Sunday, July 18, 2010

On "Prayer Walking"

Note to Lutherans:  "Prayer Walking" was invented by those who belong to the "Word-Faith" (or, "Word of Faith") Movement (think of all the false teachers you see on TV, who exhort you to "name it and claim it" or "agree with God for your healing," etc.).  It was then adopted by more mainline Protestant denominations and has been especially targeted toward youth - you know, to give them something to do so that they feel like Christians.  Now, it is being promoted to our own Lutheran youth, as the following video has been added to the fare being shown at the LCMS National Youth Gathering taking place right now in New Orleans.

Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with praying.  We're all for that.  Pray often.  Pray, pray, pray, I say (hey, that rhymed!).  And, there is certainly nothing wrong with walking (Lord knows that some of us need to do a little more of that!).  And, there is not even a thing wrong with walking and praying at the same time, although there are certainly more focused ways to offer your petitions to the Lord.  But, when you promote what has become known as "Prayer Walking," you're promoting false theology.  Why?  Because this activity was invented by, well, false teachers, who, well, teach falsely about prayer.  To these false teachers, prayer is a way for the Christian to manipulate God to succumb to a given desire.  Not only that, but those who invented this activity believe, teach, and confess that God MUST succumb to your prayers, so long as you offer them in the right manner - oh, and with the right amount of faith, too (if God is not responding, it's because you have done something wrong, or because you don't have enough faith).  I could go on, but you get the picture.

The confused DCE in the video below has obviously been drinking from the poisoned wells of these false teachers.  I'm sure he means well, but watching him make his case for this activity just pains me as a Lutheran.  What he says is EXACTLY what the false teachers say.  He says that they "prayer walk" in his community for two reasons:  1) To assess the spiritual situation (you know, like the 12 spies did per Moses' instruction - except that, well, the spies were sent out to bring back intelligence which would aid the military conquest of the land; just sayin'), and 2) To take authority over, and posses, our territory (you know, like how God told Abraham to look all around and see the land he would be given - except that the land was to be given to Abraham regardless of anything he did, but by God's promise alone, and this DCE uses this to say that we need to serve God by spiritually taking possession of our territory for His glory - yep, straight out of the Word-Faith handbook - um, question:  Can WE take spiritual possession of our territory?).  He goes on to note that his church is sandwiched between two public schools and that, when those schools seek to implement things which would bring improvements (better teachers, better curriculum, more money, armed guards), his church just sends in prayer walkers.  He gives another example of drugs being sold by someone in an apartment across from one of the schools.  Principle and police try to fix the problem, but to no avail.  Answer:  We send in prayer walkers.  He ends by noting a variety of things for which the prayer walkers pray - all good things mind you (well, except that I wonder about praying for God to abundantly bless the two churches in close proximity to his - what kind of churches are these?  Should they be praying for God to abundantly bless these churches if they are false teaching churches?).  But, see, here's the deal:  "Prayer Walking" is not just about praying; it's about getting things done for God and to His glory.  It's about doing something about the spiritual condition of your territory.  It's about having the power to get things done in your territory where others lack the power to do so (you know, like those whose vocations, given by God, by the way, are to do those things).  It's treated as some special "ministry," the goal of which is to transform the territory into one in which God Himself would be proud to dwell.  Again, I could go on, but you get the idea.

So, to repeat, just so we're clear - Note to Lutherans:  "Prayer Walking" was invented by false teachers and is latent with their false teachings.  But, hey, don't take my word for it.  Google "Prayer Walking" and have fun reading what all the false teachers have to say about this activity.

It is very sad that this is being foisted upon our youth.  Here's the video on the NYG website:


Anonymous said...

Pr. Messer, thank you for bringing this to our attention. Dr. Terry Dittmer is the national youth director. A couple of years ago he brought an Emergent church leader to talk to youth leadership in our synod about strategies for growing our youth. Then, last year at the national youth convention, we had Kari Jobe, a pentecostal "pastor", lead worship.

Now we have yet another Methobapticostal influenced practice rearing its ugly head amongst our youth. Pastors should really encourage our youth to attend Higher Things conferences. Especially when attending the national youth gathering is likely to be a mixed bag including practices informed by false doctrine.

Anonymous said...

The video link is not there. Thank you .

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...


Agreed - Higher Things is the way to go. We didn't get to go this year, but have been the past four years. As someone who, long ago, was a Youth Leader, I have been to many a youth conference and, when all is said and done, our own National Youth Gathering follows the agenda of the many "evangelical" conferences I've attended, whether people want to admit that or not. Higher Things was the first youth conference I attended that was decidedly Lutheran through and through. Hopefully, the new leaders we elected and the good folks at Higher Things can have a positive influence on those who plan our NYG and, over time, we can see improvements. We'll see.


Not sure what you mean. The video is not linked, but embedded in the post.

Dennis Peskey said...

I thought "Prayer Walking" was a song by Johnnie Cash - then again, I am getting old.

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...


Johnny Cash did have a lot of songs about walking, so the age factor is only partly to blame for the confusion. :)

Pax, brother!

David said...

I thought the video was boring. It made me think "prayer walking" is some nebulus activity people do. How can you tell you if someone is "prayer walking" anyway?

Frank Gillespie said...

If we are to do that which Israel was told to do, shouldn't the DCE then make the case that while out on our prayer walk that we slaughter those who do not follow the ways of the Lord as was the case with Canaanites? I mean, if we are gonna prayer walk because Israel was told to send in spies shouldn't we then follow through to the end of the story?


I just received an email asking why "you guys" have a problem with prayer walking. I almost don't know where to start...

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...

Exactly, Frank. It's wrong on so many levels that it is absolutely amazing that any Lutheran could possibly ask what is wrong with it. As for where to begin, I think pointing out the misapplication of those Biblical texts, as you've done, is a good place. Not that it would do any good, but it is a beginning. :)

Frank Gillespie said...

If I’m reading things right and not just projecting my own experiences onto what is going on, I think folks really want an authentic (ancient?) Christianity and that’s why they fall for this stuff. I think that they are so sick of the church growth dumbing everything down to the point that the theology more closely resembles Buddhism that they fall off the other side of the horse into mysticism. I get this! When I returned to the faith after 15 years of atheism I gravitated to all things ancient myself but thankfully had folks around me to slap some sense into me when I got too enthusiastic and goofy.

Wendy said...

So, our pastor of one year & newly ordained one year ago, has LOTS of new ideas for us to do, like prayer walking. He's only talked about doing it so far & all he's said about it is that you go out in the neighborhood & knock on doors & ask people if you can pray for them. Is this the same thing that you're talking about?

memama said...

Sadly, I can announce my own conservative baptist church in Auburn, WA will now be doing this false "prayer walking" foolishness. You see if people had to get up on high hill sides or yell prayers at certain properties to "claim them against the devil"..??? Then just a few Plane flights over THAT CITY = Would have stopped every single sin or crime from ever happening ever again? Jesus never taught or recommended that any Christian HAS TO PRAY in certain "areas" or "alltitudes" in order to gain His ear. "Praywalking" only gets the unsaved to look at these events as more unbiblical foolishness or false humiliating hijinks they do not want to be associated with having to DO! In order to fit in. Can't any leadership GOOGLE: "False Teaching about Pray Walking"? And read!