The trees are full of buds and the birds are singing. Spring is making its big appearance for 2022.
As Spring comes flooding in, I think it’s about time for a walk.
Walks let us see things at a pace that drives never do.
Walks let us notice our neighborhoods in more detail, and our neighbors.
And walks let us have encounters. Those encounters might be discussions with neighbors, internal chats with ourselves or quiet moments with God.
One of my favorite songs from My Fair Lady is “On The Street Where You Live.” Freddy sings about being on the street at the place where Eliza lives and wishes to run into her. What if we walked around with such excitement in hopes of encountering God in our everyday lives?
We began Intersections KC to encourage intentional encounters with God in our lives, our work and the arts. A prayer walk seems like the perfect way to kick off those encounters.
Before you go…
Read John 17:20-26 with your own communities in mind – your community of faith and the community that you live in.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Notice that Jesus’ prayer is not just for His faithful followers, it’s for those who will be impacted by His faithful followers, too. To me, the first thing that came to mind was my neighborhood, my community. So today, we’re going to take a short prayer walk of our neighborhoods.
As you know, a prayer walk is not just about walking around and it’s not just praying. It’s walking through your neighborhood with your heart wide open. It’s noticing signs of hope and signs of need, and how God calls you to be present to both. Be present as servants, not tourists. As veteran prayer walkers say, “You can be on the scene without making one.” And it’s easy in some ways with this method to not make a scene. But our minds can wander. Try to stay focused.
Notice people groups: Who is hanging on street corners, going into businesses, playing in parks, waiting in line at the store? How much do people interact with one another?
Let’s pause and pray for the people who flow in and out of our neighborhoods. Pray as God leads you to pray for them.
Notice Structures: What are the types and conditions of the structures (homes, businesses, roads, parks)? Let’s pause and pray for your City’s infrastructure, for the businesses, for the homes.
Ask God to put you a place where you can best serve the City.
Notice signs of hope: Where do you see evidence of God’s grace and God’s people at work? Look for churches and nonprofit organizations, playing children, uplifting artwork, faith symbols, social gatherings, gardens.
Let’s pause and pray about the ways that God is on the move in your neighborhood. Pray for God’s spirit to increase. Pray that God will help you be a part of that movement.
Notice signs of need: Look for evidence of hardship, hurt or injustice. Is what you see specific to particular areas or affecting the neighborhood as a whole? Remember that marginalized people and social problems are often hidden, especially in communities that appear well-off.
Let’s pause and pray for the needs of our communities.
• Pray for discernment – Seek the gift of seeing the community through Christ’s “lens,” and to discern what God is already doing there; ask God to show you how you can pray with greater insight for the people, events and places in the community.
• Pray for blessings – Pray for every person, home, school, business and situation you encounter.
• Pray for empathy – See and feel what your neighbors live with every day; offer intercession for signs of brokenness and give thanks to God for the blessings and gifts in the community.
Mark 12:30-31, 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”
In closing, we are going to just give some space for you to journal and pray. Spend some time making observations about your neighborhood and asking God how He’d like you to be at work in 2022.
Journal and Pray
• What did you learn about the neighborhood/neighbors?
• Where was God’s presence especially apparent?
• What surprised you?
• What was hard? What was engaging?
• What ministries and what worship would truly speak here? With whom could you partner and learn?
• How can you better share the love of Jesus in your neighborhood in 2022?