Prayer is by nature powerful because in prayer we are submitting our hearts, needs and affections on the most powerful being in the entire universe, namely our good God. While prayer is powerful because of the one prayed to, we often lessen its power in our lack of frequency and distraction. This begs the question: How can I become more consistent and focused in my prayer life in order to have a deeper experience of God’s power?
Many have said, “You get better at prayer by praying.” This is certainly true, but we set ourselves up for failure when we go from a scarce prayer life to blocking off large chunks of time for prayer. This same logic works and breaks down for exercise as well. If you want to get better at running you should run, but if you begin with a 5-mile run, you will not become better at running, you will simply become discouraged and eventually give up.
With this in mind, small frequent prayers are better for building up a prayer life. As you pray more and more, the longer and more intimate those prayers will become. Even still, if you are like me, distraction is an issue no matter the length of prayer. I sit down to be with God in prayer and next thing I know, I am thinking about what I must do that day, picking up my phone, or falling asleep.
In this dilemma I discovered the beauty of prayer walking. While prayer walking, I found that my body was active enough, without being over exerted that I was able to remain focused on prayer and not countless other things. Additionally, my phone was tucked away in my pocket or left at home. Finally, if should I run out of things to pray all I had to do was look around to see God’s creation for inspiration to praise or see the homes of people who might not know him and pray for them.
In 1 Timothy 4:8 Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Prayer walking bridges physical benefits with the ultimate reward of spiritual benefits. If you are physically able, prayer walking serves a double purpose. You spend time with God, in the beauty of creation and your community as well as moving your body in a way that helps you steward it well.
As I mentioned in my own experience, prayer walking deepens your appreciation of and worship though creation as you experience the beauty of God’s creation. While no one knows if the Psalmists prayer walked, you can see that the beauty of creation was a regular theme in their beautiful prayers. One example of this is Psalm 19 which begins, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” God’s power and beauty in creation moves us to praise.
Prayer walking also makes you become more aware of the lost around you as you pray for homes in your neighborhood. Prayer no longer becomes just about you and your own home, but becomes about your community and the lost as you are out and about in it. Opportunities to speak to those in your community arise from it as well. Prayer walking brings you face to face with those God has intentionally placed around you. In prayer walking, prayer becomes more missional.
Another benefit is what may have been mere minutes sitting on the couch has transformed into an easy 20 minutes or more. As you do it more often, you are able to add mileage and time in prayer. With this strategy, the principle of praying more to be better at prayer can come to life. Prayer walking can dramatically increase time in prayer. If you want to be more consistent and spend more time in prayer, prayer walking is a great place to start.
The need for prayer is evident as we bring our frailty and needs in front of a sovereign and good God, but it is only good as our commitment and time in it. Prayer walking might be a way to strengthen your prayer life. But even if you are not willing to give it a try or are physically unable, I hope this reminds you and encourages you to realize the importance of prayer and the need to discipline yourself in it. Prayer is a needed in the Christian life, devote yourself to it however you can.
Pastor Austin Dovin