God hears us. It’s one of the most beautiful truths we rest under as Christians. And not only does he hear us, but God hears us in all times and places. Psalm 139 says He knows us when we sit down and when we rise up; He discerns our thoughts from afar and knows our words before they even leave our mouths.
Our God knows us deeply, invites us to pray, and assures us that he hears us no matter where we are or what we are doing. Those fundamental truths underlie the beauty of what it means to prayer walk.
Defining a prayer walk is quite simple. It's praying while you’re moving. Praying in this way gives us a chance to connect what we’re seeing and experiencing with the intimate conversation that’s going on in our hearts as we pray to our Father.
A prayer walk might be new to some of us, and while we’ve already outlined some thoughts on why to do a prayer walk, today we’re going to talk about the nuts and bolts of how to actually do it. It’s a simple process but the experience can often be profound and moving (pun not intended, but I’m for it). So buckle up, or better yet, lace up some shoes — this is how to prayer walk.
Pick a Route
The first step to tackle in executing your prayer walk is to pick a route. This is a very important step because the route will determine much of the atmosphere and state of mind you cultivate during your prayer walk.
Be careful about choosing a route that is too familiar (say a walk around your block) that would make it more difficult to get into a unique headspace to call upon and seek the Lord, especially if you’ll encounter many people you know that may want to stop and chat. But likewise, be careful about choosing one that is unfamiliar to the degree that it could distract you from the purpose of your walk in the first place.
An example of this dilemma: I live within walking distance of a harbor promenade and a hilly golf course.
I run the promenade almost every day and while I find dodging seagulls and watching the ships pull into New York Harbor enjoyable, they also prevent me from focusing on one thing for more than five minutes. In other words, not an optimal place for a prayer walk.
The hilly golf course on the other hand is known to me, but I can’t run there often. It closes around sunset but stays open via a side gate allowing walkers to enjoy the course once the golfers leave. I find I can simply allow the singular path that weaves throughout the course for 18 holes to guide my feet with little thought or directional awareness necessary. It’s the perfect place to stroll along in deep thought and therefore a great place to prayer walk.
However, sometimes choosing the route may need to be dictated by what you’re seeking to pray about. If you’re praying alongside us during Walk Week for the Gospel to go forth among the nations, maybe it’s worth walking through a neighborhood where people from unreached nations live and pray for their homeland while you walk. If you’re praying for church unity, consider mapping a route through your neighborhood that intersects with multiple churches from various denominations that allows you to pray for their coming together for the good of the Kingdom.
Your prayer walk route can be super important, but no matter where you’re walking, prioritize safety and awareness.
Pick a Topic
While we already alluded to this above, picking a topic of prayer is the second important step in planning your prayer walk.
Throughout Scripture, we see people in specific moments and specific topics of prayer. Hannah prayed specifically for a child, Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples, Paul requested that people intercede for him when he was in chains, and likewise the Gospel of Matthew tells us to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers.
Prayer walks are a time to intentionally intercede before God for specific burdens he has laid on our hearts. As we focus on this one topic, walk, and pray, you’ll find that God will allow your heart to widen around this topic to press deeper into it in prayer. For instance, if you’re prayer walking your neighborhood asking that God will move in it in some way, you may find your prayers starting at praying for your neighbors but soon enough expanding to praying for schools, country officials, and everything in between.
Prayer walks are a time to intentionally intercede before God for specific burdens he has laid on our hearts.
There is no shortage of topics to choose from, but here are a few suggestions to fuel your planning:
- God’s Kingdom to come in your neighborhood
- The unity of churches in your city
- Racial justice and reconciliation
- The raising up of new workers for the mission field
- Specific people groups that have yet to hear the Gospel
- Victims of oppression and domestic abuse
- The flourishing and peace of at-risk youth
Whatever topic you choose. Jot down some specific sub-points to cover in prayer before you start your walk, but, as always, leave room for the Spirit to prompt and guide as well.
Walk, Run, Bike, and Move!
Once you’ve got your route mapped and topic picked, it’s time to get moving!
Personally, we’re big fans of prayer walking — but we also know some people experience the peace and headspace necessary to pray via other kinetic options as well. So if you prefer prayer running, prayer biking, or even prayer paddleboarding — go for it! The important thing is that, no matter what you choose, it affords you the necessary rhythm and environment to connect with God and hear his voice.
As believers, we have the assurance that no matter what mode of movement we pick, God hears us (after all he was able to hear Jonah cruising below the surface of the ocean in the belly of a whale!). But just remember, it’s often us who need to make adjustments so that we can hear Him. Choose wisely!
And finally, the last thing to do to execute your prayer walk is to pray!
Pray out loud, pray silently, pray without ceasing, pray in spurts of talking and listening — no matter what, just pray. Allow God to guide your steps and your heart as you seek Him on behalf of others. We would recommend you keep your eyes open, but feel free to take breaks, sit in the stillness, and allow yourself to enter into what God has for you on a prayer walk.
Pray out loud, pray silently, pray without ceasing, pray in spurts of talking and listening — no matter what, just pray.
Additionally, feel free to pray together. Invite someone else to prayer walk with you, or better yet mobilize a network of prayer walkers walking in different places yet agreeing in prayer for the same things. Feel free to make prayer prompts using a shared platform like Google Slides to keep you all on the same page, and then debrief to see if God has laid anything specific on your hearts as you prayed and walked together.
Join us for Walk Week!
Prayer walking is such a powerful tool to get us moving, praying, and hearing the voice of God as we intercede for others. Join us in April as we pray for God’s global work among the nations during Walk Week — a 7-day prayer walk event! Register HERE!