City (or Neighborhood) Prayer Walks
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City (or Neighborhood) Prayer Walks
City Prayer Walks should be done with at least two people, more if at all possible. This is a big area and a large spiritual commitment—share the burden. Some diocese may already have prayer walks organized (again they may call them something different). Start at the parish level and begin an organizing group. Don’t just invite other Catholics. Consider making this an Ecumenical Event. For more on that, please click here. [Link to Ecumenical Harmony page]
City prayer walks are very large spiritual battles. It is more important than ever to begin praying for protection as far in advance of the event as possible. Have others pray for protection as well; especially those who will not be able to do the walk with you.
Why do a City Prayer Walk? Cities are spiritual battlegrounds. There is oppression, depression, and physical and spiritual strife. Crime rates take a toll. Spiritual health is often neglected due to people worrying about where their next meal will come from or if they will have a place to sleep tonight. Praying for our cities is not the LEAST we can do—it is the BEST thing that we can do for our cities. This is God’s battle and we need to bombard Heaven with our praise and petitions for our cities.
Some questions to consider – City Prayer Walk:
Organize. Get your plan together of what you want to do and how you are going to do it. Some questions to consider:
What will your route be?
Who will you invite to join you? What other Catholic or Christian churches will you invite to pray with you for the city? Will you invite other community organizations or other religious groups to join you (Jewish communities, etc…)
Who will be helping you organize this event?
How often will you do these walks—monthly, quarterly, yearly?
Training: Some preparation may be in order. If you have a large group that has never done a prayer walk, consider having a training meeting where you go over what to expect, the walking route, and information about preparation and the spiritual battle. Be sure to include the need for the Sacraments: the need to attend Mass regularly, participate in Reconciliation, and be personally prepared spiritually. There are also the practical matters to discuss: wear good walking shoes, pointing out that this is not a sight-seeing trip, make sure that each person is physically able to walk the route (or have someone push them if they are in a wheelchair). Remind people to plan to eat before the walk. As an organizer, you may want to bring a small first aid kit for emergencies. If your group is larger than 50, you may need a permit. Check with city officials. Also, if you have a large group, you may want to let the police in the area know what you are doing to keep them informed (invite them to join you as well!).
How will you advertise this event? (for example: Catholic newspaper, emails, parish bulletins, word-of-mouth)
The larger the group joining you, the more you may want to consider having a handout of the route, the Scriptures that you will be using written out, and any other key details of your prayer walk. Will you be breaking a large group up into smaller prayer triplets? Do you want every group to use a predetermined scripture passage(s) for the prayer-walking time?
Follow-up. After your prayer walk, plan to meet at a specific location, to discuss how the event went, what God was saying to the group, and when the next prayer walk will be.
How to do a City Prayer Walk:
Open the prayer in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Pray a brief protection prayer. Then praise God! The first few prayer walks should just be about praising God for God’s love, God’s presence, and God’s attention. Praise scatters the enemies of God. Praise will help you break through the hard shell of a city’s strongholds. Close with Praise and Thanksgiving.
After several praise walks, begin to pray for insight and wisdom on how to handle the problems of the city. Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Be ready to follow where God leads!
Then move into a time of asking the Holy Spirit to come and cleanse the city of evil and to replace those cleaned places with His Holy Presence. This is a very important step—never cleanse without replacing. Pray for protection for the city. Pray blessings for the city and the people. Pray that people would begin to get along better. Pray for insight into how to build stronger communities. Pray for the city’s mayor and leadership. Pray for the spiritual centers of the city. Close with Praise and Thanksgiving.
Time Commitment: For smaller cities, it may be possible to do monthly city prayer walks where different routes are chosen for each month. For larger cities, quarterly prayer walks may be more feasible. Whatever time is dedicated to it, plan to pray for protection for yourself and those who are walk with you.
Special Notes: We do not recommend children who are not Confirmed to go on city prayer walks for several reasons. One, city prayer walks are usually, by definition, longer walks. Small children may not be able to walk that far without difficulty. Adults need to be focused on God and their task at this time. This is a spiritual battle zone, not a stroll in the park. Also, spiritual tools are needed for a spiritual battle. Small children are not equipped for this type of warfare.
We do recommend having a diverse group—invite married and single people, men and women, people from different social and economic backgrounds, people from different church communities, people from the community that you are praying for, elected officials, prayer groups, other Christian communities in the area, and local synagogues. Basically, anyone who is willing to stand in the gap for the city in prayer.
Below are some resources that help with this initiative.
Resources about Prayer:
Other resources that help support this initiative: