Connect with your community through PrayerWalking

By Ken Willard

For many years now I have included a PrayerWalking activity when facilitating a Visioning or Strategic Ministry Planning workshop with a church. Each time I’ve done this with a church it has been a very powerful experience. I’d like to share a few key pieces with you today and encourage you to give it a try in your church.

The goal of PrayerWalking is to get everyone in the church (prayer team, staff, leaders, members, attenders) out into the local neighborhood to encounter God’s Spirit and to pray over what God shows us.

PrayerWalking: Praying “on-site with insight.” Taking prayers outside the church walls as we walk through an area. Praying in the very places we expect to see God bring forth His answers. Usually low profile and unobtrusive in appearance.

Global Missions Glossary February 20, 2008

Many of the people who attend a church do not live in the neighborhood. Nothing wrong with that, but we tend to be at least a little disconnected to an area if we only drive through it to get to our destination. PrayerWalking is intended to at least begin with the block where the church building sit and then slowly move outward from there.

Here are a few of the instructions / best practices / key points that I usually share with a church before we hit the streets:

  1. Most people in all communities today do not attend a church very often, if at all. The fastest growing religious affiliation today is “none” – we need to pray for the lost. [Luke 15:4]
  2. When we think of a posture for prayer, we tend to think of head down, eyes closed, hands folded. It is okay to pray as you walk with your eyes open.
  3. Walking a community is usually better than driving. We need to be at a slow pace in order to best hear from God and see what the Holy Spirit wants to show us.
  4. It is best to go out individually or in pairs. (people should feel safe of course) Do not draw attention to yourself. No one who see you should be able to tell what we are doing. [click HERE for a good video of what NOT to do – Thanks to The River Church]
  5. Explain the Power of Prayer – people will feel our prayers. Even if they are not able to identify what it is they are feeling.
    • The Holy Spirit will move people’s hearts.
    • Some of the people we pray for will go to a church next weekend…but it may not be our church. That is okay.
  6. Encourage people to go a little deeper with their prayers. For example, if a mail truck drives by—pray for the mail carrier. But also say a prayer for those who receive that mail. There may be bills that cannot be paid or bad news of some type. If you see children playing—pray over them. Then also pray for their parents, their teachers, the homes they live in to be a safe and secure place to learn and grow. You get the idea.
  7. Get a map of the area around your church and use pins or color markers to indicate homes, schools, business, public services, etc…where you have PrayerWalked. This can be a great visual for people to see as your congregation gets out into the neighborhood.
  8. Give people an opportunity to share after they PrayerWalk. This debrief is very important. Ask them what God showed them. Then listen. I guarantee you will hear some great stories and chances are you will begin to discern a trend. This can be the start of a new vision for your ministry.

“In hundreds of cities across the globe, ordinary believers are prayer-walking through the streets of their communities. They pray while walking, with eyes open for the spiritual awakening God is bringing.” – Prayer-walking: Praying on Site with Insight by Steve Hawthorne and Graham Kendrick

Are you ready to hear from God concerning your local mission field? PrayerWalking is a wonderful first step.

 “I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses.” – Joshua 1 (The Message)