Prayerwalking: Walking for your health, praying for your community
Just over twenty years ago I found myself falling apart physically. I was huffing and puffing going up stairs. I needed painkillers to sleep. And the turning point occurred when I fell down the back steps because my knee had given way.
I needed to do something about my health, but I also knew God had been nudging me to spend more time with him. So I decided to get up a little earlier the next day to walk, and while I walked I would take care of my prayer lists.
There was a lot of my-ness in those prayers: my marriage, my kids, my teaching job. But that changed when I saw a young man entrust his blanketed little girl to the daycare worker outside Toddler Towers in our town of eight hundred in the Sierra Valley.
At that moment before six in the morning that little girl said, “Bye, Daddy. I love you.”
And I knew right then that God had me out on the streets of my town not so much for the my-ness of my prayers but more for the needs of the people in my community.
Walking as an exercise is making a comeback, and as we embrace it, we can multi-task our miles by praying for our neighborhoods. Here are some suggestions to carry it off well:
- Keep it simple. You don’t need fancy clothes—just a good pair of shoes and clothes that address weather needs.
- Schedule your walk. Put your prayerwalking times on your calendar. I’ve made the commitment to be out the door by 4 p.m. daily.
- Leave the buds. Music or podcasts can distract you from noticing the prayer needs around you, as well as oncoming traffic.
- Pray for what you see: schools, homes, commuters, and more.
Janet Holm McHenry is the author of twenty-four books, including the bestselling PrayerWalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer and Strength and Discipline. She loves to speak about how God has transformed her life as she has partnered with Him in prayer. Connect with Janet through her Facebook author page, her group called The Walking Club, or her website: https://www.janetmchenry.com.