I hesitate to write on a personal spiritual discipline because of the two-fold danger that (1) it may sound judgmental toward other practices favored by different believers (2) it may come across as “prescriptive.” “Everyone should do it this way, because it’s how I do it.”
I deny both. This is not meant to be either judgmental or prescriptive. In fact, in my sixty-plus years as a believer, I have followed many different paths in the world of personal devotions and prayer. You may likewise try out a variety of spiritual disciplines during your own life journey.
When we first moved to Northridge Villas in 2008, I’m pretty sure we were the youngest couple in the neighborhood. The centerpiece of the neighborhood is a sunken pool (well below street level) with an attached ramada for HOA meetings and other gatherings. From the various side streets, one can see any number of seniors getting their exercise walk each AM. Soon Linda and I were among them.
At first my neighborhood walks were just for physical exercise, although there were periods when I would use the time for reviewing scriptures I had previously memorized. My trips around the pool area became prayer walking because of my (aging) tendency to fall asleep during extended periods of prayer (Yes, Phil was talking about me in his admonition to stay awake last Sunday!).
Since I have found success in praying alertly while ambulating, my format has varied from time to time. Let me tell you about the current iteration.
The first sixty yards from my house to the pool area is the only uphill portion of the walk. I use this time for praise and adoration, by reciting the Te Deum (Book of Common Prayer version)*. As the stately Catalinas come into view in the early dawn light (did I mention that I start at 6:30 AM?), there is something soul-satisfying about intoning the words, “Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of thy glory!”
On the first half lap around the pool, I intercede for global problems and the United States. It’s great to unburden myself of these concerns right away, as I “cast my cares” on Him (I Peter 5:7). The remaining lap and a half around the pool are filled with numerous intercessions, beginning with friends who are ill (including several with cancer treatments in progress). As you can imagine, there have been prayers for various friends as they struggled with COVID recovery.
Included in this list are those who are struggling spiritually. One source for this list are requests made directly to me. I confess: I do haunt Facebook, and my prayer list gets frequent updates from what I read there.
The final sixty yards back downhill is filled with prayers for wisdom for a long list of pastors, teachers, and missionaries. All of these lists are updated as needed.
The net result of Prayer Walking for me is that I can begin the day undistracted, with the peace of heart and mind that come from having greeted the day out in God’s creation, in communion with His Spirit.
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