Spiritual Practices

Prayer Walking

One of the practices that I have found most important when it comes to trying to live out my faith in my neighborhood is regular prayer walks. I currently go on 2-3 intentional prayer walks through my neighborhood almost every week. They usually occur in the morning before my work day beings. I have found that these times have become refreshing to my soul and have lead to many open doors. There are days when I don’t talk to anyone except for an occasional wave or smile. I usually use this time to pray blessings over the many houses and their inhabitants  I go by or ask for God to help open door for me and my wife to build intentional relationships with my neighbors. I also often ask God to help me see what He is up to in this specific time and place. There are some days when I bump into someone and strike up conversation, help a neighbor with something, or asked to “sit a spell”. I am beginning to view these moments as answered prayers and am learning to embrace these holy interruptions. I encourage you to make prayer walking a regular practice in your week. You don’t have to go far. Maybe only around the block or down the street. You don’t have to do it for long. Got 45 minutes, Great. Got 5 minutes, Great. You just have to start somewhere.  Here are 5 helpful guidelines for prayer walking your neighborhood  from the book Communities First*.

As you walk:

  1. Pray for discernment—that God will reveal what he sees, hears, and knows about the people, events, and things of the community; that you will develop the eyes to see what God is already doing in the community and among the people.

  2. Pray for blessing—over every house and person you see and interact with; for God’s intervention in each life, so that each one can be fruitful in his kingdom.

  3. Discover the neighborhood—…take note of the gifts that exist in the community which might be a source of blessing…when they are shared.

  4. Interact with the neighborhood—talk with anyone
    who is interested about personal issues, community issues, and anything else that may come up; encourage people to share their time, talents, and belongings with each other.

  5. Look for ways to bless and intervene in the community with love and grace, as Jesus would.

 

 Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

*Van Groningen, Jay, ed. Communities First. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, 2005. 30-31. Print.

Updated St. Francis Prayer

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

Make me an instrument of your peace in Del Ray, Hume Springs, Arlandria – Chirilagua, Potomac Yard, Lynhavne, the rest of the City of Alexandria, and around the world.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where politics divide, where the poor are excluded, where people of other faiths are threatened, harassed, and killed, help me to be a sower of friendship and love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where our Latino sisters and brothers live in fear of deportation and families are torn apart, where people of color fear the people and systems that should provide protection, and where Native peoples continue to go unrecognized by the government resulting in a lack of access to housing, water, and fishing rights, in all these places and more, help me to listen, seek forgiveness, and become an ally through the shalom work of God.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where people have given up on God because of the abuse and hypocrisy of God’s people, help me to restore faith by listening to their pain, seeking forgiveness, and cultivating deeper relationships.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where addiction, abuse, unemployment, lack of housing and other issues drags my neighbors into despair, help me to be a steadfast friend. Show me how to bring hope and healing to all those around me.

Where there is darkness, light.

For those in my community trapped by the prison system, help me to be a beacon of light, bringing hope, friendship, and possibility.

When destruction of God’s creation is rampant and it seems we’re moving toward irreversible crisis, help me to shine light on the possibilities to make a better world and to share examples of how it’s already happening.

Where there is sadness, joy.

Where people sit in loneliness and isolation, help me to see. Help me to make time to be a friend, to listen to stories of pain and grief, to be present without passing judgement or trying to fix them. Where grief overwhelms, let mine be the hand of love holding on together until joy returns.

Divine Master, help me to seek not my own comfort, but the comfort of others.

Help me to understand other’s as a pathway to being understood.

Help me to love others sacrificially as you love us.

For it is in giving to others and seeking for their best that we, ourselves, receive. It is in extending the hand of peace and forgiveness that we embrace a peace that comes to all,

And it is in dying to our own selfish interests in favor of the other that the Kingdom of God is unleashed in our midst.

Amen

 

 

Adapted from a post on Godspace.