As children, many of us were taught to pray with hands folded, heads bowed, eyes tightly closed. Members of City Reformed Church, a Christian Reformed urban church plant in Milwaukee, Wisc., pray together with their eyes wide open as they run or walk the streets of their church neighborhood.
Rebecca Vanregenmorter, a member of the church and organizer of the prayer walks, said, “This past year, our church was fortunate to be able to purchase our own building in one of the busiest parts of Milwaukee. As we were moving to this new neighborhood, we desired to get to know its streets and people. . . . The only way to do this was to get out on the streets!”
The group, which consists of approximately 12 people ranging in age from 14 to 40-something, meets one evening a month. Participants split up based on their desired walking or running pace. While running or walking the streets, they pray for the people and businesses they pass and share prayer requests with one another. Participant Mikayla Larson said, “Sometimes we pray one at a time; sometimes we will all pray at the same time. . . . We pray that God would have his way in the city of Milwaukee, that he would unite his church in Milwaukee and bring peace to the city.”
The prayer walks and runs help church members understand the needs of their community. “By getting into our community, we are hoping to understand what is out there and will be trying to meet a need that is not yet being filled or better support ministries that are working to meet the needs of the community,” said Vanregenmorter.
“In anticipation of our future together, by praying as we go, we also ask God to prepare ourselves and prepare our neighbors for future deeper encounters with one another,” said Joyce Tang Boyland. “We're excited to see where God will take us on this adventure.”
The prayer group continues to meet monthly, year round, in sun, rain, or snow.