I’ve been thinking and reflecting lately about The Point and the success we had over Christmas with our hampers for schools and emergency accommodation. I was talking with our missions sector leaders and saying how incredible it was that our plan for 80 hampers for QP Hotel and GCM turned into over 400, and Mark Henderson remarked that actually, it started even smaller than that.
He told the story of how he and Jane, and Linda and myself had met for a prayer walk outside The Point early in May last year, and when we arrived there were police cars and an ambulance outside QP Hotel, so we stopped across the street and just prayed there for a while, interceding but also just seeking God’s heart for the hotel. And we felt that we should be engaging more, so I began dropping in with some chocolates and an encouraging note every couple of Fridays and making an effort to learn the front-of-house staff names. Over time we built connections, we had a desire to bless them at Christmas time, and when the opportunity came, we had something to expand. Without the prayer in May, our Christmas work would have looked really different, but if you’d asked me in May what the prayer walks would have accomplished, I couldn’t have told you.
Seeking God’s heart
At the moment the group prayer walking from The Point has had to stop, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop walking! Or praying! Lots of people do prayer walking in different ways, and I’d like to share how I like to do it, and how I tend to lead the prayer walks from The Point. For me, prayer walking is about seeking God’s heart for the spaces and places I’m in. So as I walk, I have a few practices to help me.
First, I breathe more consciously and attune myself to God’s presence, which can sound a little odd, but just means I look for the love, mercy, beauty, and grace around me. A few big slow breaths and looking up and around usually does it. That way I’m ready to hear from God.
Then I practice looking at things from a perspective of love and compassion and curiosity. Where does that alley lead to? Have I ever been down that street before? How does God see these people or this street? On our prayer walks at The Point, we practice this by often walking new routes and exploring Govanhill.
And lastly, I express thankfulness for what God has made and where He has placed me, and ask expectantly to see where God is working and where I can join in.
And that’s it. It’s mostly silent, in my head stuff. When we go out as a group, sometimes we pause and someone prays out loud, or we pray around in a circle, but mostly we walk, and the act of walking in the presence of God is prayer in itself. I’ve been thinking of prayer walking as a thread of prayer that gets trailed around the neighbourhood like a ball of wool, and since I got this job I’ve been praying on my walk to The Point, and now I think I’ve knitted a nice prayer blanket through walking all the streets in Govanhill.
Presence, Perspective, and Expectation
So, I’m thinking, can we do this together, as a church, with hope and faith that God absolutely works through people putting themselves into their communities in love? I would love to see prayer walking adopted as a practice and rhythm of life for QP. When you next head out for a walk, try those three practices of prayer walking; Presence, Perspective, and Expectation, and let me know how it goes. We’ve already seen the difference it can make.