What is Prayer Walking?
(Compiled by Lilian Schmid, from numerous resources)
Prayer Walking falls under a category of prayer called Intercession. Intercession is praying on behalf of others; bringing their needs before the Lord as if they were your own.
A wonderful example of Intercessory Prayer in the Bible is when Abraham negotiated with God over Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord revealed to Abraham that he was about to destroy these two great cities for their grave wickedness. Abraham interceded for them and got the Lord to agree that if there could be found as few as ten righteous people in the city of Sodom he would spare both Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-33). If you don’t know how this story turns out read both chapter 18 and 19 in Genesis.
Purpose of Prayer Walking
You are to bring light to the darkness. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” If you desire to be light to the darkness around you, you have set yourself a good goal. Your prayers can penetrate the dark places around you. You can effect change in your own neighborhood.
Now check your heart before you continue. Do you feel judgmental, critical, better than those “horrible sinners” whom you intend to target with your prayers? Be honest with God about your motives; he knows them anyhow. If you feel judgmental, read again the story of Abraham interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah. Ask God to give you a heart like Abraham had when he prayed for the Lord to pour out mercy on the cities and spare them judgment. Abraham had a humble heart when he prayed and our prayers will be effective if we have the same kind of heart.
Prayer Power Partners and Prayer Teams
The scripture says in Ecclesiastes 4:12 “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” So in other words there is strength in numbers, and this couldn’t be truer in prayer. Prayer power increases with each person added. Do you have a household member that has a heart to pray for your neighborhood? A Christian spouse who will walk and pray with you? A neighborhood friend who agrees with you to bring God’s light onto your street? Go for it! Best of all, is your church interested in prayer walking? Sign up to be part of it.
Before the children of Israel crossed the Jordan to take possession of the land of Canaan, “Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially Jericho.’” Just as the two spies did then, we need to survey our city first before we take possession for the Lord Jesus.
- What are we up against?
- What are the spiritual dark forces in high places with which we will battle?
- Why is the city closed/shut up against the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Prayer walks are designed for us to observe the spiritual climate of the city so that we can pray and devise strategies to defeat the enemy. The city is ours to take so let us “…be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matt. 10:16)
Listed below are some guidelines for you to follow which will protect you as you go out and will bring optimum results for our purposes.
- Remember – this is not a race; please take your time so that the Holy Spirit can show you whatever He wants to.
- Follow the leader assigned to you. Stay within the spiritual and physical boundaries you are given.
- Walk inconspicuously and pray quietly (demons have acute hearing). Don’t carry your Bibles, tambourines, etc. Don’t use this as a witnessing opportunity.
- If your route takes you past a church or school, please take the opportunity to anoint it with oil, if possible. (Leaders, take charge of this.)
- Don’t socialise with your fellow walkers or request personal ministry. This is a time to pray and keep your spiritual eyes and hears open. God may give YOU a key to taking the city. Listen and pray as the Lord leads.
- At the end of your walk, gather together and share your impressions, visions, etc. with your leader who will use the back of the route sheet to record them. (Leaders, please turn these in to an organiser.)
- Keep praying daily about the things the Lord has shown you. No one person will have all the pieces of the puzzle – God needs and wants all the members of His body to participate.
Take Authority and Possess Territory
When God made a covenant with Abraham he said to him; “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are-northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17)
Assess Spiritual Conditions
Several centuries after God first gave the land to Abraham and his descendants the time was getting close for the Israelites to enter into it. After their delivery from slavery in Egypt, the Lord told Moses to; “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel.” (Numbers 18:2) Moses gave the twelve men he sent this direction; “See what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many; whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds; whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land.” (Numbers 13:18-20)
Just as the twelve spies were sent to assess the land of Canaan, a primary purpose of prayer walking is to assess the spiritual condition of the block, neighborhood or city where the prayer walk occurs. While looking, it is very important to see with spiritual eyes and not make the same mistakes that ten of those twelve spies made. After forty days of walking about Canaan the spies returned with a report of what they had seen. All but Joshua and Caleb saw the land with natural eyes and they were afraid (read Numbers 13 for the full account). While they admitted that this was truly a land flowing with milk and honey their final judgment was “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants…” (Numbers 13:32)
Joshua and Caleb saw the land with God’s eyes and they said; “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30) That’s the way God wanted them to see the land – in faith. He certainly didn’t send them into Canaan as spies to convince them it was bad land and unconquerable. In prayer walking we try to see the land through God’s eyes even as we honestly assess the obstacles. Those obstacles become prayer items to overcome, not abort our mission.
Formulate a Strategy
Formulating a strategy is a big part of prayer walking. After we walk the land in order to take authority over it and assess its spiritual condition, we strategise. We plan the best way to turn hopeless situations around and restore God’s kingdom. Wherever there is desolation we apply our prayers and take any other actions that might be needed. Until we truly understand what we are dealing with it is hard to come up with the best possible plan. Prayer walking gets us up close and personal with our neighborhood or city so we can target our prayers effectively.
Even though the term ‘Prayer Walking’ isn’t in the Bible, the principles of prayer walking are very much there as you can see. Jesus said; “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) The ‘end’ refers to his Second Coming. We want to hasten his return so let us use every tool available to us to promote the gospel throughout every neighborhood and city in our land and all over the world. Prayer is such a powerful tool and Prayer Walking gives us an extra edge of effectiveness.
Check this site for more information on prayer walking – hannahscupboard.com/prayer-walking
See also Prayer Mapping.