Morgan Smith, Faith Editor
When Dr. Bruce Carlton brought Mission 1.8 to OBU two years ago, he asked one of the groups to start a “prayer walk.”
A prayer walk is when one or more people pray for a certain people group.
“Prayer walking is something that a lot of churches use for evangelism and to reach out to the community, but Mission 1.8 started using prayer walking when it founded,” said Sandi Reichenbach, a Mission 1.8 group leader. “It is a vital part of what Mission 1.8 is.”
The original prayer walk for Mission 1.8 took place in a neighborhood known as Kickapoo Park.
This semester, a new group, led by Reichenbach and junior nursing student, Hannah Adams, is continuing the prayer walks in Kickapoo Park.
“It’s kind of like a preparation where you pray for the people in the community there, to ask the Lord to start working in their hearts and provide opportunities for you to start ministering to the people there,” Adams said.
The walks take place every week on Wednesday.
The group walks around the neighborhood while praying out loud for its residents.
“I think through prayer walking I’ve realized how natural prayer should be, because in a way you’re walking through the neighborhood praying out loud. In a way you’re having a conversation not only with God but with the people you’re walking with,” Adams said.
“It’s been really neat to be able to see that aspect and experience that aspect.”
Reichenbach said that what the groups mainly look for in the walks are people of peace who God has begun to work in, and who can help share the Gospel with the rest of the community.
“Every time I pass someone on these walks, I wave and ask how they are doing, and sometimes they quietly ignore me and walk away, but other times it will start a conversation, where I am able to share with that person that I am here to pray over the community and then I ask if there’s anything specific that I can pray for them,” she said.
“These conversations will sometimes be a one time encounter and other times, I will run into that person again, which ends up building a relationship with that person.”
The response to the prayer walkers has changed since the first group came to the neighborhood.
Adams said that those involved in the previous group experienced harassment when they first started out.
“At first when they first started prayer walking they’d have people following behind them in cars, making remarks at them and people were just very closed off,” she said.
Since then, the neighborhood has opened its hearts to the prayer walkers.
“I have seen hearts soften in the community, and as people get used to seeing our faces in the community as we prayer walk weekly, and remain consistent, they are more willing to let us approach them and have a conversation,” Reichenback said.
“A few people that have also prayer walked in that specific neighborhood have actually been able to create relationships with residents and have started a house church.”
Adams said that in Mission 1.8, Dr. Carlton recommends five prayer ways of praying for when prayer walking: Open Heavens, for the Holy Spirit to work within people’s lives, open hearts, open homes to meet with people for the sharing of the Gospel, open roads for reaching the community and open hands.
“It’s for insight and ways in which you can, with your hands, help the community either through doing community service projects or with get together that you can do to be able to reach the community,” Adams said.
The prayer walks are not just limited to Kickapoo Park, every Mission 1.8 group does a prayer walk, whether it be in the community of Shawnee or on campus.