Why & How to Do a Prayer Walk

by Don Bartemus | Mar 31, 2020 | Articles

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, conversations around the globe revolve around something we can’t even see with our naked eye. Many conversations are dominated by it every day. What would it look like to have the same number of conversations with God? And what if we combined some of those conversations with walking? Now we have a prayer walk.

The most famous prayer walk is in Genesis 5 where Enoch walked with God and then was gone—God took him (don’t expect a repeat of that prayer walk any time soon). Another example is the walk on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24 where two disciples talked with Jesus. Also, in Matthew 14, Peter stepped out of the boat, walked toward Jesus, and prayed the best and shortest prayer ever: “Lord, save me!”

In this unique time, let us consider spending more time talking with God and less time dwelling on the events around us. Here are a few steps to get you started:

  1. Plan your walk: Make a simple plan of where you will go and what you will pray for. Bring your Bible and a small notebook.
  2. Walk your plan. Follow the plan you outlined and be expectant. Leave electronics behind so you can focus your thoughts on the Savior. You might begin with gratitude, confession of sin, prayer for family members and the people you pass. Then move on to your location. For instance, if you run or walk on the Monon, as you pass homes and buildings, pray that the Savior would invade the lives of the people who live there. Feeling “stuck”? Pull up the College Park COVID-19 Prayer Guide to help guide your time.
  3. Be still. At some point during your prayer walk, stand still for a moment. Pay attention to the sounds and sights around you. Given our new practices of social distancing and staying home—and the sometimes-uncooperative weather—this may be the first time you have ventured outside in a while. Breathe and count it a privilege to be out in creation. Have you noticed how many cardinals dart back and forth on the Monon Trail? Have you thanked the Lord for all he has created? Be aware of the natural beauty around you and thank the Creator.
  4. Record your walk. What did you see, feel, and pray for? What answers did God give you? Write it down in your notebook so that you do not forget.
  5. Keep your eyes open. I know, I know, we have been taught since childhood to close our eyes when we pray, but this is one prayer time where it is okay to keep your eyes open.

In an age where we have our favorite playlists ready for every walk or run, why not change up the pace and try a prayer walk? It is not only physically healthy but, more importantly, it’s spiritually healthy.

Once you’ve tried prayer walking, take it a step further: invite a partner or two to prayer walk with you. You could prayer walk around your neighborhood or prayer walk a block or two downtown. Consider what changes you might see in your life or in the lives of those you pray for as you walk for the kingdom of Jesus.