Luke 10:29 “But wanting to justify himself he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’”
Why take a prayer walk? Because COVID-19 has released us from exile! It might seem at first glance that we are in exile since COVID-19, unable to gather in our buildings as before. But what if it’s the other way around? What if we’ve been in exile up until now? Cut off from others in our community because we’ve seen ministry as primarily what happens in our buildings? Is God calling us to use this time of pandemic to turn our attention to the people in our neighborhood, to the ones we are called to serve? This summer, the leaders of First UMC have discerned that we are called to connect with the parents of school age children in our community, people who don’t have a church (perhaps they did in the past but since became disconnected or disillusioned). Are some of these folks living just down the block from our church? I invite everyone in our church who likes to walk to take a prayer walk around the church’s neighborhood. Here are the neighborhood prayer walk instructions:
The purpose of this prayer walk is to learn more about the neighbors God has given us in the half-mile radius of the church. Here is a map: FUMC Neighborhood
As you begin, pray “God, thank you for placing our church in this neighborhood. Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to discern you working in the people I encounter. Amen.”
OPEN MY EYES…..
What do you observe? Are there people outside? Kids playing outside? What else do you notice? Be ready to record your observations when you return to church.
OPEN MY EARS…..
Listen to the sounds around you. Do you hear cars, voices, other sounds? What kinds of activities are going on in our neighborhood? Are there people outside? If it feels natural, while practicing social distancing, strike up a conversation with someone you encounter. You may even ask how you might be in prayer for them.
OPEN MY HEART…..
As you walk by houses, pray for the people who live there.
Pay attention to how God is already at work in our neighborhood. What are the signs of people “doing all the good they can?” People helping others? People blessing others?
Is God drawing your attention to any unmet needs? Listen for God to speak in your heart about how as a church we might bless our neighbors.
You may want to pray a breath prayer as you walk. Choose one of the following (or create your own): Guide my steps …… Bring your kingdom …….. Speak Lord, for your servant is listening …….. Here I Am ..…. Not my will but yours …… When I am afraid, I will I trust you ……. Come, Lord Jesus.
Return to church and record your responses on our website:
If you can’t get out to walk right now, please be praying that God will direct us to the neighbors and community members who do not have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ; those who thought they were done with church forever; and the lonely and stressed who need to be strengthened and inspired at this time.