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It’s a giant step beyond America’s walking pastime

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BP)–Although “America is walking all over the place,” Randy Sprinkle noted, “There is a greater movement — and it is walking and praying.”
The director of the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board’s international prayer strategy office led a “Prayer Walk Practicum,” sponsored by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, at Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock, May 2-3.
As the 80 practicum participants prepared to go prayer walking two by two on Saturday morning in the area surrounding the church, Sprinkle emphasized the Spirit of God would be their guide.
During a debriefing session afterward, participants told of finding new homes in which Immanuel members could minister. They also cited the need to pray for the men whose wives and children were living in the Dorcas House, a home for battered women and children. Others prayed with a leader who was participating in a Boy Scout jamboree on the State Capitol lawn as well as a grandmother who was on her way to visit a grandchild in Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
The group also prayed on the steps of Immanuel, for the congregation as well as for ministry opportunities available to the church pointed up during the prayer walk.
Evaluating the morning’s prayer walk, Charles Lewis, pastor of First Baptist Church, Corning, remarked, “I feel like God used all of our efforts this morning to reap a harvest for him.”
In June, the growing prayer movement will undergird the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. A June 12-13 prayer walk will be coordinated by the Dallas Baptist Association, with information available by calling (214) 324-2803; fax, (214) 324-2809; e-mail, [email protected]
Sprinkle recounted that his first prayer walks had been as a student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas and again while he and his wife, Nancy, were Southern Baptist missionaries in Ethiopia.
“Prayers were answered in both instances even though the walks occurred before any materials had been developed on the subject,” Sprinkle noted.
Those early experiences led him to research the Bible on prayer walking. “Since I knew God was the author and initiator for these, I began the research and immediately found the disciples walking with Jesus, begging their model and mentor, ‘Lord, teach us to pray,'” Sprinkle said.
“I further discovered Abraham, Enoch, Noah and Adam and Eve were others where the words ‘walking with God’ were used.
“It seems that after a great long circle in history, God has come again asking men and women to come and walk with him in total obedience,” Sprinkle declared.
“However, I fear we are still in the cocoon stage, daily rushing to a traffic jam so we can crawl to work, leave work late and frustrated, on our way home pick up a pizza and a video and then hit the garage button to cocoon in our homes.”
Sprinkle emphasized prayer walking is not a fleeting fad but an intercessory prayer movement God is using among Christians to help prepare for the gospel to spread into the last frontiers of the world. “God is calling out the church to leave religious activities and go into the land, sending intercessors to open the way,” he said.
Prayer walking, Sprinkle explained, includes a welcome from God, worship and spiritual warfare. Noting God “extends his arms to us,” he stated, “As we extend ours to him we are reaching out with one hand to God and reaching out with the other to the world. As we do this, we are depicting a supernatural act of love and a picture of a servant life in which we are being molded in Christlikeness.”
He said intercessors are involved in active worship as they go from the sanctuary into the world. As they go, Sprinkle added, God comes to them with all that he is, giving them the power to reach a darkened world.
“As the army of God marches into occupied territory, it encounters warfare on a level that seems to be unprecedented,” Sprinkle warned. “Prayer walking is not a stroll in the park; it is praying on site with an unusual insight for those who are captives in a darkened world.”
Sprinkle emphasized all Christians should begin their day bowed before God with an obedient and responsive heart. “As we let the Holy Spirit become our guide, we will then go out into the darkened world to set the captives free, using the Bible as our guide and God as our power surge,” he said.
Sprinkle concluded the practicum by explaining that prayer works, prayer is work, prayer leads to work and prayer is the work. “It is evangelism, ministry and all the church is about, spurred forward on a highway of prayer that will lead to new ways of involving people and responding to all the needs which God will bring,” he said.

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  • Millie Gill