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Copyright © 2001
M. S. Thirumalai
SOME RECENT BOOKS
TAKING IT TO THE STREETS
by Pastor Ted Haggard
Wagner Publications, Colorado Springs, CO. 2002.
1. SAD ELEMENTS IN OUR CITY
How Prayerwalking changes our lives is the theme of this book. This is a small book with great potential to change our lives. Ted Haggard is senior pastor of a mega church, New Life Church, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has first hand experience of what he is talking about in this short book. And this makes this book really significant.
Pastor Ted, known for his unceasing enterprise in evangelism and intelligent critiquing of Christian living, begins this book with a graphic description of sad elements in our city life:
Pentagrams, ankhs, and bloodied, swollen faces were painted on the walls and ceiling of the old drainage system where we were walking. The beams from our flashlights barely dispelled the darkness as we inched our way through the maze of tunnels, pipes, and caves that crisscrossed the abandoned mining zone. What was once a bustle of mining activity was now a home for satanic worship.
2. A POWERFUL METAPHOR FROM PASTOR TED, AND AN INVITATION TO ADVENTURE
This is a powerful metaphor, indeed, from Pastor Ted. What once was a place of honest and hardworking men who pursued their career with fear and trembling before God and who depended on God for their life is now a place of Devil worship. When we give up, the Devil enters.
Although Pastor Ted calls Prayerwalk as an adventure, he knew for sure what would be the ultimate result of prayerwalk, for our Lord is a prayer answering God. The adventure element here refers to the myriad opportunities and infinite variety of blessings that result from prayerwalk. This book is full of such adventures.
3. THE PRINCIPLES OF PRAYERWALKING
Let us take a few of the principles that Ted Haggard suggests in this book:
- Moving, feeling, and seeing: it works better. "I find that my prayers are more intentional and focused if I keep my body moving" (p. 9). "Though I had prayed for the people who live in those places for years, something special happened to my faith when I was actually there" (p. 10).
- Engaging Prayer: Communion and Confrontation. "In order to pray effectively, we must both successfully engage the Spirit of God and challenge and defeat demonic powers" (p. 11). What is communing with God? "(It) is not reciting Christian phrases and saying nice things to God hoping that He hears us." Don't I do it often? Pastor Ted says, "Genuine communion requires His Spirit and our spirit to touch, intermingle, fellowship, and become one" (p. 12). Likewise, "confrontation is not just rebuking, binding, preventing, or shouting at demonic forces and demanding that they leave. It is our spirit praying from the position of Christ Himself and actually representing Him in the position of Christ Himself" (p. 12). I felt that this portion of the suggestion needed some elaboration or practical guidance for average readers like me. However, the danger is that answers to such demands will make prayer a programmatic affair and make it less free.
- Prayerwalking helps us connect with people.
- Prayerwalking is the opposite of praying publicly for vanity's sake. When you are prayerwalking, you are the only who should know that you are praying (p. 15).
- Wherever you go, closely observe the community as you prayerwalk. Pastor Ted gives a number of ways to detect the spiritual signs on your prayer path and pray suitably against the dark forces. He suggests that we make a spiritual map of our town and pray based on the patterns that emerge through this map: "On a local level, you could mark all the schools and colleges in green, government buildings in brown, and the bars and adult bookstores in blue. Next, you could shad poor economic areas in purple, and stronger economic areas in red. You could highlight churches with yellow, and mark important local industries or small business with black. Patterns often emerge, and you'll discover ingenious ways to pray that you never would have considered before" (p. 20). Notice the color code: why purple for the poor areas and red for stronger economic areas? There is concern and love for the poor and concern and worry for the stronger economic areas. Ted Haggard is greatly concerned with the economic disparities that exist in every society. But his approach to the disparity is rather distinct and confidence-building: "Pray for God to give the (poor) people better ideas and greater opportunities in earning a living. If you see obvious signs of wealth, you can pray that those resources will be used for God's kingdom" (p. 18). He recognizes the truth that if there is no generation of wealth, there will be nothing to distribute. The poor and the rich are not seen in the Hegelian or Marxist thesis-antithesis mode, but in a scheme where we all have our own place and contribution to make.
- Eight Places You can Prayerwalk:
- The workplace.
- Consecrated sites.
- Overlook points or high places.
- Sites of harm or tragedy.
- Sites of past or ongoing sin.
- Power points.
- City gates.
- Land for sale.
Pastor Ted shows that "as believers, our position is in Christ at the right hand of the Father. Christ literally shares His position with us. We pray from heaven, not from Earth" (p. 42). Inevitably our prayer from "heaven" will bring in the desired changes in us and in people and areas around us. That kind of faith moves mountains.
4. BIBLICAL GUIDELINES
Five biblical guidelines are emphasized:
- Pray that the Father would draw the unchurched to Jesus.
- Bind the spirit that blinds their minds.
- Loose the spirit of adoption upon believers so that they will begin crying "Abba, Father."
- Pray that believers will cross the path of unbelievers' paths and enter into positive relationship with them.
- Loose the spirit of wisdom and revelation on them so they may know God better.
5. OUR CALL
We are called upon to affect the city we live in and alter its environment. There is no better tool than Prayerwalk to achieve this. Prayer is not a weapon of the weak, it is a weapon of the courageous people, and it is a sign of courage, not weakness. This is a refreshing and reaffirming interpretation. People like Jesse Ventura who declared that Christians are cowardice and that is why they resort to prayer need to understand the mystery of prayer in their own life. God has promised that every place that we set our foot will be ours. So, let us all do Prayerwalk and win the souls for Christ.
This is a simple and elegant book, with inspiring stories.
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