I recently led a training on “Reclaiming Territory and Prayer-Walking,” where I shared key biblical concepts and stories about the authority we have in Christ to deeply impact the spaces around us through prayer. After the class, one of the participants, Laura, asked me to help her design a prayer-walking hand-out that she could take with her on an upcoming mission trip to Cuba. Together, we wrote up a simple prayer-walking model that she could share.
A few weeks later in Cuba, when Laura shared the hand-out at the church she was working with, they became very excited. The people told Laura that they had already felt a leading from God to prayer-walk in the land, but they had never had a framework for how to pray or a deep biblical understanding of what they were doing. After seeing the biblical framework and concepts in the hand-out, they felt confident not only to continue prayer-walking themselves, but also to train others. Laura has since returned home, but one of the translators that served the mission team is now leading an effort to share the prayer-walking document with other churches and pastors and train more prayer-walkers across Cuba!
Stories like this are incredibly exciting to me. I believe that prayer-walking in this way is one of the most strategic things I can do in my city in order to see gospel transformation...and I am thrilled when I can help more believers understand the spiritual authority they have in Christ to effect real change in this way! The ultimate goal of prayer-walking is to bring blessing to the land so that people everywhere can experience the love and freedom Christ has to offer.
The key biblical truth I love to share with people is the concept of being a priest who rules. Let me break that down a bit.
In 1 Peter 2:9 we learn that we’re a “royal priesthood.” We have authority in Christ to operate as priests in prayer on behalf of groups of people who need to experience God. In Numbers 16 we can learn a lot about the role of a priest: the priest is an advocate between God and the people; a big part of the priest’s role is to perform sacrifices to cover the sins of the people; and the priest is a channel of blessing. The thing about the royal priesthood that’s so exciting is that what Christ completed on the cross is done. The price for all sins past, present, and future has already been paid through his sacrifice. As members of the royal priesthood, we get to advocate for the people and places around us by praying that Christ’s sacrifice would cover their sin so they can come closer to God, and that the blessings of God’s goodness would come into their lives. We can pray for these things over people and over places where evil has occurred. Miraculous things can happen when we pray in this way.
In Genesis 1:26 we’re reminded that we have been given responsibility for the earth and are told to care for it. Because we have that God-given authority as benevolent rulers who steward the land, we have the right and responsibility to be praying and cleaning up the land spiritually as well. Through prayer, we can clean up the work of the enemy in our spaces and spheres of influence, and reduce the enemy to his smallest rights in each place—rights he has gained in the land through sin that’s been committed there (the Old Testament refers to this as defilement in the land). When we take responsibility for our areas of influence and declare, “This [park, neighborhood, office building, etc.] is mine, and I’m going to care for it and love it,” it changes us. We’re taking responsibility for what goes on there, and there’s a new level of authority in our prayers as a result.
When people start to understand these two concepts—of being a priest and a ruler (caretaker) in the land—side by side, I’ve seen them start to pray with a fervency and expectancy that they didn’t have before...even people who were already praying regularly or prayer-walking! When people understand that they’re a priest, and that they have responsibility for the land, there’s an extra, added layer of prayer that they can be doing even in simple prayer walks. It’s exciting to see!
People who prayer-walk are pioneers. They’re seed-planters and land-cleaners. They’re building things in the Kingdom that they might not see or understand. They’re laying the foundations, sowing and preparing the land for people who will come after them to reap the harvest.
If you are a believer, you too are called to be a priest and a caretaker. Will you step into your authority in Christ and pray in the land?
How to Prayer-Walk as a Caretaker in the Land
Because we have been created and purposed to have authority in the natural world (Genesis 1:26), we are invited to take responsibility for our dominions and spheres of influence as a priest and a ruler (1 Peter 2:9 and Genesis 1:26).
When we take responsibility we take territory. The enemy gains access to people and the land through sin and detains unto death. We reclaim it for the Kingdom of God and life. We can clear and clean the land up from the garbage that sin and the dominion of darkness have influenced it with. Prayer-walking in our spheres of influence (or territories) can help us reclaim territory for God’s Kingdom. We can effectively push back the darkness and build strongholds for the Kingdom of God to overcome the work of the enemy.
We have access to the Kingdom of God and are equipped to bring heaven to earth and to take territory because of what is promised to us: the ability to experience God’s voice (John 10:27–28), the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to defeat the enemy (Luke 10:19), the power to give life (Proverbs 18:21), and the right to rebuild (Isaiah 58:12).
Ask God for a territory that he wants you to pray through (your home, community, city, etc.). You can prayer-walk as often as you want until you see the Kingdom break in. Some people we know have been prayer-walking their communities for five years and longer and now they are seeing incredible miracles in their land.
Prayer-walking is an active type of prayer where you ask and listen for insight from God and then discover what he would like you to do about it. Prayer-walking is most effective when you are hearing what God has to say about your sphere of influence.
Think of prayer-walking like gardening in the land: we want to remove the things that prevent us from planting, then we want to plant good things to grow and flourish. The following outline is just a framework to get you started.
Listen as Johanna walks you through the prayer-walking outline below…
1. Pray for Personal Covering
As you begin, a great starting point is to ask God for protection and help.
You can use this passage and “put on” the armor of God before you begin walking.
• Ask for angelic help
Biblically speaking, angels play multiple roles in helping humans further the Kingdom and purposes of God. See Hebrews 1:14 and Psalm 34:7 for reference.
2. Take Ownership
Declare your responsibility for the land. “God, this is my ________, I take responsibility for it and will love this space and the people in it by praying here.”
3. Observe the Natural World
Use your physical senses and ask God to illuminate your supernatural gifts.
• What’s going on around you?
• What do you see? Hear? Smell?
• What do you feel? (Note feelings of peace or fear.)
• What do you think about this place?
4. Listen / Ask
As you engage your physical senses and observe what’s happening around you, begin to ask God for deeper insight into the spiritual realities of what’s going on and listen for his responses.
• God, how do you see this place? (What’s your heart for this land?)
• God, where are you at work in this place?
• God, help me discern the land. What do you want me to know?
• What shall I pray for?
Ask God for further insight as you begin to “clear” the land of the influence of the enemy. God may invite you to address defilements in the land.
• God, where has darkness prevailed?
• What is occupying this land?
• Apply the blood of Jesus
This is what the priest does, for example, “I apply the blood of Jesus, the perfect sacrifice for all sin, over my neighborhood.”
• Command / Bind the Enemy
We never say, “I come against you Satan.” Instead, we say something like, “With the authority of Christ Jesus, I bind the work of the enemy in this place and command the enemy to flee.”
• Ask God to remove evil
Ask God to remove things in the land based on what he is showing you. You can always interceed for the land and ask God to continue the work.
Bless and build God’s Kingdom culture as you prayer-walk. We always have the right to do this in our spheres. In Jeremiah 1:10, the Lord says, “See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
• Declare truth
Use the word of God to declare truth over your sphere of influence. Use a favorite verse or ask God to highlight scripture that would benefit your territory.
• Bless / Loosen God’s blessings in the land
“Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus himself told us to ask for the will of God to be accomplished on earth as it is in heaven. You can pray, “I bless God’s will to be done in this place,” or “I loosen the reality of heaven for my home, etc.” Ask God for specific insight on what to bless with!
Our songs of praise build the Kingdom and the enemy flees! Try worshipping outside; it is a highly impactful way to engage prayer.
• Preach the gospel to the land
Jesus promised to make all things new, that includes the earth!
• Take communion
Taking communion outside, or in a context other than a church building, is a powerful way to engage the work of Christ.
Ready to Try It?
Download a one-page summary of these prayer-walking steps to take with you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Johanna Lohrmann is the team leader for Prime Strategic, which dedicates their work to reclaiming territories and clearing the land for the gospel to move among people groups in different nations. Johanna delights in helping others grow in their personal relationship with God and in understanding their identity and authority. She loves to activate people to pray in extraordinary ways in their contexts. Johanna and her husband Simeon live in Phoenix, Arizona with their three small children. Both Johanna and Simeon are dedicated to helping catalyze gospel movements through their work locally and globally.