By Cherie Werner
The National Day of Prayer is the first Thursday in May. There's a new theme every year! Plan a prayer event while there's still time!
Going on a prayer walk is a great way to share God’s love with others on this special day. Take your church families, school children, or Sunday school group into your surrounding community and pray for your neighbors.
Set a route.
- If you are expecting a large group, plan for several different routes.
- If only one route is possible, break into smaller groups and stagger your departures or have some of the groups go in reverse.
- Do you want your group to stay on foot or is it possible to send some groups in cars to other areas? Other possible locations for prayer walks include shopping centers, city centers, schools, workplaces, and other local churches. If you plan to go inside specific locations, be sure to secure the necessary permissions.
Print out a map.
- Give one to each group. Put an “X” where the group should stop to pray.
Make a list of prayer points.
- Give participants ideas of how to pray and what to ask for in their prayers. Your list might include prayers for families and marriages; students and teachers; the sick, the lonely, shut-ins, and elderly people; city leaders, government officials, police officers, and firefighters. Encourage your group to also offer prayers for faith and spiritual renewal, asking that God would send the Holy Spirit into the hearts of those in your community.
- Encourage participants to pray in their own words, but also create a few printed prayers to help those who feel uncomfortable doing so.
Gather prayer resources.
- You may wish to give each group a few resources to hand out as they walk along their prayer route. CTA offers a Parents Pray with Hope booklet, Scripture cards that include prayer starters, and a prayer magnet.
The day of the prayer walk:
Before you begin walking, come together as a large group.
- Hand out maps and your list of prayer points.
- Begin with a short devotion pointing out God’s promises about prayer. Remind your walkers that prayer is powerful and effective. Read James 5:16 and 1 John 5:14–15 to the group. Pray as a large group before you set out. Ask God to open your eyes and to give you his perspective. Ask for his insight into how to pray for the needs of your community. Pray for God’s protection, guidance, and courage.
As participants walk, encourage them to pray out loud but also encourage silent prayer as they walk along the route between stops.
- As groups stop to pray, encourage them to share what they are doing with any onlookers who might be watching or listening. If someone outside your group shows interest, don’t be afraid ask for specific prayer requests or to pray with someone on the spot.
- If your group is stopping at specific places to pray, consider leaving a prayer resource with a handwritten card that says, “We prayed for you today.” Include the name of your church or school and information about how they can find help if it is needed.
End the walk together with a prayer.
- Gather as a large group to talk about what you saw, what you felt, and what you experienced. Talk about what you might do in response to what you saw. Are there other ways your church can be a blessing to your community? Is God calling your group to do more? Ask God to show you the next step.
How will your church celebrate the National Day of Prayer?
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