Prayerwalking: Uncover Clues to Needs in Your Church Neighborhood

Week after week, I wheel into our church parking lot, pull in my favorite space, and hustle inside through the usual entrance. Seldom do I notice the neighboring landscape in the shadow of our steeple, much less the latest changes to the half-mile block surrounding our campus.

Call it routine, but perhaps I’m not alone in my traditional way of “doing church.” Have I become too comfortable within the walls of our sacred abode? Suddenly that powerful mandate known as the Great Commission saturates my heart like an unexpected summer rain. Jesus is calling us to go, to take His case well beyond the walls of His church into a lost and dying world.

Prayerwalking is a key step in answering His call.

On a weekday night, a group of fact-finding investigators joins me in prayerfully uncovering the clues of people’s needs within our church neighborhood. As we take up our magnifying glasses and don our detective hats, we agree to allow God’s Spirit to direct our prayerwalk. My group consists of 7 probing, missions-minded middle-school girls, who joyfully embrace the assignment. We arm ourselves with Scripture and a 3-by-5 card and a pencil to document clues along the trail.

We begin our walk with a moment of group prayer, asking God to reveal any hidden sin that must be confessed prior to the walk. We invite God to direct our hearts and expose clues, both seen and unseen, that highlight the needs of those who live, work, walk, run, or travel regularly within the half-mile city square encompassing our church. The result? An evening of God-moments and intercession that changes not only our church neighborhood’s heart but also our own hearts.

Go for a Walk

Determine what time of day works best for your group to prayerwalk. Remember that a prayerwalk can be a multigenerational activity and not necessarily gender specific.

Divide into teams or pairs depending on your group’s size. Recruit lead investigators to serve as team captains. Emphasize that prayer involves listening as well as speaking. Encourage both silent and audible prayers along the walk. Follow the Spirit’s direction regarding participants who may be apprehensive about praying aloud. Ask God to identify mailboxes on which to deliver church literature/invitations.

Invite group members who have mobility issues to partake in a prayerdrive. Reserve your church van, and fill up the seats.

Plan a time to debrief following your walk/drive. Allow participants to share those clues that God revealed. Make note when God revealed the same clue to more than 1 participant. Discuss how the Spirit led participants to pray specifically. At the conclusion of your debriefing session, ask God to confirm those clues that your group could adopt as mission action projects in the coming months.

The evidence is there. The case is waiting to be cracked. Lace up your sneakers. Start praying. And expect God to move!

For more ideas and information on prayerwalking, check out Randy Sprinkle’s 6-week Bible study Follow Me.

Joanie Ballard is grateful for God’s gift of prayer and the opportunity to intercede for the world around her.

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