I’ve been searching for a way we can meaningfully engage with Holy Week when we can’t meet together, and I came up with this idea for a prayer walk. This has been designed as something that can be done from your front gate under the conditions of the Level 4 Lockdown. There are a number of locations for you to walk to, pause, pray and read a short scripture. I hope that it will help you enter into the discipline and the meaning of Holy Week – Revd Matt Watts, Buller Anglican Parish.
(1) Walk to a street junction or crossroads. Lockdown has limited the choices that we can make during this time. But we can still choose how we react to things and what we focus our thoughts on. As you start this prayer walk, ask God to help you to take up his invitation to walk in the good way.
In Jeremiah 6:16 we read This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
(2) Walk to a mailbox Messages can still be delivered and received during a time of lockdown. And God continues to speak words of hope, challenge, comfort and power. What is God saying to you during this time?
In Isaiah 55:10-11, God says “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
(3) Walk to a tree As you look at this tree sprouting with life, imagine the tree that was chopped down to make the cross on which Jesus was crucified. On Good Friday we remember how Jesus, the giver of life, was nailed to a wooden cross by Roman soldiers. And as this happened, Jesus did not curse them, but instead he prayed for their forgiveness. What things do you need to bring to the cross of Jesus to ask for God’s forgiveness?
We read in Luke 23:33-34: When the soldiers came to the place called the Skull, they crucified Jesus there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
(4) Walk to a place where you can see the hills Easter Sunday is when we celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive and wants to walk with us today.
Luke 24:13-35 tells the story of the risen Jesus appearing to two travellers: Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast.One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him;but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morningbut didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Ask the risen Christ to come alongside you, transforming your struggles and disappointments with his hope and joy.
(5) Walk past your neighbours’ house as you return home Pray for your neighbours, for their bubble, and the joys and challenges they are facing during lockdown.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus says to us “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(6) Return to your front gate, or the boundary of your property. Reflect on what you have heard God saying to you during this prayer walk. How will it change how you relate to those within your bubble? How will it encourage you to continue to take opportunities to connect with God during this time of lockdown?
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 speaks to us Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.