The community that prays [the Lord’s Prayer] sees itself as a beachhead of the Kingdom of God in the present world, reclaiming it for life and humanity.
Two Sundays ago, we reflected on Jesus’ teaching on prayer in Luke 11:1-13. Through “The Lord’s Prayer” and two parables we learned that we are to pray with confidence (in our Father) and in community (with and for each other). The Father answers our prayer by giving us the Holy Spirit to fulfil his Kingdom calling in and through our lives.
This August we are putting into practice this way of praying through “prayerwalking.” WayMakers explains prayerwalking as “praying on-site with insight. Prayerwalking is praying in the very places that we expect God to bring forth his answers.” As a “beachhead of the kingdom of God” in Northern Virginia, Immanuel is going to walk through our neighborhoods praying for our Father’s kingdom to come, his will to be done in the communities where he has planted us.
On Sunday you’ll receive a slim guide titled “Open My City.” Inside you’ll find direction on how to “focus our prayers on Christ being revealed, recognized, and received” in the weeks leading up to our move into our Mission Outpost. The steps for prayerwalking are simple:
1. Read through “Open My City” and familiarize yourself with the guidance and prayers.
2. Invite one or two people to walk-and-pray with you through your neighborhood once a week. The people praying with you could be from our Immanuel family, or perhaps fellow Christians in your neighborhood. (Praying in community!)
3. Begin by praying together, telling Jesus you’re ready to walk with Him, asking the Father to give you the Holy Spirit as a guide (Luke 11:13), and praying the Lord’s Prayer. As you walk, quietly read out loud the provided Scriptures, and quietly pray out loud the suggested prayers. You may find the suggested prayers awaken ideas of other things to pray, or specific people for whom to pray. Do so, and agree with each other in Jesus’ name. (Praying with confidence!)
4. I suggest you pray through two pages each week. For example, this week pray through pages 8 & 9. Next week, pray through pages 10 & 11. And so on…. This can take as few as 10-15 minutes.
5. Once you’re finished, share with each other insights, thoughts, questions, and images that emerged during the time, perhaps writing some of them down to share on Sunday, or to guide your next time of prayerwalking. Conclude by thanking the Father for the ways in which he will be answering these prayers.
6. At least once during August, join us on Saturdays at 10am in the parking lot of Coles Elementary School. We’ll pray together briefly, then go in groups of two or three to prayerwalk different neighborhoods surrounding our Mission Outpost/House of Worship. We’ll begin this Saturday, August 6!
If health or weather don’t permit you to walk, you can still put this prayer into practice. As it says in “Open My City,” “Prayerwalking is not really about walking or moving around. It’s simply drawing nearer in order to pray clearer.” You and a companion sit on your porch or by your window and pray, visualizing the houses and streets in your neighborhood. Or pull up google maps on your device and put in your address or the address of our new Worship House (7075 Hoadly Road), click the “satellite view” in the “Layers” button, and click-and-drag your way through the neighborhoods. Our limitations in no way limit God; in fact, they invite greater dependency on Him resulting in greater glory for Him.
Praying in this way is an essential part of being Immanuel: God with us…for the sake of others. The community that prays in this way “is a community very conscious of its privileged closeness to God. But it prays the prayer in the world, on behalf of the world, to which it testifies the onset of the kingdom” (Brendan Byrne again).
Your Pastor in Christ,