Since coming to Northampton to help plant imagine/Northampton I have grown to see the value of prayerwalking on the streets of this city. I am finding there is a clear correlation between how connected I am (both in feeling and action) to this city, and how much I prayerwalk. Here is what I have discovered so far:
1. By walking around the city as I pray and observing its people, rhythms, visual artifacts (signs, grafitti, etc.), and eccentricities, I am able to better understand how Northampton sees itself and then pray with alacrity and wisdom.
2. As I walk, God talks to me about how to pray for a certain neighborhood, business or person I walk by. Sometimes he is very specific; always he desires to be "found. "It is for freedom" that he desires to free Northampton.
3. As I take more prayerwalks, I better sense how God wants to transform this city and its diverse people through the Kingdom and its redemptive values. I understand how much he loves Northampton and longs to see it "open the eyes of its heart."
4. As I walk, I become more and more aware of the hard spiritual darkness that subtly enshrouds the city in oppression, and blindness. I notice the cruel effects of sin, addiction, mental illness and spiritual depression in the eyes of people I look at. Many are trapped and have given up. They have a liberator or champion, but don't know it at all.
5. As I walk, I feel less distant from the people around me-less disconnected from my neighbors and the people I walk by and live amongst, less afraid of them. They have become more human, less a face and more a person with a heart and soul like me - with dreams and hopes, pain and promise.
6. Through my prayerwalks I am changing: I long more and more to make a real difference here. I want people to know and surrender to this God who is immeasurably more than their deepest hopes and strongest longings. I want to know how near he is to them, how forgiven they are, and how much he treasures them. I want them to see Jesus and be captivated.
7. As I pray and walk my love for God grows because I see the goodness of his heart and the greatness of his promise. I see the grandeur of his Kingdom where the lost are found, the broken are healed, and the forgotten ones are given a true place of belonging.
8. My prayerwalks are where I feel the most hope that real Kingdom change can happen in Northampton in my lifetime. Praying keeps me focused on the mission and the potential. It makes the "not-yet," feel "but soon, maybe even today."
Anyway, I hope you who read this blogpost will be inspired to get out and prayerwalk your own neighborhoods, towns and cities. Maybe commit to once a week for 6 months and get others in your family, small group or church to do the same. You will not regret it.
Then let me know how things are going. I really want to hear from you about this. It always encourages me when you respond:
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