Since my first post a while ago about my first prayer walk, I’ve done several around my neighborhood, but haven’t had time to sit and write about them. I’ve found it peaceful and at times gut-wrenching. It’s great for getting me out of my home, out of my comfort-zone, and mostly, out of my own experience and into the experience of others. Here’s what I’ve found works for me:
- I look at each door and imagine if the occupants would allow Jesus in. If not, I pray they open their doors to Him. If so, I thank God for that home. (I’ve found very few homes that feel open, and the ones that do feel open often surprise me.)
- I pray for help where homes need it – where things look broken, falling, in need of cleaning or repair.
- I try to get a feel for each street and pray based on that feeling. Happy street? – May the joy come from Jesus. Fearful street? – May they find comfort in Jesus. etc.
- I pray for the gospel to be preached clearly and correctly in every church I pass and that the doors be opened and people to be drawn in.
- I pray every time I pass a bench or table that conversations would be deep rather than superficial; that Christians would not be ashamed of the gospel, and that the would be brave and bold to share.
- I pray for protection over schools, as well as boldness for students to speak about their faith (and for opportunities for teachers to do so safely).
- I pray to know my neighbors, and to open my home and be a light.
- I walk fairly quickly to cover ground, but am not worried to slow down when I feel certain houses need extra prayer. These houses have included: lukewarm Christians, people on the fence about becoming Christian, powerful Christians, or people with special problems (fears, money, anxiety, whatever emotion seems to pour out of the house).
I’ve found it freeing and incredible to know the power of prayer and to be able to walk through the streets in my neighborhood with a purpose. I love to be able to walk by homes and know that each and every person is important. It’s amazing to feel the differences of each street and to know that no matter if a street is sad, friendly, unique, happy, or lonely – they all need Jesus. Prayer walking has made a tremendous difference in my personal prayer life and the way I look at our community, and I’m grateful for the experiment.
My Brother-in-Law went in for MAJOR surgery on weds to remove cancer (which had been in remission for ten years). My husband needed to go to work, but I planned to spend the day (and night if necessary) with my Sister-in-law and Mother-in-law in the waiting room. I worked it out for my mom to watch my daughter, picked up snacks and other fun stuff for the waiting room, and was ready to go. Tuesday morning came (the day before the surgery), and my husband started throwing up.
I waited the day out to see if it was just something he ate or if it was the flu. He continued throwing up all day and feeling ill, so heavy-hearted, I called my SIL and let her know. I told her that while I wasn’t sick, my husband was. We thought it might be food, but if she didn’t want me to come, just in case, I wouldn’t. She asked me not to come. I agreed, and told her that in her place, I’d probably say the same.
Wednesday came and my husband was still sick (it was the flu). It’s Saturday now and I’m still fine, as is our daughter. My BIL went in for surgery prep around 5:30 am and started the surgery around 9:30. It was incredibly difficult sitting at home doing nothing. I didn’t have my daughter to distract me. Instead, I had a sick husband sleeping on the couch. I could have done some work, but I was physically tired and mentally drained. So I sat and waited.
Waiting was SO hard. I felt so useless. I wanted to help. I wanted to sit there with my SIL. I wanted to bring her food. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to provide comforting words. I wanted to just be there for her. It was so hard to sit at home and do nothing. Well, nothing but pray. And while praying is great, is wasn’t something tangible – especially for people who aren’t sure if prayer works. I was frustrated, angry, sad, and antsy.
I took a shower to clear my head and I realized that sometimes the very best thing to do in some situations is to respect another’s wishes and to stay away. And pray. I needed to not underestimate the power of prayer – not toss it away so lightly.
More importantly, I realized that this my method for sharing the gospel, though I didn’t realize it. I want SO BADLY to sit my friends and family down who don’t know Jesus and just tell it to them straight, but that’s not what they want – not right now. So I respect their wishes, I wait, and I pray. Sometimes I feel just as useless as I did on Wednesday, sitting at home away from my SIL, but my lack of presence spoke to her then: that I respect her wishes, and am thinking about her and praying. I hope that my lack of pressure on family and friends speaks just as loudly: that I respect who they are, refuse to change myself, and I pray for them. It’s a fine line to walk as I repeatedly remind them of what is important to me without cramming it down their throats. I don’t ever want to deny my faith, ignore it or not share when opportunities arise, but I will wait for my family and friends to lead (and more importantly, for the Lord to lead), because sharing the gospel isn’t about me telling people in my time frame, it’s about them hearing the word when they are ready. (Just like my BIL’s surgery wasn’t about me sitting with my SIL, but her needing the support that was in her and BIL’s best interest.) And prayer? Prayer is a great way to figure out when the correct timing is, and prayer makes me feel much more proactive.