If you feel stuck in your prayer life, I wanted to share an idea with you that can hopefully help get you moving (literally and figuratively).
It’s not a particularly new concept but I hope to shed some light that may make the simple practice of prayer walking a powerful weapon in your prayer arsenal.
I first started prayer walking when I was pregnant with Vivi. It was right after I had created the prayer journals and felt better equipped in knowing the things I was praying for. Morning walks were so important to keep me limber and pain-free that I was committed to waking up way earlier than I ever had before the Louisiana summer heat got unbearable. I would walk around the lake at our apartment and pray for my goals in that season. The first lap I’d pray for my pregnancy and Vivi. The second lap would be for my marriage. The third lap for Val Marie Paper and the fourth lap for the remaining goals I had in that season.
It was a really special season of committing to praying for something over and over again.
We hear from our audience often about the fear of getting repetitious in our prayers but repetition isn’t something to fear! Matthew 6:7 refers to “vain repetition” and I think scares us a bit when it comes to praying the same thing but this is referring to mindless repetition.
Praying something over and over again is something we’re called to do in Luke 18:1. It reveals our faith in the Lord to work even when we don’t see an immediate result.
(Note: I went deeper into the science behind this in the webinar we recently did” Where Prayer Meets Science”. If you missed it, I’ll be teaching the live class again a little later this fall. Sign up here to make sure you get details before it happens!)
The greatest example of walking we see in the Bible is when the Israelites walked around Jericho. I’ve included the whole passage because I want to share something really key and honestly cool about this whole prayer walking thing. Feel free to read in your own Bible if you have it handy!
Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”
So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.” And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord.”
When Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets before the Lord went forward, blowing their trumpets, and the ark of the Lord’s covenant followed them. The armed guard marched ahead of the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard followed the ark. All this time the trumpets were sounding. But Joshua had commanded the army, “Do not give a war cry, do not raise your voices, do not say a word until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” So he had the ark of the Lord carried around the city, circling it once. Then the army returned to camp and spent the night there.
Joshua got up early the next morning and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the Lord and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them and the rear guard followed the ark of the Lord, while the trumpets kept sounding. So on the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.
On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city! The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.”
When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.
Did you notice it? There’s no actual mention of prayer. I tend to believe their walking in silence included plenty of prayer. Maybe some were fearful prayers of “Lord can you really do this? Please do this!” or confident prayers of “You are mighty to save and with a word you can knock down these walls. I praise you for the victory to come.” I also think the shout they eventually made was an offering or word to the Lord.
But honestly, that’s not the biggest takeaway for me. What I notice is that walking was a step of obedience. Every step they took was a step of faith and trust that God is who says he is. God told them to walk. And guess what? They obeyed and walked.
I think the biggest power behind this simple practice is to see it as a physical reminder of our decision to obey.
The literal step of our shoes hitting the pavement or the trail can signal to us that we’ve already decided that God is worthy of our obedience and that we are not praying for a second opinion or as a last resort but because we know God is powerful enough to work in our lives.
That literal step is a sign that we are ready to follow where God leads us. That as we pray for a multitude of things, some answers God will give may require a step out of our comfort zone, some may require a surrendering of dreams and some may look totally different than we think they should be, but the truth remains. We trust God to work.
That’s pretty huge, no?
If all this talk is making you think you’d like to try this in your own life, here are 4 more motivators (the first being the above about obedience!) to try prayer walking.
2. Nature can point us to God.
Witnessing a beautiful sunrise, noticing how the clouds move and how God created each sky can reveal the very nature of the powerful God we are blessed to get to pray to.
3. Our pace can keep us steady and help us focus.
The rhythm of our feet keeps our brain moving. It’s easier for me to jump back into prayer if I get distracted when my feet are moving.
4. Our surroundings can inspire creative prayers.
As I walk around my neighborhood, I’ll pray for the people there. Sometimes it’s general things, that the people in our area would find sweet community, for protection and for joyful hearts (has anyone been apart of a neighborhood Facebook group?).
We do live in a tight-knit community so I do know most of the families and can pray for specific needs:
- The woman who lost her husband a few months ago to cancer.
- The family about to have a baby.
- The couple going through a divorce.
5. Our brains think differently as we walk.
Some of the greatest minds in history knew the power of a good walk. When we step away from our table or chair or work desk, we problem-solve differently. It’s why some of our best ideas come in the shower or… during a walk. Imagine not just taking a walk to get the creative juices flowing but to align your heart with the Lord.
If you’re ready to hit the ground… walking 😉 we’ve created a little tool to help you get started. Save this insta-story graphic to plan out and share what your prayer walk looks like.