Prayer is a discipline and yet there is a danger in it becoming simply a dutiful routine. How quickly the time of prayer – our communion with the God of the universe! – can turn into mere motions and mechanics. Perhaps you do not have this struggle, but I find that constantly I must work to keep the quiet place fresh and to keep my heart engaged. This is not the Lord’s fault; He is always fresh and wonderful. But my own mind wanders and my heart grows dull.
Vance Havner once said that a rut is just a grave with both ends knocked out of it! Even our prayers can get “in a rut” and become death to our spiritual vitality. There is nothing more dangerous or draining than having the form and function of prayer without the power.
There should be a beautiful spontaneity to Spirit-filled prayer. Led by the Lord, our prayers will take on new life. One of the first and most important lessons of prayer is that we don’t know how to pray (Romans 8:26). But the Holy Ghost does and He will help us!
“Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
In recent days I have been reminded how helpful it is to take a walk and simply talk to the Lord as you go. Let Christ be your companion and commune with Him as you would a friend. The disciples had this privilege for three and a half years, but we have it every day!
A few days ago I walked through the woods on our farm. Not a hurried run. Not just for exercise (though that doesn’t hurt!). Not going anywhere in particular. And as I walked, I talked. If you had bumped into me along the way you would have thought I had lost my mind I’m sure. But I had the most wonderful conversation with the Lord. We walked and we talked.
There is something good about praying “as you go.” It is the way we should live every day and the only way to walk in love, to walk in light, to walk in the Spirit. Yes, we should be reminded that the Christian life is a walk and it is to be a walk of prayer.
Let me challenge you to get outside, to get out of the normal routine, and to take a walk soon for the purpose of prayer. Here are a few suggestions on how to make it profitable:
- Look around you and thank God for His beauty. This is your Father’s world! He make it all and He sustains it all. Let the wonder of creation lead you to worship the great Creator.
- Read a portion of Scripture before you go and mediate on its truth as you walk. Perhaps just a verse or a great phrase from Scripture. Think on it and allow it to saturate your soul with God’s truth.
- Talk to God out loud if possible. There is something special about using our voice to cry out to God. It helps us to concentrate on Him and it encourages us to truly express our hearts.
- Pray for people and places that you pass. Perhaps you will see someone, or the Lord will bring their name and face to your mind. Take that as a prayer assignment and intercede for them.
- Consider the measure of health and strength God has given you and recommit your body to Him as a living sacrifice. The ability to move is a gift. Give each member of your body back to God with a grateful heart.
- Walk quietly and notice where your mind goes. I am reading a book on prayer that someone sent to me a few days ago. In Where Prayer Becomes Real, the author makes a profound observation that the wondering mind is actually a help to prayer. When your mind wonders it reveals the secret things of your heart and issues that are weighing on your mind. Each one is an invitation to bring that area of life to the Lord. Turn each concern, imagination, and situation into a conversation with the One who cares about every detail of your life.
- Sing. You may not be someone who sings in public, but you can always sing to the Lord! God’s children should always have a song in their hearts.
So take a prayer walk this week. The walk will do you good; the prayer will be even better. “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).