On Prayer Walking: some practical guidance

imb-photos-crosswalk-in-verona.jpg

This past weekend, as I concluded our series on neighboring at Eastbrook, one of the application points was for us to prayer walk our neighborhoods. I realized that for some of us this may be a new concept. I was first introduced to this when I was a new disciple of Christ in high school. I came across this helpful article by Shelley Stott on prayer walking, “Prayer Walking: A Way to Pray Specifically for Our Neighborhoods.” Here is Stott’s definition of prayer walking:

Prayer walking is exactly what the words imply: walking and praying. Prayer walking has been described as “praying on site with insight.” When you hear the sounds and see the sights of a particular place, you understand better how to pray for the people in that location.

Near the end of the article, she offers some very practical advice for prayer walking:

Five Things to Remember When Prayer Walking

  1. Be alert.
    If you prayer walk with a partner, don’t get distracted by conversation with each other. It’s helpful to agree ahead of time that you will keep conversation to a minimum to keep the focus on prayer. You might want to meet beforehand or gather to debrief after your walk, but the time you set aside for prayer walking should be focused on just that.
  2. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
    Just as your five senses gather information from your surroundings, remember to keep your heart open to what the Holy Spirit is telling you as well. Perhaps you feel impressed to stop and talk to someone or to go down a new street. Listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit as you go.
  3. Be ready.
    You may encounter someone who needs prayer or is willing to engage in a spiritual conversation with you. Be ready to interact with those around you. Ask your pastor about evangelism training if you haven’t been trained already. Be willing to ask people if you can pray for them. Find out what is heavy on their heart and be ready to listen and pray. If people are not open to letting you pray right there—or if you’re not in an environment where you can openly pray because of government restrictions or persecution—you can still assure them that you will pray for them later.
  4. Be a doer.
    You can’t really learn to prayer walk unless you just do it. Even if you feel apprehensive or you don’t feel that you can wrap your mind around it, go ahead and try it. As your team debriefs, you may learn better ways to prayer walk that you can implement in your next walk. As a team, you can begin marking a map so you can see the areas you have prayer walked. But don’t stop at marking maps. Put your shoes on and put yourself in the neighborhoods.
  5. Be on the lookout for God at work.
    Make your prayer walk an opportunity for thanking the Lord. Be assured that you didn’t beat God into the neighborhood. He has been there working long before you arrived. What an awesome privilege we have to join God as he draws people to himself.

Jenny Odell on neighboring

How to do nothingThis past weekend in my message at Eastbrook, “Living Like Light in the World,” I referenced some words by Jenny Odell from her quirky and wonderful book, How to Do Nothing. If you care about the way the information economy is malforming us and the ways in which we willingly subject ourselves to it, you should read the book. The quotation was an excerpt on neighboring, something we have been talking about at Eastbrook all through this month of May. I shared a slightly shorter version of this because of time, but here is what she wrote on pages 134-135 of the book.

 

In fact, I have experienced this sudden transformation, although thankfully not because of a disaster. My boyfriend and I live in a large apartment complex that’s next to the house of a family of four, and when we’re sitting on our balcony and they’re sitting on their porch, we can easily see each other. The sound of the man listening to dad rock while weeding, or the outbursts of the two young sons (such as fart noises followed by cackling), became comforting background noise for us. But we didn’t learn each other’s names for two years, and we may not have chatted at all if it hadn’t been for the neighborliness of Paul, the dad.

One day Paul invited us over for dinner. Because I hadn’t been in a neighbor’s home since I was a teenager, it was unexpectedly surreal to be inside the house that forms a permanent part of the view from our apartment. The interior of the house went from being an idea to a palpable reality. And just like their view of the street similar to ours, but slightly different-our neighbors were people who we had no reason not to know, but who we probably wouldn’t have met in our usual circles, online or otherwise. That meant that there were things that we had to explain to each other that might have been taken for granted in our respective habitual contexts-and in these explanations we probably all saw ourselves from a new angle. For my part, the experience made me realize how similar the life situations of most of my friends are, and how little time I spend in the amazing bizarro world of kids.

When we arrived back to our apartment, it felt different to me-less like the center of things. Instead the street was full of such “centers,” and each one contained other lives, other rooms, other people turning in for the night and worrying their own worries for the next dy. Of course I had already accepted all of this in an abstract sense, but it wasn’t felt. And as silly as this story may sound to anyone who is used to knowing their neighbors, I find it worthwhile to recount because it bears out what I’ve experienced with other expansions of attention: they’re hard to reverse. When something goes from being an idea to a reality, you can’t easily force your perception back into the narrow container it came from.

[From Jenny Odell, How to do Nothing (Brooklyn, NY: Melville House, 2019), 134-135.]

Barriers to Loving Your Neighbor

Neighbor Series GFX_16x9 Title This past weekend at Eastbrook, as we continued our series, “Will You Be My Neighbor?”, Dan Ryan helped us consider barriers we have to loving our neighbor. Touching upon the key aspects of what it means to be Modern, American, and Evangelical, Dan opened up some very helpful insights through story-telling and study of the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. exploration of what it means to take the great commandment literally.

You can watch Dan’s message below, which I would highly recommend. You can follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast.

Taking the Great Commandment Literally

Neighbor Series GFX_16x9 TitleAs we continued our series, “Will You Be My Neighbor?”, at Eastbrook this past weekend, JC Heiden led us into an exploration of what it means to take the great commandment literally. Jesus once had a conversation:

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

You can watch JC’s message below, which I would highly recommend. You can follow the entire series at our web-site, through the Eastbrook app, or through our audio podcast. JC also shared some ideas about how we can practically step out to love our neighbor, which are originally from the Saturate web site, and I’ve included below the link to JC’s message.

Read More »