Praying for people is the simplest way I know to start seeing them from God’s point of view—to notice what they’re facing or to get a hunch about what God may have underway. (Waymakers)
During August, eighteen members of Immanuel walked and drove through 10.5 miles of the neighborhoods surrounding our Mission Outpost, “praying onsite with insight.” Using the “Open My City” prayerwalking guide, we proclaimed Scripture and interceded for our future neighbors, asking for the Spirit to open eyes, ears, and hearts to the reality of Jesus. Many of us also had the opportunity to meet several of these neighbors.
Along the way, we asked for grace to be attentive to what the Father was already at work doing in the community, discernment as to how we are to participate with Him, and for greater understanding of our neighbors’ needs. Here are some of the insights and wonderings that emerged:
· Many of the homes are separated by large acreage and trees. How connected is the community? How might Immanuel play a part in bringing this community together?
· Who are the “gatekeepers” to these various neighborhoods, and how might we get to know them?
· How can we be well prepared to have good conversations with these neighbors, equipped with gentle boldness and clarity? How can we gently, slowly fill these vessels?
· So much that is unseen happens behind closed doors. Rather than assume anything about anyone, all are to be welcomed with humility, openness, and a readiness to listen. There is both peace and pain present.
· Spiritual darkness is real; the light of Christ is needed.
· There is much beauty in the yards, houses, and people themselves.
· There is a broad socio-economic spread, and a range of occupations and cultures.
· Our future neighbors have gifts they will bring to us! They will help us become who we’re called to be.
It was also encouraging and even just plain fun to walk together through these streets, enjoying each other’s company and familiarizing ourselves with our future home.
I know many of you also took time this August to prayerwalk your own neighborhoods, “Open My City” in hand. I would like to hear about your experiences and insights. Would you please email a story or reflection to me at email@example.com?
Our praying will continue! I remind you again of these words from Bryan Byrne: “The community that prays…sees itself as a beachhead of the Kingdom of God in the present world, reclaiming it for life and humanity.”
Your Pastor in Christ,