for the singles in the city. At tax offices pray for wise use of taxpayers’ funds. As you walk the street past your neighbors, pray for peace in their families.
When a person or group prayer-walks, the act is not an attention-grabbing public spectacle. It’s a private stroll, a practice in humility, much like the setting of the Garden of Eden when God met and talked with Adam and Eve in “the cool of the evening.” Prayer says, “I can’t do enough, be enough, or earn enough to make things better in this world, Lord. I need your supernatural help.”
This week, wherever you walk—business, pleasure, or errands—notice your surroundings and in humility pray for your “neighbors.”
Hunger for Humility (16): “The Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless” (Psalm 84:11).
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