Begins with Prayer
Neighborhood Ministry begins with Prayer – Art Umbach
God is doing a new thing among us as we move out from our church buildings into our neighborhoods through prayer-walking. This walking takes us back to the beginning, where we read that man and woman were created to walk with God. Enoch and Noah were described as “men who walked with God.” Rebellion toward God broke such intimacy, but in Christ we are called to walk again with Him. Jesus modeled prayer as He walked from village to village.Prayer-walking is intentional intercession for our neighborhoods, homes, and people encountered along the way. It allows you to see the neighborhood you’re praying for and to be more intentional in your prayers. It is a powerful way to show our compassion for a person in need of our help. It opens up the door for kingdom building. You can pray for every house you walk by that God will bring them closer to Him and into a relationship with Him. Prayer-walking prepares the way for effective ministry, evangelism, and church planting.
In the Southeastern District we are encouraging every member to pray for, reach out, and build community in their own neighborhood by sharing Jesus in our words and acts of caring.
1. Before you walk
· Invite the Holy Spirit to guide your walk and to open the hearts of people you will encounter.
- Ask God to give you His heart and eyes for the neighborhood. What is it He wants you to see and experience?
- Remember that your purpose is not to gain members for your church, but to pray and to care for people in the neighborhood.
2. While you’re walking
- Be sensitive to Spirit’s leading. Ask God to reveal the things that are on His heart.
· Walking through a neighborhood gives us insights into the needs of that community. Pray specific, short, conversational prayers (out loud, eyes open).
· When we walk through a neighborhood, we pray for the residents in each home, as well as taking prayer requests from those we meet along the way. You may ask: “What can I pray for you?” or “We are praying for the neighborhood and would like to pray for you. Is there anything you would like us to pray for?” or “What do you think we should be praying for in this community?” Where appropriate, feel free to pray with people.
· Prayer-walking may take several forms: (1) Walking through a neighborhood, briefly stopping in front of each house and offering a prayer, and seeking prayer requests from people you meet along the way. (2) Stopping at each home along they way, asking “What can I pray for you?”
· Keep it simple and informal. Remember that Jesus is walking with you. He has promised His Spirit will empower and guide you walk and witness. There is no single way to do prayer walking. Be yourself and let who you are in Christ shine through.
3. When you finish your prayer walk
- Celebrate what God is doing and going to do as a result of your prayers.
· Where possible, follow-up with those for whom you have prayed. Let them know that you have prayed for them, offer your help where it is needed, and continue to pray for them. It is helpful to re-walk routes.
(this is part of a larger article available at www.se.lcms.org/prayers prayer resources.)