Prayer-Walking My Local Campus

Morgan Owen, Campus Ministry Specialist, University of Tennessee, Martin

Before 1999, I had heard various individuals speak on the topic of prayer-walking. To be honest, the concept was vague to me. That was until I experienced the benefits of prayer-walking in November 1999. In preparation for a summer youth mission trip to Seattle, Washington, I traveled to the great Northwest to meet with a church planter in order to discuss ministry opportunities for the upcoming summer. During our discussion over lunch, we developed a strategy to secure two main items of importance: 1) a local park where we would host a sports camp and 2) a local high school where we would house our missions team for a week. Though the church planter was hesitant, we made plans to talk to key individuals to receive the go-ahead.

As we were preparing to leave for the meetings, I asked the church planter to drive by the park so we could walk around and pray for a few minutes. As we walked around the paved path, I began to envision our youth teaching soccer, flag football, basketball, and cheer to a variety of children. The images were vivid and real to me. As I walked, I prayed “Lord, I know you want to make yourself known even more in this area. Make it clear to us today what your will is.”

Following our prayer walk, we attended a meeting with a representative from the park’s office. We shared that we wanted to offer a sports camp to children in the community. The representative loved the idea and approved it on the spot. As we walked out, the church planter exclaimed “WOW!  What just happened in there?” We both agreed it was a miracle that only God was able to provide.

Later that day we traveled to a local high school to request the use of the facility for our summer mission trip. The church planter and I had agreed that we would just ask for the use of a couple of rooms where people could sleep. When we pulled up I asked the church planter if we could spend some time looking over the property and praying. As we prayed I visualized our youth and adults walking around the outside of the facility; leaving for a day of ministry and arriving exhausted after teaching a sports camp. I imagined laughter from our team members and saw images in my mind of the team circling up in prayer at the end of the day. After our time of prayer was over, I told the church planter that I was going to ask for more than two rooms. I explained that I was going to ask for the use of the kitchen area to prepare food, the dining area for the group to eat, the showers in the gym for the group to clean up each day, and the use of the gym for our youth to relax and play basketball. The church planter’s response was “Are you sure? Remember, we aren’t in the South.” I was determined that with God opening up one door, He was going to open other doors for us at the high school.

As we walked into the meeting with the school representative, we shared our plans for a children’s sports camp at the local park. The person loved the idea! I then proceeded to request the various areas of the high school campus for our team. Rooms to sleep in? Check. The use of the kitchen? Check! The use of the dining area? Check!! The use of the showers? CHECK!! Before I could say anything else, the school representative said: “How about we just give you all a key to the gym so the youth can play basketball each evening?”  CHECK!!!!  When the church planter and I got in the car, he said “Morgan. We’re in the Northwest. That doesn’t happen up here. THAT was GOD at WORK!” We spent time together praising God for the opened doors God created.

From that experience, I began using a phrase related to prayer-walking: praying ON-SITE with INSIGHT. God desires to reveal Himself to us as we soak in our surroundings and pray in a SPECIFIC place for a SPECIFIC reason for HIS SPECIFIC GLORY. I want to encourage you that as you consider prayer-walking YOUR LOCAL CAMPUS, recognize that God is working in various ways. REMINDER: When you prayer-walk, you do so with your eyes open as you look for prayer prompts. Let the following approaches help YOU pray with INSIGHT:

  • Allow the things you see lead you in your prayer time for the campus.
  • Consider finding a place on campus to sit and pray over the people you see who pass by. The University Center, athletic building, or the quad (center of the academic buildings) are great places to watch students come and go.
  • Go to the Administration Building to prayer-walk the hallways for the campus leadership and administration.
  • Is the weather bad? How about a prayer drive? Drive around the campus to pray for the students
  • If you do outreach on campus (cookie or hot chocolate handout, for example), consider a prayer strategy as well. Have an individual or two at the outreach specifically pray over the students who the outreach team encounters.

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