Methods of Prayer for the City
o Prayer walking. Many people endorse the idea of prayer walking around the area where one wants to do ministry. Prayer-walking has many advantages.
- Pray-ers are learners, which is especially important for busy urbanites. Prayer-walking can help train us to be patient and wait for God.
- Prayer-walking can help us to get to know our neighbors and overcome any fear we might have of the city. It can sensitize us to our community.
- Prayer-walking can help us dream and understand God’s heart and direction better.
- Prayer-walking can help us understand spiritual battles in the city and call upon God’s power for victory.
- Prayer-walking should sometimes focus on city-sized requests, praying for things that are bigger than ourselves, for which we cannot be the answers.
- Prayer-walking can be done many places – workplaces, places for a new church plant, places of past or ongoing sin or tragedy, key places of power in a city.
- I would recommend the book Prayer-walking: Praying On-Site with Insight by Steve Hawthorne and Graham Kendrick.
o Small group meeting to pray. One famous example was the businessmen’s lunch hour prayer meeting, organized by Jeremiah Lanphier in 1857-58, which led to America’s Third Great Awakening.
o Prayer chain. This prayer movement came from the Moravian Movement in 1727, in which people would take turns praying, making sure that someone was praying all the time. In a city, one church could take each day of the month and the church’s members could take turns praying one hour each throughout the day. Themes could include:
- Revival in the church
- Reconciliation between races and denominations
- Reformation of society
- Reaching the lost
- Speak peace to people (bless them)
- Fellowship with them
- Take care of their needs
- Proclaim the Good News
SPECIAL PRAYER EVENTS:
o Citywide prayer walks. These can help bring unity among churches and people and give a greater vision for God’s work for all involved.
o All-night prayer services. This is a group meeting in which participants agree to stay up all night praying, often on a particular theme.
o Prayer from the highest point. Find the highest place in your city, whether on a skyscraper or a small hill, and organize a prayer meeting there for the city.
o Concerts of prayer. This idea originally came from Jonathan Edwards in 1747. These prayer events strive to bring people together in unity to praise Christ and to see the advance of the Gospel both locally and globally.
o Prayer summits. Organize a retreat for pastors and other Christian leaders which will focus on prayer. This could focus on a specific question or on the city or neighborhood in general (e.g., for revival, for repentance).
Hawthorne, Steve & Kendrick, Graham. Prayer-walking: Praying On-Site With Insight. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 1993.
Silvoso, Ed. Prayer Evangelism: How to Change the Spiritual Climate over Your Home, Neighborhood and City. Revised and Updated Edition. Bloomington, MN: Chosen Books, 2018.
Pier, Mac & Sweeting, Katie. The Power of a City at Prayer. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2002.