February 28, 2014 Leave a comment
Every morning I take a walk. I don’t walk to contribute to my physical well-being, though I’m sure that’s a side benefit. I walk to stay spiritually fit for I talk best to God when I walk. A minister friend of mine referred me to an article by Dan Pallotta about walking. The author quotes Henry David Thoreau who said, “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thought begin to flow.” I’ve often said that the two souls of my feet must have a direct connection to my soul because I can pray best when I walk.
I think it all started when I was a boy on an Iowa farm. I would often have to walk to get the cows from the back pasture at the end of the day so my father could milk them. Then too, I recall often taking a short walk on the lane going out to the fields after doing my evening chores. I’d end up talking to God while walking, so walking became my mode of prayer; I’ve just continued the habit all of these years.
The article by Pallotta also references a study which indicates that people who walk or ride a bike at least four times a week think more creatively. I find it true that I can be more creative when I’ve had my walk with the Lord. Speaking of being creative, I believe He is also able to create within me a greater presence of Himself, and mold me more into His image. Like King David I often pray on my walk, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
Everyone is different, but I’m a firm believer in the prayer walk. Some may kneel or sit when they pray but I must walk. My walk is a daily appointment with God every morning, come rain or shine, heat or cold. In fact, I’ll be heading out for my walk in just a few minutes. Dawn is just coming and it’s a -6 degrees out there! Walking in harsh weather conditions becomes a sacrament for me, expressing resolve to walk with the Lord no matter what life brings. On the other hand, walking on a beautiful morning brings its own rewards of finding praise and thanksgiving flowing more easily as I bask in the beauty of the day.
I have the blessing of walking in nature, not on man-made sidewalks with man-made structures all around. I take a path through the woods behind my place and along the neighbor’s fields. There’s God’s handiwork all around! I often spot deer, and sometimes wild turkey. God also paints the eastern sky different every morning. Each season provides unique delights from budding leaves in spring to falling leaves in autumn.
I sometimes reflect that there is no other human being within a quarter of a mile when I’m out on my walk. It’s God and me, alone with each other. There’s an old hymn titled In the Garden. I know, many think it’s a syrupy type song (including my wife) but I have to admit that I can identify with the lyrics. “I come to the garden alone. While the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear falling on my ear the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me and he talks with me…”
There’s different spiritual practices for relating to God in a regular and intimate way but for me walking works best. I better wrap this up. My walking Partner is waiting!