Prayer Walking, Sight Seeing, and Fact Finding
Houston, TX (ANS) – In recent years “Prayer Walking” has become an important topic in relation to ministry and mission strategies. We like to emphasize that it is more than prayer, and more than walking. It is an integral part of the “Prayer-Care-Share Strategies.” It can take on many forms of expression, and is an activity every believer can engage in. In this context, “Sight Seeing, and Fact Finding” is about observation and being alert to the needs and interest of the people we connect with in our normal traffic patterns.
Sometimes, simply greeting people, making a comment or asking a question can connect us with people and begin a relationship. As followers of Jesus, we should have an awareness that God is at work in all places and at all times. When we realize we are “On Mission with God,” we can expect to often have some divine appointments, those spontaneous and natural witness and ministry opportunities. The late Manley Beasley use to say, “Find out what God is up to, and get in on it.” Henry Blackaby put is this way, “Identify the activity of God, and join Him.” Sight Seeing and Fact Finding are ways of doing just that.
Fact Finding for Discovering the Activity of God
Several years ago I had the opportunity of being part of a fact finding delegation to a foreign country. On that trip our group met with and interviewed business and church leaders, government officials and others. It was during a time when the news media was not giving accurate coverage of what going on in that region of the world. It was a great learning experience and also insightful regarding ministry and mission strategies.
When you think about it, each of us can and should be on a continuous sight seeing and fact finding mission. Wherever we go, we can be in a spirit of prayer, we can observe people, listen and learn, and make spiritual connections. A key factor is being aware of our spiritual union with Christ, recognizing His presence and power that is available to us. As ambassadors of Christ, we are to be salt and light to those around us.
The Solution to Removing Barriers
I am often around those who are struggling with spiritual growth issues. Many true believers are often trying and striving to be mature and become fruitful in their witness and ministry to others. However, there are often barriers to entering into the fulness of life in Christ and living the abundant life He has promised in His Word. The answer to this dilemma is no secret, and the solution has been expressed in many different ways over a long period of time.
Ultimately, it takes the Spirit of God to reveal to us that it’s “not I, but Christ” living in us that is the key to abundant living and fruitful ministry, according to Galatians 2:20. There are actually many other places in Scripture that affirm this truth. God faithful to use many different ways to show us the futility of our own self effort. For me, it was during the Jesus Movement of the early 1970s. The Lord used several different individuals in my life. One of those was the late Major W. Ian Thomas, founder of Torchbearers International, and author of “The Saving Life of Christ” and other books.
A Season of Spiritual Transformation
It was a season of transformation for many of us, especially among college students and young people. After experiencing that reality, I began to actively share with others and see more people come Christ, just accidently, than I had ever been able to produce before on purpose. It was a discovery of the difference between my human effort on His behalf, and experiencing His work through me. Actually, it’s the outworking of the indwelling Christ that enables us to be fruitful and experience His reproducing life through us.
When we consider God’s will and purpose and why we are here on planet earth, we must think of the mission we are on and the mission field we live in. A pastor friend likes to emphasize that we are to reach our neighbors, our networks and the nations. It’s the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that makes that possible. The Lord has actually brought the nations to us here in North America. Where I live in the Houston area, we have in our neighborhood families from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Literally, He has brought the nations (people groups) to our doorsteps.
Being Salt and Light Everywhere
Wherever we happen to be, whether in our neighborhood, a shopping mall, an airport or on the job, we can and should be salt and light to those around us. We can all engage in prayer walking, sight seeing and fact finding. When we do so, we can trust that the Holy Spirit will connect us with people who need the Lord. As a follow up to our Orality Training Workshops, we sometimes actually go out to where people are and show them how that works. People are often amazed and surprised at how many people are open to having spiritual conversations when approached in an appropriate manner. It has been said that it’s easier caught than taught. We need teaching and proclamation, but demonstration is also important. Word and deed, show and tell, integral mission are all ways of expressing how the Gospel needs to be heard and experienced.
In the Orality Movement, we emphasize that it’s not enough to proclaim the Gospel, people need to hear it, understand it, process it (usually in community), remember it and pass it on. Reproducibility and multiplication are vital for lasting and far reaching impact. At the recent ION North America Regional Conference in Toronto there were lots of examples of the Oral Art Forms that are fruitful practices for communication of the Gospel, making disciples, racial reconciliation, community development and many other applications.
For more information on Orality resources, training opportunities, and other events, visit – www.orality.net or www.water.cc/orality.