One of the practices that characterizes most of the church planting movements I'm familiar with is an emphasis on prayer walking. It is a core component of the process that results in rapidly multiplying disciples. If the Lord leads us to start a church in a certain neighborhood, we do well to prepare the ground by prayer walking.
When we started a church in the low income housing projects, the first thing we did was to prepare the ground in prayer.
In Matthew 12, Jesus gives an illustration in his defense against an attack by the Pharisees. They accused him of casting out demons by the power of the devil. He replied, "How can anyone enter the strong man's house and carry off his property unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his goods" (v. 29).
Who is the strong man Jesus refers to here? It is Satan or one of his minions. What are his goods? It's the people who he's taken captive.
In Joshua 1:3, God tells Joshua that He will give him every place where he sets his feet. There is something about praying "on site with insight" that prepares the way for the Lord to come.
What does prayer walking consist of?
- We survey the land. When Moses sent the spies into the land of Canaan, he was effectively doing a spiritual survey of the land before they went in (Num. 13:1-25). We walk the area taking note of anything of spiritual significance and asking the Lord for wisdom and understanding as to what is going on in the area.
- We ask the Lord for his plan for the area.
- We establish a prayer team: Jesus sent out the disciples two by two, praying as they went.
- We physically walk the area. As we do so we are praying that God will reclaim the area in the following way:
- We praise and thank God and bless the area and the people who live there. We bless everyone who impacts the area—the police, the education system, etc.
- We pray for the welfare of the people who live there. In Jeremiah 29:7, the people of Israel were told to pray for the peace and prosperity of Babylon, even though it was the land where they were held in captivity.
- We demolish the strongholds that are there. Jesus has all authority, and he has given us that authority to bind the demonic powers that hold the people who live in that area. We use spiritual weapons to overcome these demonic powers.
- We repent for the problems of the area. We are priests, and as such, can pray for the redemption of the people of the area.
Psalm 2:8 says, "Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession."
Adapted from Felicity Dale's blog, Kingdom Women. Felicity Dale is an author and an advocate for women in the church. She trains people to start simple, organic house churches around the world.