A story from the Arabian Gulf
The Lord got my attention through two seemingly unrelated things.
“Look, Ben,” my doctor said to me. “I’m going, to be honest with you. You’ve got to change some habits to make improvements in your blood pressure and heart health.”
“OK. Tell me what I need to do. I have promised my wife that I’ll do whatever you tell me I have to do.”
“You need to walk at least 30 minutes a day and drop 10 percent of your body weight.”
At the same time, I was getting tired of constantly feeling guilty for not praying more for the city where I live. God brought to mind Jeremiah 29:7
Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you to exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you will prosper.
I decided to kill two birds with one stone and begin what a fellow worker had taught me many years earlier: Prayer walking. Rather than just walk, I would fill my walking with purpose and learn to love and bless the city we now call home.
It has certainly required a commitment and discipline, but by God's grace, I've been able to set my face to do it. I have missed my prayer walk only a handful of days over the past four years (my natural stubbornness has probably served to keep me on track, too). I have now walked nearly every street in our city seven times over!
A couple of years ago, God seemed to be prompting me to issue a challenge to see whether people in other cities wanted to join me for an hour a day. I've repeated a similar challenge several times, and colleagues and friends around the world have responded every time. Everyone from my own cousin to some of the brothers that we worked with in other countries have joined. In the last month, 90 people from more than 20 countries joined, prayer walking in their own cities in many different languages.
Here's what I wrote in the latest invitation for others to join me:
We will be walking for at least 30 minutes each day (or 1 hour every other day) and praying for God to make a move in our city. If your city is anything like mine, it really needs a move from God to bring a season of healing and peace and transformation.
Each day, I bring a word (usually with an associated song) to help them along in their prayers. Personally, I have recently been praying for a new understanding of the sheer depth and breadth of the love of God for my city and its people. Most of the months that I've issued a challenge like this 75 people or so have joined in. A few have now issued their own prayer walk challenges and are inviting others in their own context.
For me personally, the main effect of my prayer walking has been on my level of hope and vision for my city. As I walk the streets each day, God is working in me and stretching my faith to believe that my city is well within his reach.
Could you begin prayer walking and praying for the Lord to move among your neighbors where you live? If so, why not invite others to join you?
Ben and his family are reaching out to migrant workers in the Arabian Gulf. His prayer life has been transformed, and happily, his heart health is also much improved!