Maybe prayer comes easily and naturally for you, but for this pastor, it does not. I’m embarrassed to admit that prayer is not the priority in my life that it needs to be. It takes a lot of effort – with great intention – for me to commit to prayer. I simply can’t sit in my office by myself, bow my head, fold my hands, close my eyes and pray for an hour. I’ve tried. And I just can’t.
But prayer is essential. Absolutely essential. As a pastor it has to be the top priority for me – and most of the time, it is not…but I am growing. I constantly have to ask myself questions like:
But I’ve realized I pray best in four ways: (a) spontaneously as people and situations come to mind (b) with other people (c) journalling and (d) prayerwalking.
It’s the last one – prayerwalking – that is becoming a greater priority and important experience for me to remain intimately connected to Jesus. It’s fairly new for me. I bet for most people reading this, the first three areas are ways you might have experienced prayer before, but might have had little opportunity to participate in prayerwalking.
The ancient rabbis said that you pray with your feet. And they meant that quite literally. Praying as you walk. It’s active. Experiential. Tactile. Physical. So I’ve started to do it regularly (and recently posted my thoughts/prayers from an experience).
I’m not an expert, but I have enjoyed making this a regular rhythm in my week. I was challenged to do this by a friend who is a church planter on the Upper West Side in New York City. Instead of taking the 12 minute subway ride from his apartment to his office) he walks – rain or shine – to his office (1 hour each way) every day. But he doesn’t walk; he prayerwalks. I was floored when I realized that he prays for his city for two hours.
I’m lucky if I can prayer walk a few times a week! It was his challenge that prompted me to participate in this and make this a regular part of my schedule. I’m so glad he did.
How do you do it? people ask me regularly. Not to be overly simplistic – nor sarcastic – it involves two very simple things: praying and walking. So simple, the excuses not to do it are miniscule. Over the next several posts I’ll be writing more reflections and answering specific questions that have come up repeatedly when people ask me about prayerwalking.