Friday, February 9, 2018

A Biblical Consideration Of Prayer-Walking

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Genesis 13:14-18 "The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15 for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. 16 I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. 17 Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” 18 Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord."


Time and space are understood today as two aspects of physical reality. Whenever we open up the first chapter of God's Word in Genesis, we find Almighty God creating time and space. God created this dependent reality we call "the universe" to make Himself known to creatures such as ourselves. Time and space are God's canvases upon which He impresses upon us time and space-bound creatures the desire to have a relationship.

When it comes to understanding how this mighty, invisible God looked to use time and space for His purposes, the Old Testament reveals plenty of examples. God called Abraham to a plot of land some 300,000 square miles in size, stretching from just outside of Egypt up through the Eastern coastline of the Mediterranean to as a far East as the mighty Euphrates. The "promised-land" of Canaan would become the theater of God's redemptive saga involving the formation of His people - the Jews. It would also be upon this same soil that the Eternal Son would come "in the fullness of time, born of a woman, under the law" (Galatians 4:4). 

Time and space were used by God as most clearly seen in how He as the Son wrapped Himself in true humanity. Whenever Jesus came upon the scene, He as God in human flesh walked up and down the roadways of Galilee, Samaria and Judea. The Christian is urged to walk with God in their daily aim to focus their eyes upon this same Jesus who came in the fullness of time. The New Testament calls Christians to live their lives in keeping with the "steps of Jesus" (see 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6)

Summary of today's post 

In thinking upon how God desires His people to participate with what He is doing in this world - composed of time and space - we want to explore the spiritual practice of "prayer-walking". In this short study, we will consider the idea, Biblical rationale, principles and practice of prayer-walking. 

The idea of prayer-walking

Prayer-walking is a physical expression of putting feet to one’s prayers and prayers to one’s feet. A prayer-walk could be defined as follows: 

To take one’s physical environment and overlay a God-centered, spiritual view of it by means of walking while praying. 

The Biblical rationale for prayer-walking

Is it possible to construct a Biblical rationale for prayer-walking? Most certainly. Certain biblical themes, when woven together per their context, a biblical theology of prayer-walking emerges. The best place to begin is with God’s instruction to Abraham to walk out the land of promise in Genesis 13:14-18. Other concepts lend greatly in approaching this expression of prayer. For instance, in roughly fifty places we find reference to “walking with God” as characteristic of one’s experiential life with God. People such as Enoch (Genesis 5:22); Noah (Genesis 6:9) and Abraham (17:1) were described as “walking with God”. The Christian is informed to walk or live out his or her life in step with the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 2:6; 1 Peter 2:21). 

Prayer is a second important theme that comprises "prayer-walking". We are urged to exercise devotion to God in prayer (Colossians 4:2); pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17) and put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). Combining God’s working with walking is patterned in the Old Testament (Genesis 13:14-18; Numbers 13:17-20). God’s people combined prayer and praise when encircling the walls of Jericho in Joshua 6. As one studies the design of the Old Testament Tabernacle (Exodus 25-40) and Temple (1 Kings 6-8), the priests movements back and forth between their place of service (the holy place) and altar of sacrifice incorporates walking and prayer. 

In the New Testament we find the Christian told to walk in a manner worthy of their calling (Ephesians 4:1). The walk of the child of God is viewed as disseminating the fragrant aroma of Christ to all who are watching (2 Corinthians 2 2:14-17; Ephesians 5:1-2) Such walking refers to one’s conduct of life. 

Whenever this idea is physically applied in the manner of prayer-walking or something similar, we find some New Testament examples. One such reference is seen in Acts 17:22-23 in Paul’s encounter with the pagan philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens in Acts 17:22-23. He saw all the various pagan temples in Athens. His walking through that city piqued his spiritual discernment, leading him to Mars Hill to deliver one of the finest defenses of the Christian faith found anywhere in sacred scripture. 

Closing thoughts

We do see then a Biblical rationale for prayer-walking. The beauty of this form of prayer is that it combines the spiritual exercise of prayer with that of walking. God is ever at work in our world. To look at the world around us with physical eyes is one thing. To see the world around us through prayer means we now begin to understand, in part, what it is that God is wanting to do in us and through us to reach others for His sake. 

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