Monday, July 14, 2008

my prayer walk

Took my favorite walk these days, Sunday, to one of my favorite coffee places and back, again with my wife, Deb, at my side. We were chit-chatting a bit, mainly Deb pointing out this and that on our way. But as I had told her, I use these walks, mainly to pray. Especially so when I'm by myself. And at the halfway point (not quite a mile and a half, over 2.25 kilometers), I get a nice (as in big) cup of good coffee.

The first half of these walks I'm kind of floundering, as I pray to God. Trying to bring myself squarely and completely into his presence through prayer. Of course we can come boldly into God's presence through the blood of Jesus. And we're to come, just as we are, with all our sin, with unresolved issues, whatever it is, we can and should seek to come into God's presence with any and all of that. I do, and I do so regularly.

It seems like as I near the coffee place, I normally am beginning to sense that I'm getting through to God, or that I'm really praying, with some sort of traction. As I head out of the coffee place, on my way back home (often straight back), I begin to sense that God is hearing my prayers, that I am getting some assurance that way, and just as importantly, or as a part of that, I'm getting a sense of direction or of moral, spiritual equilibrium.

Deb, who is used to moving right along (it used to be quite the opposite, as my legs are quite longer than her's) kept getting ahead of me. I go on this walk in a rather contemplative manner, a leisurely pace more for prayer than for exercise. Wanting to really pray, and get a sense that God has heard my prayer. All else is secondary to that for me then. Of course with Deb present, I wanted to hear her as well, and she doesn't seem to need a walk to pray. It seems like a walk helps me. She says she prays just fine in her little room at home.

Are there any of you out there who find that taking a walk, even in a suburban/urban area such as where I live, can help you to pray? We certainly can and do pray wherever we are. But what is it about that special place or way (for Deb, her little room, I suppose) that helps one pray? I do have more thoughts on this. And you can draw them out from what I've shared, already. But how about you? How do you pray in a way or place, in which you can especially get the sense of having done so, so that you have the sense that God has heard, and you have a sense of direction or assurance from him? How does this work for you?

What thoughts from these questions, or related to this post, would you like to share?

14 comments:

NaNcY said...

well, you probably do not want to hear this, but, i think if deb is on the walk, that you should talk with deb, because she probably needs that relationship. i might be totally off base here, but, just my thought.

lately i have had conversation with God when i am alone in the garden, doing weeding. also i find it a good time when i am driving, doing the dishes, doing laundry. all of these are usually places where no one else wants to or needs to be with me. also, very early in the morning in bed or waking in the middle of the night, also, before i go to sleep sometimes when others are busy or sleeping.

it is work, as struggle, for me to "be" with people when they are around, but, i think that if people are around and wanting to relate, that i should relate with them to share the Love of God through me. i think that people need this.

it seems that there really are times when i am alone and times when i am not alone.

i talk to God all the time, and He talks to me when He wants to, however, when i am not around people, it is a nice time to pray and rest in Him.

going on a walk sounds like a good time to be praying and resting. but, it sounds like you would rather have this be your alone time while you walk to the coffee shop.

i have noticed, in the home life around my house, that schedules and life is always changing, so that alone time and time with others can not be kept to an always kind of thing. they are more happenings that come to life. like God does not keep to my schedule, and life does not either. but, still i keep a schedule and then try to pay attention and acknoledge that it is just a frame work for me and not something that i have to stick to when God has other ideas for my attention.

it is like
the point is sometimes the distraction
and
the distraction is sometimes the point.

God does not always see things the way i they they should be or how i plan.

my main frame of reference is to share the Love of God.


that is all of my thoughts for now...

Love and Peace of God to you my brother.

L.L. Barkat said...

I love this. I just love hearing about the two of you making your way, in different ways. But still together. :)

Rachel Mc said...

everything Nancy said goes for me too. I pray/talk to God when I am alone doing something, and I try to keep up the conversation all day. I feel guilty that I don't have a set time for God, but God knows my life is crazy..maybe when I retire I will have a set time to pray.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Good point. Normally I'm talking Deb's ear off anywhere and everywhere. I tend to talk much more than she does. And true on our walks, as well. She did probably outtalk me on this walk, though, but I'm not sure by how much. But I do prefer prayer walks by myself. And I actually have been trying to get us on a back and forth more conversational plane. As you can tell from my blogging, I can be quite wordy, and I'm working on being a better listener, first to God, then to others. Of course the first other I should work at being the best listener to, is my wife.

Wise words, and I appreciate them all. And I agree, as well. Thanks!

Ted M. Gossard said...

L.L.,
Thanks. Yes, it was a nice time. We walked to the library together tonight, chatting back and forth most of the way. Good to do things together, or simply be together, even when doing different things.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Rachel,
Very understandable.

Sometimes I just deeply feel the need to take the walk, and preferably alone. Actually what I described here was the first and only time I can remember, I've actually tried to do my prayer walk with someone present. I thought I could get away with it with Deb, as she can be quite quiet. But she was a bit more talkative than I expected, though she can be that way sometimes.

But yes. I pray, too. Good to be always close to praying, and praying frequently.

Every Square Inch said...

Ted

I suspect I have much to learn from you regarding prayer. Thanks for sharing and being an example

Ted M. Gossard said...

ESI,
I don't know about that. It's one of those things in God, really like all things in God that have to more and more master you, or God mastering you in it- of course we never becoming masters in such things- as I'm sure you'll agree.

We certainly all can learn from sharing with each other. Thanks.

-bill said...

Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your world. Walking is not the best time for me to spend time with God. "Windshield" time works for me, though. I have about a 30 minute commute to the office. With the right music playing, my car becomes a mobile cathedral of sorts.

Blessings,
-bill

sometimespoetry said...

yes, walking is one way that i journey in prayer. i find that movement helps to open me to what the Spirit wants to pray through me. when walking, i experience an expansiveness that really helps me to go down deep with my praying. i also find that it is easier to dislodge burdens and give them over to God by way of the wind and the mountains and the trees and the birds and the canopy overhead.

NaNcY said...

it is almost like our life in Jesus is a prayer in it's self.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Bill,
I hear you. Sometimes I do the same, though with some car pooling lately, alot of different things going on in my car.

But sometimes it just does me good to get away. To walk. By myself, and mostly to myself, then. And to God, of course.

But thanks, too, for a glimpse into your own life on this.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Sometimespoetry,
Nice that you have such scenery in your walks. I appreciate more and more the simple beauty around here. But I do think you're getting at something. Our bodies are not divorced from our spirituality, in fact, indeed a part of that. We need to be sensitive to the Spirit's working in our spirit, and our bodies somehow, can be involved in that. I kind of notice this in Scripture, through the lifting of our hands to God, in prayer; through dancing to the Lord, even through just being still. When we just try to engage God by our minds, it can be harder, it seems. I don't understand much on this, but interesting, just the same.

Thanks for sharing that.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
I hear you on that one. Sometimes a very troubled prayer, as is true at times, in my case (see the psalms, of course).