One important part of disciple-making is experiencing God’s heart and calling for a specific place or people group. It could be where you work, your neighborhood, or a part of your city like a park where people who are homeless gather.
Once you determine where God has called you to partner with him in bringing his kingdom, you can begin to regularly pray for this place. I like to think of this as taking responsibility for a given area.
In my opinion, one of the best ways to do this is by regularly praying while walking that area. You will be able to pray with added insight as you get to see and experience the needs firsthand.
I began doing this in my neighborhood three years ago. Often, my wife Lissa and one of our neighbors would join me. As we circled our block, the Holy Spirit would often give us specific knowledge about how to pray for each home we passed.
I have to be honest; after doing this for some time, I wondered if it was really doing any good… especially on mornings when I did it at 5:30am.
Then, one evening my wife Lissa and I were on a walk, and I was expressing these very feelings to her when our neighbor John drove by. When he saw us, he stopped his truck. He rolled down his window and said, “Dave, I would really like to connect with you sometime and talk about how I can learn more about God.”
Our jaws dropped. My wife and I looked at each other with amazement. It was working! This initial conversation with John eventually led to the start of a weekly Discovery Bible Study.
If you want to give prayer walking a try, here are some tips:
- Pray for protection and divine appointments before you go. Remember that what you are doing is spiritual warfare.
- Focus your prayers by asking the question, “what would need to happen for this place to look more like heaven?” Listen for leadings from the Holy Spirit along the way.
- Pay attention. You might begin to notice patterns that help you get to know the needs of the area. For example, a friend of mine learned almost every time a house went up for sale in his neighborhood it meant a couple was getting a divorce.
- Interact or pray with people as you walk. This will help you identify people God is drawing to himself and those who might be open to learning more about him.
- When asked, share what you are doing and why you are doing it. This can lead to great spiritual conversations.
- Write down the things you noticed or experienced in a journal. This can help you keep track of your insights and progress.
- Finally, invite others to join you or start their own prayer walk.
Over time, I have seen God softening the hearts of my neighbors. We are seeing much more of a sense of community and a real openness to the things of the Lord.
About the Author
David Hinman is a DMM Specialist for Multiply Vineyard. He also is a Catalyst and Trainer for New Generations. David and his wife live in Phoenix, AZ and have three married children who all live in Denver.
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