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