The Weekly Pastor’s Corner 10/01/20
Prayerwalking: Connecting the Stories
As we come to our final week of prayerwalking, I want to summarize some of the experiences I’ve heard from our Immanuel family. People have…
….tuned into little surprises, like pine cones, that lead them to give thanks to God.
…noticed details in their neighborhoods—chairs in a driveway, construction happening at a house, lights that haven’t turned on in a home for several days—and they have prayed over those details.
…their minds taken off of themselves and their circumstances, and their eyes opened to what’s going on around them.
…seen individuals for who they are, moving them out of judgment into prayer.
… paid attention in new ways, wondering about houses and neighbors.
…become braver in initiating conversations with their neighbors.
…had the opportunity to ask others how they can pray for them, and have been surprised at how ready, specific and open the responses have been.
…sensed connection with the Immanuel family—appreciating a common thread that pulls us together, a community effort to grow in relationship with each other and with our neighbors.
“An important benefit or side effect of prayer walking is the development of relationships, even with people to whom you do not actually talk. In praying for them you develop a caring (even love) for the objects of your prayers, and in doing so, you deepen the bonds of Christ's people.”
You might think this is yet another quote from Waymakers. Nope. It’s wisdom from Michael Dominguez, one of our parishioners, shared out of his experience of prayerwalking. His words, and the experiences I’ve summarized above, are evidence of what the Spirit cultivates through this way of praying—merging our hearts with the heart of the Father, and opening the eyes of our hearts to the intersecting stories in our neighborhoods.
There are multiple stories unfolding in your neighborhood, and three in particular: Your neighbor’s story, your story, and the Gospel story. Prayerwalking awakens our awareness of the intersection of these stories, and invites us into intentional participation. Now here’s Waymakers:
“There’s a story rolling in everyone’s life. I love to assume that God is on the verge of doing something good in the lives of everyone I see in order to bring about yet one more significant encounter with His love. I enjoy getting in on the story by praying my way, or “noticing” my way into what God may be up to next.”
I encourage you to ask Jesus what part you may have to play in what God is “up to next” in your neighbors’ lives. One thing to consider is whether it may be time to invite your neighbor(s) to experience the Immanuel community. This could be through inviting them to visit Immanuel online or in person, or to invite them to join us in reading What’s Wrong with Religion by Skye Jethani. We’ll talk about this more soon.
Another suggestion is simply to be alert for opportunities to connect with your neighbors in small ways. Borrow ingredients or a tool from someone other than your usual go-to person. Slow down as you pass a neighbor in her yard and ask about her day. Pause in your yardwork to greet someone walking by and ask about his dog. Finally introduce yourself to that neighbor you keep seeing but have yet to meet.
For our final week of prayerwalking, our focus is praying for our neighbors to participate in the plan of Christ. As we’ll hear in our reading from Ephesians 1:1-10, God’s plan is to unite all things in Christ, and this includes our neighbors. All the stories converge into His Story.
Your Pastor in Christ,