Education, faith, Forerunner, Health and Wellness, Prayer, Purpose, values

Going On a Prayer Walk

One of my favorite ways to connect with God is by taking a prayer walk, either alone or with a group. According to Rosalind Rinker, prayer is simply “a conversation between two people who love each other.” Enoch was said to have walked with God in Genesis 5 and since he didn’t die a traditional death, I can’t help but think of the possibility that he and his Maker had such an electrifying exchange one day that God said, “I can’t take the distance anymore! Come on up here, Enoch.” This is just my opinion of course, but I do know that when I have something on my mind or just want closer communion with God, I go for a walk. Here are a few of my favorite types of prayer walks which can be alone or with others. 

Our prayers lay the track down which God’s power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails.”        

—Watchman Nee

Creation/Nature Prayer Walk

Many of the Psalms show how God speaks to us through nature, whether it be the bird who makes it’s nest near the altar (Psalm 84) or by the mountains that surround Jerusalem. (Psalm 125) Jesus uses farming and weather illustrations to teach lessons. After a prayer walk at Forerunner Christian Academy, one of my Bible class students may mention that upon seeing dandelions, they feel God is speaking to them about the “weeds” growing in their heart. Another may look at the same dandelions but feels God speaking a message to his heart about how the seeds blow in the wind and that when we share the Love of Christ it spreads all over. Walking by a rushing stream might cause you to think of how your mind is rushing and how you need to slow down. An eagle or falcon may remind you that you can soar above your problems and difficult circumstances.

One person may see dandelions and think about “weeds” growing in his heart while another sees the same dandelions and considers how the seeds blow in the wind like spreading the love of Christ.

Meditation or Devotional Prayer Walk

When I take my students on a devotional prayer walk, I have them highlight a passage in their Bible or write a verse on a notecard. This acts as an “anchor” to help them when they get distracted. As they notice their thoughts wandering to what’s for dinner or what their friend is doing, they can simply come back to the verse. They can whisper the verse or even ask Holy Spirit to open up deeper revelation or life application. One of my favorite verses to pray on a devotional prayer walk is….

Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me…”

—Psalms 25:4-5

Intercessory Prayer Walk

When I first moved to Kansas City and didn’t know any other parents at our school, I asked some mothers to join me after drop off at a nearby hiking trail. We shared personal requests and visited as we walked to the first “station” or stopping point. We gathered beside the path and prayed for the students, teachers and leadership of our school. Then we would walk in silence for awhile to another stopping point. At prayer stations, mothers could choose to pray aloud or simply stand in agreement. We saw so many wonderful things happen in our families and our school! 

Ask a group of people to join you on an intercessory prayer walk at a local trail. This trail is near our school and on Wednesday mornings after school drop-off, I met with other moms to walk and pray for our kids and school.

Family or Class Prayer Walk

I first started doing prayer walks with kids at Remnant House of Prayer in the summer camps and after school programs. We asked for prayer requests from the community and each week students would choose a prayer request card to pray over during the walk. I encouraged the kids to not only pray for the specific request, but to ask Holy Spirit and listen to what He might say. The request might be for healing but God may prompt you to pray for financial provision or healing of broken relationships. Elijah would always ask for the same prayer card, “Vanessa, can I pray for the girl with the headaches?” One of our partners had chronic migraines on an almost daily basis and God healed her completely!

Elijah asked every week for the same prayer request card. “I wanna pray for the girl with the headaches.” God healed her of chronic migraines! Use prayer request cards or index cards with Scripture to help kids stay focused.

Jericho Prayer Walk

One of the most memorable examples of prayer walking in the Scriptures happened when Joshua led the Israelites around the city of Jericho 7 times, then gave a loud shout. The walls that withheld blessing came down following their faithful prayer walk! I’ve heard of people doing a “Jericho March” prayer walk around a property or home. We have done prayer walks around polling centers on the night before an election. At Forerunner Christian Academy, my Bible classes do prayer walks around the school. It’s by far the most popular activity of every class. We walk slowly in silence about ten feet apart and share insights and revelations from the walk at the end. Then we often pray together in agreement.

Helpful Tips and Other Resources

  • Pray from Scripture. My favorite prayer list for intercession is the apostolic prayer list from the International House of Prayer.
  • Print out a map of your route. If you are going on a prayer walk around your city, print out a map with the route and mark the places you will stop and pray together with an “x”.
  • Prepare a list of prayer points.. For example, “at the city offices, stop and pray for wisdom and direction for city council members, chief of police, etc.”
  • Split groups into two’s or three’s. People are more likely to pray aloud in small groups. This works best if you have a ministry group praying over the city. For students, I tell them to keep a car’s length single file between each person so they can better focus on hearing Holy Spirit’s voice until we gather for group prayer at the end of walk.
  • Expect to “hear” God’s Voice! He may give you a vision or He may highlight a verse to you. You may “hear” a song or think of a person you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Take time to pray for that person and ask Holy Spirit if you should make contact or send a text, note or email.
  • Ask for a sign of God’s favor! (Psalm 86:17) He sends me butterflies and ladybugs, but once, a boy from RHOP asked God to see a turtle on our nature trail prayer walk. I’ll never forget the look on his face when we turned the corner and saw a lake with dozens if not hundreds of turtles all around the pond and on every log! It was his “sign”.
  • For more information on prayer walks, visit the prayerscapes.com
  • Wanna go on a longer pilgrimage prayer walk? Find out more about the Camino de Santiago here.
  • One of my favorite films about this pilgrimage is called “The Way” with Martin Sheen. Watch the trailer here.


Education, Forerunner, Prayer, Purpose, values

Letter of Concern about Fortnite from a Middle School/Jr. High Teacher

This is a letter I wrote to parents of students in my middle school and junior high Bible class. My goal was to have parents more closely examine the games their child is playing and whether or not these games are blessing or harming them.
Dear Parents,
I want to say first of all what an honor and a joy it is to partner with you in training up these amazing forerunner messengers who I believe will carry the message of Jesus Christ all over the world! Because I am convinced of this and because I love each of them so much, I’d like to share something with you that has been grieving my heart recently and ask you to join me in interceding and contending for breakthrough.
I have noticed significant changes in the behavior of several of my Bible students this year. Some of these behaviors include consistently failing to turn in homework, dishonesty, disobedience, showing disrespect to me and to their peers, speaking out in class, the use of foul language, rude hand gestures and in some cases, blatant hostility toward one another. I believe this is a direct attack from the Enemy against the families of FCA and this work of training and equipping forerunners.
I remember a time when my daughter was 12 and I noticed her behavior change drastically. After much prayer and fasting, the Holy Spirit showed me that the “root” that was causing this “fruit” was a Disney television show that encouraged dishonesty and disrespect, especially toward parents and those in authority. It caused much “tension” between us as we worked through a solution, but once she stopped watching this show, she returned to “herself” and we knew we had done the right thing.
I am asking you to please examine what your children are watching, listening to and what video games they are playing as sometimes these things can produce “bad fruit.” I recently counseled with a parent from FCA who has been in a spiritual battle for her son. He had become desperately addicted to the video game Fortnite and when it was taken away, he became extremely angry and depressed. When I was visiting with this mother, she said, “I just wished someone had warned me about the dangers of this game. It nearly destroyed my son.”
Fortnite is a free-to-play online game where up to a hundred players can play at once. Drawing inspiration from the 1999 Japanese novel Battle Royale and The Hunger Games, players must scavenge supplies, build structures and find weapons–the goal of the game is to ELIMINATE OR KILL EACH OTHER UNTIL ONLY ONE PERSON IS LEFT. Even more concerning is the fact that there is also an opportunity for children to connect with strangers in the game, and there is minimal monitoring of who is online and what is being said in the chat.
My 12 year old nephew in Oklahoma was a “straight A” student and leader on the academic team at school. His grades dropped and my kind, thoughtful nephew became irritable, disrespectful and dishonest at times, which is the exact opposite of the young man I know him to be. My sister told me, “It became WAY too important. He was obsessed with this game! ” She also said she wished she had been warned, so after much prayer, I decided to write and ask you to prayerfully research this game and consider whether or not it is causing any behavior changes and whether or not it is blessing or harming your child.
Here are some warning signs that Fortnite or any other video game might be a problem for your child:
1.  impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context);
2.  increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities;
3.  continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.
Here is an online quiz for parents who may think their child has a gaming addiction:
There are many studies available, but here are two articles I found particularly interesting about the psychological aspect and what this game does to the brain.
I’d also like to recommend a book for those who want to educate yourself further–one of the teachers recommended  it– it is called “Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking Our Kids–And How to Break the Trance.” by Nicholas Kardaras, Ph.D (The Mid-Continent Library and Johnson County library systems have this book.)
Thank you so much for allowing me to share my heart and concerns with you. I recognize that each family has their own set of boundaries and opinions about what is appropriate for their children. I encourage you to educate yourself about this game and spend time in prayer before making any decision. I simply wanted to provide some resources and ask you to join me in prayer over our students.
While it is not mandatory, I am encouraging students in my Bible classes to participate by fasting or “taking a break from” media and entertainment such as YouTube or video games for a few days, maybe even a “fortnight”, which is 14 days or two weeks.
Again, it is an honor and privilege to join you in training up these world-changers and history-makers!
With love and much HOPE,
Vanessa VanCleave
Middle School and Junior High Bible Teacher

 

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Forerunner, Prayer, Purpose, Uncategorized

Training Up a Forerunner

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Jesus, I plead Your blood over my sins and the sins of my nation. God, end abortion and send revival to America.

It is a prayer Savannah has prayed hundreds of times over the past several years. She even wears a red bracelet with the word “LIFE” to remind her to pray. But on the night before the last presidential election, God showed her just how powerful that prayer can be.

It was November 6, 2012 and I remember being a little concerned about how she would respond if President Obama was re-elected. She adamantly opposed his Pro-Choice position and since she is sometimes  stubborn (i.e. bull-headed) and quick to speak her opinion, (I believe she gets these things from her father, of course) I have had to have SEVeral conversations with her about honoring and continuing to pray for our leaders even when we do not understand their decisions. Sigh.

On election day, she told me very matter-of-factly, “Mom, President Obama will win today but God gave me a dream and showed me how important it is that we keep praying for him. In my dream, he came into our prayer room at RHOP and he was wearing a red suit. (now, a few people, who I won’t name, have interjected at this point in the story, ‘was he holding a pitchfork too?’ These people are a tiny bit angry I think and we should definitely pray for them.) He sat down beside me and as I told him about abortion, he started to cry really hard and he kept saying, “I didn’t know…I didn’t know….” I think God was showing me with the red suit that we need to keep praying and pleading the blood of Jesus over him…” Can you think of the name of a leader today that you can pray for and plead the blood of Jesus over? Do that now.

As I shared last month, our family is being led to enter into a season of equipping in Kansas City over the next few years. We will continue our ministry of intercession and evangelism, and Savannah will attend Forerunner Christian Academy. She recently sent out her own support letter and since I am highlighting the training of forerunners this month, I will share part of her letter here:

. . . While we are there (in KC), I will be attending Forerunner Christian Academy. At FCA I am going to be able to play the drums on a worship team. I will also be attending the prayer room at least 4 hours each week. Forerunner Christian Academy believes it is critical that children learn and interact with Scripture on a daily basis to build proper foundations. Students there study the major themes of Scripture in Bible class every afternoon. In addition, musically gifted students have the opportunity to join a student worship team. The daily worship time creates a context for students to sing the Bible in addition to studying it. I believe God will use this school to help me grow in my studies and be closer to His heart. Part of the curriculum actually includes spending time in the Global Prayer Room worshiping Jesus and studying His Word! My mom and I have visited this school and after the tour and visiting with some of the leaders, we sat in the car crying tears of joy because as soon as I set foot in the building I felt God’s presence and well, it felt like “home”. In addition to drumming, I have a calling to pray for the ending of abortion. At the prayer room at IHOP-KC I will get to exercise my calling by joining (and sometimes even leading!) the Life Initiative prayer meetings each week. When we were there in January, I prayed LIFE over China on the live web stream that is broadcast to 200 nations!

I know I am called to pray for life and to be a messenger who will prepare the way for Jesus’ Return….

If you are a parent or teacher or have any sort of influence on a child or young person, I am praying today for you (and me!) to have God’s wisdom and guidance as we train up and encourage this next generation. The pull of the world is so strong that it will take fasting and prayer to “turn the tide.” Stay encouraged and keep praying!

In order for our family to fully give ourselves to this calling of intercession and training forerunner messengers, we need to raise up a team of friends like you who will “link arms” with us in prayer and financial support. Would you prayerfully consider joining our ministry team? 

We need 10-12 more monthly partners and approx. $5,000 in special gifts to pay for her tuition and moving expenses. We love and appreciate you and will continue to pray…….night and day until He comes!

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