Blog, Mission Ideas, On Mission

Prayer Walking Fun

I love our city and our downtown area especially is really growing and becoming a fun place to be for all. The Chapman Cultural Center, our community arts center, has added great lightbulb sculptures throughout the downtown area (and beyond) and we LOVE discovering them and seeing what all each artist has created. I have taken it one step further though and used it as a fun way to introduce prayer and the importance of prayer walking to the girls.

Prayer Walking is just an intentional time of focus and prayer and simply “praying as you go.” I’ll be honest though, with a four year old and a 20 month old, there wasn’t much focus and the prayers were definitely simple and all over the place. But that is one thing I love about leading our little ones to pray and have a heart for Jesus and others – it doesn’t have to be real complicated. In fact, I think Jesus said faith was pretty simple, like a child. We have to start somewhere so even leading my sweet 20 month old to pray is so very important!

Prayer Walking, now that the weather is warming up and the sun is shining is a simple and fun adventure for all of us – kids and mommies!

1. It helps our little ones and us see and realize that the world is bigger than we are. As we walked from lightbulb to lightbulb, I was able to have great conversations about our town, the people we passed, what the lightbulb reminded us of or brought to mind and our hearts were not thinking about ourselves quite as much for just that little bit.

2. It’s gets them going and outside! And it gets us going too!! So many times it is just easier to sit or stay and while it’s easier, I’m not sure it’s always best. Don’t get me wrong, there are times and days when home is where you just need to be, but being active as children and letting your kids see you be active is huge! And mixing activity and our faith together sends an incredible message that it’s not just a Sunday “thing”.

3. Prayer walking models for them that they can pray anywhere and any which way! A lot of times, I get stuck in the rut of just praying at bedtime or first thing in the morning – prayer walking for us reminds us that we can do that any time, any where and it’s fun!

4. It focuses our hearts and minds. As we are walking and praying, we are usually more intentional and focused and it’s easier to keep our minds settled in to prayer. Often times when I’m having my quiet time at home, I’m distracted by the phone or the book or the dishes or the dirty laundry. When I’m out and about, praying as I go, I tend to stay way more focused!

5. It draws us closer to God’s heart and God’s plan for our city! When we are walking through our downtown area, praying for those that we pass, for businesses and nonprofits who are doing great work, for homeless friends sitting in the park, for growth and construction (cause it’s everywhere downtown) – my heart changes! It gives me more of a desire to be busy about God’s kingdom purposes and not just the mundane household chores or changing diapers and while those things are crucial and highly needed – sometimes we get distracted by the non-eternal things.

Is there a time when you can set aside to get outside in your town and walk and pray? Does your town have any fun art sculptures that you can center your prayers around? What are things you have done to lead your children in their prayers for the world and for their city? Share your experiences and wisdom so that we can all learn from one another!!

If you are a local On Mission Mom, here is a great resource to show you where all the lightbulbs are located, their names and story!

Also there are some fun ideas for prayer walking over on our On Mission Moms Pinterest Prayer Board.

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Praying the Bookends 

Here is a great word on praying for and with our kids from Kylie Kuykendall, who if you don’t already know her, is lots of fun and the life of the party, but more  importantly loves Jesus and teaching her children to love Jesus! Thanks for sharing with us some great reminders as we pray for and with our kids!

Praying the Bookends

My childhood home had two large built-in bookcases that flanked either side of our fireplace in our family room. My grandmother used to look after us while my parents worked and I remember having conversations with my “Mah” about these decorative bookends that were on one of the shelves. “The adventure happens in between those bookends,” she would always tell me. Of course, she was referencing the various books that stood, held in place between those boundaries, but in my (overly) active imagination, I had visions of grandeur that the plots of the books were literally being played out in the space between the bookends.

Now, I’m an adult with two children who both inherited my (overly) active imagination. And when I was asked to put down some thoughts about praying for our children, those bookends kept coming to mind. Initially, I couldn’t figure out why, but as I reflected, I realized that we’ve fallen into a pattern of prayer in our family that mimics the function and fashion of those bookends.

Eric is generally the one who takes our kids to school and drops them off in the mornings. He uses their time together to pray particularly and proactively for their day ahead. He will target an event or classmate and will ask God to use our kids in very specific ways. Often he asks that they participate because we don’t just want to pray FOR them, we also want to pray WITH them so that they can see the fruit of an active prayer life. While we aren’t opposed to asking for general things like safety or good attitudes, we see their time at school as an opportunity for God to use our children to “shine His light” on their respective campus. We believe we are raising up soldiers in a spiritual battle, so we don’t want for our little warriors to only hear us pray defensive prayers.

My time to pray with our kids happens more during the afternoon or evening hours, specifically before they head to bed. During that time, we spend a lot of time thanking the Lord for His provision and protection throughout the day. Again, we like to try to pray intentionally and I attempt to reinforce the truth of Scripture by including specific verses along with the names of our children in our prayer. So, instead of saying something like “Thank you for protecting Karis today at school,” I try to say something like “God, I know Karis may feel like she’s hard pressed on every side, but we know that she’s not crushed. Karis may feel persecuted, but Your word tells her that she’s not abandoned. And while Karis may be set back or pushed down, You promise that she’s not destroyed. So, we thank You that You give us that the promise of that protection and we pray that You would continue to reveal it in very real ways in our lives.”

Our family prayers don’t follow any set formula, but as a rule, we try to use times of prayer WITH our kids and FOR our kids as bookends to our days…Because, after all, “the adventure happens between those bookends.”

 

So, what are ways that you pray for and with your children? Do you pray with them at certain times? How do you pray for them?