By Kathryn Hillis
If you are new to the neighborhood (or even if you aren't), you can
experience more success in your prayer walks by meeting your neighbors and
learning about needs that exist. Have a get-acquainted casual get-together. You
can provide the food or make it potluck where everyone brings an item. Though
all may not participate, this helps establish your reputation in the area as a
source of spiritual help. Get acquainted in other ways by greetings and casual
small talk when mowing the lawn, working in the garden or walking the dogs.
Nothing pushy-you may just mention a personal experience. For example, if
someone inquires about your recent illness or surgery, this is a great opening
to relate how God impressed your friends to call from another state to pray for
your recovery and how God answered those prayers.
Show interest in others' lives. If someone has poor health,
volunteer your own health equipment you no longer use (canes, crutches).
Inquire about the son in college, the recovery of a daughter who had an
accident, the type of fertilizer that caused the plants to bloom so profusely.
Discuss things close to a person's heart and open the door for him or her to
express a need.
Start a home group for Bible study. Let elderly couples know they
can be picked up or rotate the group meetings in their (and others')
Look for unusual targets for prayer. Besides the usual neighbors,
what about the house on the corner that engages in questionable practices? It
can be prayed out of operation. What about the family who is hostile to
everyone for no reason or any reason? Prayer is powerful in pulling down
strongholds even in individual lives.
Before any ministry of praying around the neighborhood, one must ask
for God's guidance-especially in praying for those who have been reluctant to
respond. Continue to reach out to them and ask God to direct you in praying for
the needs in each home, for the ones who are suffering, for whoever is in need
of comfort or financial help, and for those seeking God's purpose for their
Be aware, when you begin your walk, that you are on an assignment
from God, and He often gives the most seemingly absurd directions, makes the
most unexpected appointments with people He wants you to encounter and points
the prayer warrior to highly unlikely places.
Ill at ease at the thought of witnessing to strangers, Becky didn't
promise anything definite. On the way home she wrestled in her mind about going
door to door. Then she got an idea, or perhaps it was a compromise. Her street
was in a large circle instead of block shaped. I'm going to go around my
circle and pray for the people in every home. I can do that!
This wasn't as easy as Becky thought. About eight o'clock the next morning
she went out her door, deciding to walk before the day became too hot. There
had been a light rain the night before. Now the freshness that can only come
after a spring rain greeted Becky, energizing her. But when she thought of her
mission, panic assailed her and she hesitated, thinking of many reasons why
this plan wouldn't work. I'm a newcomer to this neighborhood. How can I
possibly know anyone, or what their needs are, or how to pray? Then with a
leap of faith she glanced up at the clear, bright sky, "God, please give me
courage and direct my prayers."
As Becky slowly walked down the street, she mentally put faces on invisible
families behind the doors of the houses. She asked God to see the hurts, heal
any possible wounds, remove any barriers that existed between them and Him and
supply the needs in their lives in such a way that He would become real in
Before Becky had prayed for half of the occupants of the 55 houses around
the circle, her prayers had become monotonous and lacking in sincerity because
of repetition. Then she noticed one house had a "For Sale" sign in the yard.
She vaguely remembered seeing it there for some time. For no apparent reason a
sense of grief gripped her heart and tears came into her eyes.
Why am I crying? Becky scolded herself as she stood in the street
overcome by the unexplained emotion. There must be someone who lives there
that you are very concerned about, God. She prayed for the home-owner that
God would meet this unknown need. Then with a boldness totally alien to her,
she charged up to the door to follow up on this strange urging of the Lord.
A thin elderly man answered the door and greeted Becky. "Hello. My name is
John. Can I help you?"
Becky couldn't speak. Worse than that, sobs gripped her again leaving her
totally embarrassed before this person who didn't know anything about her or
John reached out hesitantly and patted Becky's arm. "Are you
Finally, Becky managed a quavering voice. She told John her purpose for
walking around the circle, and that God wanted him to know He loved him very
much. At her words, the face before her crumpled also. "The Lord bless you, my
dear, for your concern."
Then he told her his problem: "I'm very ill. I'd like to move back to New
York where I lived most of my life until my wife and I came south hoping to
find some relief for her health problems in a warmer climate. Now she's gone,
and I'm alone. We never had children. But I can't leave until I sell my house.
So far, no one has shown an interest."
Becky's heart was breaking with compassion for this kind person and his
needs. With a burst of courage she asked, "Would you like to pray with me about
"Oh, yes!" was the immediate response.
Becky reached out and took the frail, trembling hands, and they prayed
together. Afterward she gave him her phone number and pointed to where she
lived around the curve of the street. "I'll check on you to see how you're
doing, and you can call me if you need anything."
The next morning Becky received a call from John. "I know it's early, but I
couldn't wait to tell you. The realtor came after you left and brought a man to
look at my house. He's buying it. He even gave me a generous check to hold the
Now I can leave. It had to be God's doing. Thank you so much for taking the
time to pray for me." John's voice was excited and strong as if infused with
Becky wished John well in his affairs and his move back "home." Hopefully he
would have many years to tell his friends how God sent someone with a message
of His love, and reached out His hand to help John when he felt alone in a dark
valley. Now John knew he was never truly alone.
Becky, encouraged by her meeting with John, continued praying around the
circle from where she had stopped at John's house.
Her experience with John made her more sensitive to others' needs and divine
appointments that could happen at any time.
Becky's daily prayer walks led to many discussions about her faith, and she
was able to share Christ with her neighbors.
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