I’m very excited to share the following interview with you. I’m not able to share her real name with you, so as not to jeopardize her work, so for today, we’ll call her Sheila.  
Me: Can you give us a short biography of your spiritual journey?

Sheila: I came from a traditional church background, joined a missions group and saw all the work that needed to be done in the world to help people. So I wasn’t overwhelmed by that, the Lord showed me the importance of prayer and how keeping connected with Him can keep me connected with the needed hope. 
Me: When did you begin prayer walking and where all have you been?
Sheila: In 1987, I was privileged to go to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union with an outreach team. This was during the Cold War, and we were specifically asked to not be too vocal in our evangelism. Places we went were very, very tense; the whole climate of the area was hard, suspicious, cold. I am sure we were suspect.
There was so much to take in—the new sights, food, and peoples; Top that off with the sense of great restriction. I remember going to a dock on the coast of former Yugoslavia and just having the prayers tumble out, loads of them. I understood at that point, that while traditional evangelism wasn’t the best plan for this trip, there was a release of power that I could participate in—inviting, asking, requesting the Lord to move on behalf of these nations.  There was energy in that, hope in that, and, once prayed out, peace in that. The Lord was at work, and He is trustworthy. Prayer walking welcomes the Lord to come and work. 
Since then I have been all over the world—to different nations, different events. 
Me: Why is it more powerful to actually walk/stand/touch the places and people you are praying for? What are the spiritual implications?
Sheila: The power isn’t in the walking/standing/touch—we know the power is in the Lord. So any power is in obeying Him. The thing with doing prayer walks—it puts me in a place where I can SEE what things are like. And I have a choice to become a part of the area/arena. Christ came to earth, He became like us; He knows what we go through. 
For me, I can only see things from my Pacific Northwest perspective and how I grew up. If I take a few steps outside of my own zone, I can begin to relate to others, see their situations…Prayer gives the Lord a way to change us, enlarge our own hearts. So, the first thing prayer walking has done, is to change me. It has helped me better understand the Lord’s concerns with the area I am walking in/praying for. 
The second thing is the “with-ness” of God. Immanuel, God with us. The intention of the Lord is to be with people. If we are somewhere—with an open heart to prayer—might He not ask us to connect with those we are walking by? Perhaps greet them kindly? Perhaps help them with their groceries, pick them up off the street?   To prayer walk is to be with God—being with us.
Third thought—the growing ownership. Participating in my world. Taking a posture of responsibility. The Lord may give someone a sort of assignment to lift up. Perhaps the law enforcement, or the courts, or movie theaters or businesses…While I do not own any of the property, I am a citizen. This is my community. And, if I am somewhere I don’t live, I reside in the fact that I am human; I am able to come to the Lord on behalf of other humans.  I become rightly jealous for the good of people in the community, for their well-being. I want to stand before the Lord, asking for His will to be done on earth, in this community, on this street—as it is in heaven. We know that with Him, there is life. We want this Life/Light to be in the community. To welcome God, to invite Him. To love the people.
Fourth thought, and so very important—I cannot pray effectively for something I do not love. I cannot walk along and judge. Christ didn’t spend His time on earth like that, although He sure could have. He was among us. Do I love the neighborhood I am walking around? Do I love the little things, the good things?
I have a favorite coffee shop and years ago, I was there daily. I began to know the regulars (overheard their conversations). Their stories would unfold over time as they chatted among themselves. If I was there only one time and overheard their laughter at a joke/topic, I might have come to offense and be tempted to judge. But—due to the day after day coffee visits, I have come to love these guys, and the prayers flow easily for them. 
The spiritual implications: as my heart aligns with God’s view of my neighborhood, as I see their situation, my heart changes, Faith rises. Increased faith. Faith pleases the Lord.
Commitment. Faithfulness. Carrying out an assignment of sorts—walking and walking again, and walking again—this faithfulness fills out the prayers. You’re still there, you are still asking, you are still believing. That makes a difference to the Lord, and it hassles the enemy. 
There are so many other layers of things I could talk about here.
Me: What has been your biggest victory?
Sheila: There are a few. One simple one is that I was able to serve as a volunteer in security for the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996. My post was at the hotel in which the Olympic Committee stayed. Our team was actually posted all over the different venues. One of our personal tasks was to keep things in prayer. 
Perhaps you remember; there was a bomb in Centennial Park…This was a bigger story—but I do believe that the hundreds of prayers all around the venues were a part of the Lord’s watching over this event. Security stepped up all around (it was already high)—and people were worried. But at the doors I was working, there was peace amongst the other officers…they felt something. Knew something was up. 
To me, that we could do our job and be a place of peace for the people to enter the hotel—in the midst of scary times—that was super cool. I believe the Lord was there, with us.
Me: When have you been the most discouraged?
Sheila: That is hard. Hmm…Probably the cases in which I am standing for an opening to something good, and the Lord makes a way, but the people don’t choose that…And the good closes up again. That is hard. But He has to deal with it every day, right? So I try to be like Him and keep His heart.
Sheila’s closing comments: It is very exciting to hear about the work you are doing with your church and community. So practical. So real. May the Lord inspire many to believe in His activity and participate in what He wants to accomplish there.

Beginning Sunday, October 1, I will be posting a daily word of encouragement from the book of Joshua on claiming our communities for Christ. Until then, let these powerful words from Sheila penetrate your mind and heart. Let us be people who choose to walk in the ways the Lord opens before us.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:21
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