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Prayerwalking, Chapter 1: Bring a Bible

August 11, 2006

Why bring a Bible on a prayerwalk?  Because I believe that when we pray we should always let God have the first word.  Prayer is a response to the word of God.  He spoke first.  He spoke the whole universe into being by his Word.  And the Word still speaks.  He speaks the gospel into our hearts, opens our eyes to behold the glory of Christ, and gives us the gift of faith.

2 Corinthians 4:6  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

We need faith in order to pray, so let us get first into the word by which God speaks faith into existence.

Get a pocket-sized Bible or a New Testament with the Psalms.  You have to have the psalms.   From the book of Psalms we learn the vocabulary of prayer.  When you pray aloud are you sometimes disappointed at how your mouth fills with repetitive clichés picked up from your subculture?  Do you long to pray more richly and deeply?  Meditating and praying through the Psalms so that they dwell in your heart is the answer. 

The way to learn to pray scripturally is to pray Scripture.  Today, for example, I prayed through Psalm 146.  I read,

Psalm 146:1-2  Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!  I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

And so then I sang.  Then I read,

Psalm 146:3-5 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.  When his breath departs he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.  Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,

And so I asked God to help me with some things that have been troubling me lately.  I asked him for help to be a good father, help to resist temptation, help to write this week’s sermon, etc.   Sometimes we fall short of really praying because we fail to ask God to help us.  Sometimes prayer can dwindle into mumbling introspection in the presence of God.  I suppose that is a little more profitable than mumbling introspection without an awareness of God, but it isn’t really prayer until you ask for something.   Imagine Jesus comes to you and asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51)

Then I read,

Psalm 146:6-8  who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;  who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free;  the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.

So I praised God for his power and glory revealed in creation and then I prayed for those I know whose eyes are still spiritually blinded and cannot see His glory.  I prayed that God would free prisoners like a pastor in China I know about.  I prayed also for freedom for those ensnared by sin. 

Millions of other prayers could be and have been inspired by these verses.  There are many ways to pray through a psalm.  But whatever you pray for, it will be filled with more knowledge of God, more faith, and more of the beautiful and powerful vocabulary of Scripture because you let Him have the first Word.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2006 11:04 am

    Do you pray outloud when you’re prayer walking? That’s the one thing about it that makes me a bit nervous. If I prayer walk I usually just walk in circles through our kitchen and living room – it gets a bit boring though.

    When you pray through a psalm do you still use WISC or just the psalm?

  2. August 11, 2006 11:20 am

    pretty good stuff here, pastor mike. i too have found that physical fitness with spiritual disciplines can be closely and uniquely linked to spiritual health. it reminds me very much of morning training during short-term mission trips followed by an hour in the word and in prayer.

    i also clearly remember you going on a prayerwalk while at our GCC retreat earlier this year, and it struck me with almost a monastic simplicity and a wholesomeness that manifests in a healthy soul. certainly, body and soul both can be blessed. it’s a discipline that forces us to slow down from the frantic tyranny of the “urgent” and seek out our God.

    i look forward to reading the forthcoming “blook” and having my own prayerwalks.

  3. August 11, 2006 11:56 am

    I do pray out loud. That’s chapter 2. I still use WISC when I’m not using a psalm. (WISC is Worship, Intercession, Supplication, Confession. It’s the outline of the Lord’s Prayer)

  4. August 11, 2006 2:21 pm

    Why do you only walk indoors? My mind boggles at the thought of prayerwalking being an inside activity…

  5. August 11, 2006 7:38 pm

    I get thrown off by the whole praying-out-loud where other people will have no idea what I’m doing. I guess I’m afraid they’ll think I’m nutty.

  6. August 11, 2006 8:21 pm

    *snicker, snicker*
    isaiah543 can add merchandising with the book . . . t-shirts that say
    It’s not Tourette’s I’m praising God!
    Just b/c you can’t see Him doesn’t mean He’s not listening
    Don’t mind me, I’m just praying for you

    and on the back . . .

    Ok . . . enough silliness (even though I’m sure CBD would carry them as well as special portable coffee mugs, wristbands, earmuffs, etc! ) . . . I’ll go back to lurking again! ;-)

  7. August 11, 2006 10:05 pm

    C’mon guys, just go out to the edge of town and walk towards corn. Or, for heaven’s sake, we don’t live in Manhattan. I head west from my office down Church St. and only pass two people on the sidewalk in an hour!

  8. August 12, 2006 7:08 am

    If I am walking in a crowded place, then I either pray silently, or read, or listen to a sermon on my MP3 player. But if you walk with a brother or sister, then you can pray out loud together and the people passing you will think you’re talking to one another.

  9. August 12, 2006 11:26 am

    Actually, people will just think you have a cellphone and ignore you anyway . . . they’ll wonder where they can get the so-small-as-to-appear-invisible phone. How often have you been somewhere and someone is ‘talking to herself’ . . . oh, but no, she has a cellphone? When I’m out and about, it seems like everyone is talking on their cells.

  10. Egana permalink
    August 12, 2006 7:46 pm

    funny, I always pray outloud (big surprise, huh? *grin*) when I am walking, or else I get distracted…

    but i avoid places where I might have to pass a bunch of people because I don’t like to stop taling with God and say “good morning” to them as they pass by. the idea of continuing to pray while passing people sounds really rude to me. I HAVE to say good morning!

    hah hah hah..

    sometimes extroversion cracks me up…

  11. August 12, 2006 11:46 pm

    Ahh, I see RicksWife… I didn’t understand until I thought about the … weirdness of walking around outside talking out *loud*. Hmm…. but, you know, then again, people think I’m nutty anyway, so why worry?

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