“Oh No! I Wouldn’t Know What to Say!”

“So, what exactly do you missionaries do?” *Betty asked.

*Lisa was surprised by the question. The two women had struck up an immediate friendship when they met in language class. Betty had retired to the same South Asian country where Lisa and *Travis had recently moved to become full-time missionaries with BEYONDBetty’s question was a surprise because she had just mentioned that she had put her trust in Jesus 50 years earlier and had been a faithful church attendee ever since. Betty said she knew many missionaries but had no idea what they did. No one had ever explained mission work to her.

“Well,” Lisa stammered, “our focus is to reach people here who have never heard the name Jesus, and therefore have never had an opportunity to say yes to Him.”  

“What does a typical day look like?” Betty pressed.

“There is no typical day, but one constant is prayer. Learning to “pray without ceasing” is not just wishful thinking. We pray a lot and schedule prayer time into our day. We spend several hours praying for our supporters, an hour each week praying for our national partners on our team, and lots of prayer for the people around us. One of the ways we pray is to prayer walk.” 

Betty didn’t know what that was. So Lisa explained that they simply walk through a local neighborhood, or sit in an open-air food court, and pray quietly for those around them. Lisa and Travis were already planning on prayer walking in a nearby village. Lisa invited Betty to come along.

“Oh, no!” Betty replied. “I wouldn’t know what to do or what to say.” (She imagined that they would be loud and obvious and thus be offensive.)

“We don’t stand on a corner and proclaim aloud,” Lisa said. “It’s all very low-key.” She went on to explain that they take Scripture verses on small note cards and quietly pray those verses as they walk along. “People looking on just assume we are conversing with each other.” 

Betty agreed to go. 

A few days later, they walked past traditional houses as they read Bible verses and prayed what the Spirit brought to their minds. “There’s a house with a tricycle in front,” Lisa said. “Let’s pray for wisdom and patience for those parents as they raise their children.” “There’s an elderly woman hanging laundry on the line,” Travis pointed out. “May she have dreams and visions of Isa al Masih, Jesus the Messiah,” he prayed. Betty relaxed, and soon she was praying too. 

Following a bend in the path, they met a woman hanging newly ironed shirts on her front door. They stopped to chat with the woman and her family and had a pleasant conversation over glasses of iced tea. Lisa asked if they could pray for them. “Yes, please do! And come back again soon for tea,” the woman invited.

Betty was delighted with the morning. It wasn’t at all like what she had first imagined when she heard Lisa mention prayer walking, Betty had to admit that prayer walking can be easy and enjoyable, as well as useful in God’s kingdom.

*pseudonyms used

“Those are not ancestors, but spirits who are lying to you.”

After arriving in the general area of a country where Tai Lu people live, *Bob and his team checked into a hotel and rented some motorcycles.  They were from a closely related people group and wanted to share the Good News with the Tai Lu people. After a night’s rest, they prayed together and pointed their motorbikes down the scenic, mountainous roads.  

An hour later, they saw a sign pointing toward the district they were seeking. They prayed continually, “Lord lead us to those you have prepared, a ‘person of peace’” (Luke 10: 5-7). Soon they saw a lady tending a water buffalo and dressed in Tai Lu garb.  They stopped and asked if there was a Tai Lu village near-by. She said yes and motioned them further down the road. Upon finding the village, the team soon spotted a couple working in their yard.

They greeted them, identifying themselves as being from a near culture. “We are here to visit with Tai Lu people.”  Both the husband and wife were intrigued to meet people from another country yet like themselves. After inviting the visitors inside their home, conversation gradually unfolded.

“Will you tell us about your practices of ancestor worship?” Bob asked.

After hearing about their religious practices, someone on the team said, “Those are not ancestors, but spirits who are lying to you.” Despite this seemingly confrontational statement, the couple were open and even eager to hear what they had to say.

The visitors shared a Bible story about God’s creation and ended with the redeeming work of Christ on the Cross.  Excited, the husband shared that an older Tai Lu man had visited them 20 years before. He had told them about a creator God who made everything, about Adam and Eve, and that all people are sinful.  That was all he knew of the Bible message. In faith, the husband had been acting on that message as best as he could. This couple and their son were delighted to hear the full story of God’s love expressed through Jesus.

The family believed and was baptized that same day.  The team left early in the afternoon and continued their search for spiritually prepared persons of peace in other villages.  Later that afternoon, the man telephoned the prayer-walking team to tell how he was out sharing the Bible stories with others!

*pseudonyms used


Prayer Walking: An Important Part of our Strategy

*Trisha was excited when *Saeng offered to lead her through a prayer-walking exercise. “Come, invite anyone,” Saeng said. “I’ll invite people too!” When the day arrived, five ladies gathered in the busy streets of the Mekong city they loved. 

Saeng set the method and objectives for the morning. They would go in two small groups and pray aloud for one hour as they walked through the neighborhoods. Twice during the hour, they were to stop and still themselves for five minutes as they asked God what he wanted them to see. When they felt led to pray for someone, they were to ask for that person’s entire family to know God, not just that individual. Finally, they would ask God for a song to sing, since they couldn’t be certain when he would next be praised there.

A quick game of rock, paper, scissors determined who went in each group, then they decided what areas each group would cover. They chose a place to meet afterward, asked God to lead their time, and set off.

Trisha was teamed up with her language tutor, a woman she knew loved God but with whom she had never prayed before. “It was so sweet to walk through the streets, pleading for entire families to know God, with a local believer voicing agreement and pleading right beside me.”

As she walked, Trisha began to see the people in a new light. She could see the communities in which they belonged: shop owners helping each other to break a large bill, groups of women talking and children playing, street vendors swapping stories as they prepared food, motorcycle taxi drivers waiting together on the side of the road. Trisha was struck by what could happen in the families and communities if Jesus were welcomed by just one of them.

When they met up an hour later, they all discussed what had touched their hearts and what questions they had. Saeng took notes so they could read over them the next time they went prayer walking. After closing with a time of prayer, the ladies agreed not to let the experience stop with them. They would tell others about their experience and encourage them to try it for themselves.

How about you? Are you interested in seeing God’s kingdom multiplied around the world through intentional prayer and active obedience?

*pseudonyms used