Prayer Walking

Tonight I set off to purchase some lemon juice that I might better remedy my irritating cold.  In the town square, I chanced upon three fellow Christians from another church. One of them saw me, but carried on without greeting. ‘Oh dear’, thought I. I’m often upsetting folk in Christendom. Not put off, I called “Evening” as loud as my rasping voice would permit. They turned around and smiled, one leaning over to explain that they were busy praying and couldn’t stop. I quickly apologised and proceeded on my way.

On my return journey, armed with lemon juice, I saw another group, also in the town square. Somewhat wiser this time, I hurried on without acknowledgement, until they called out my name and waved. Perhaps this group weren’t so spiritual, or had finished for the night. I returned the wave and hurried on.

Prayer walking, I think it’s called. When praying for a town, one walks around it. My church at Lancaster did a similar thing. We used to ‘claim’ territory for Jesus. Sadly, Jesus never seemed to occupy His new territory, but we felt like we’d made a difference, perhaps unsettling a few territorial demons along the way. The church to which tonight’s walking prayer warriors belonged is a sound one, not given to silly claims and gimmicks. But it did have me wondering about the value of such praying. Does the Lord respond better to such prayer? No. That an able-bodied prayer-er would have more power than one confined to a wheelchair is obnoxious. Can we claim territory for the Lord? No, it’s already His. Doubtless, unclean squatters have moved in, but such will be evicted when the great Landlord returns, and not at the behest of his estate agents in the meantime.

I do, however, see its value as an aid to the one who prays. Instead of staring at my dark eyelids when praying, I’m beholding the very people and places for whom I intercede; this is surely a helpful experience. My prayer is that God will move in the hearts of wealthy, comfortable Ribble Valley folk and draw them to Himself. It matters not where I pray, but the Lord of the Harvest will surely raise those up to gather them in. Whether we ask Him in the barn, or in the middle of the field, He will answer that prayer.