I just got back and I feel invigorated. The past several weeks, I have taken up a morning walk. Getting out of bed, dawning my sport attire, and sneaking out of the house before anyone else awakes. It takes me just under an hour to walk the breadth of my neighborhood, and I really enjoy it.
The walk is not so much for exercise, though it counts I’m told. Instead, the walk is a means of drawing near to God. I have always enjoyed praying as I walk, during college, the military, professional days, and seminary. I don’t exactly know why. Perhaps I can hear and see glimpses of the invisible God through the wind rustling in the trees, or the streams of sunlight that break through, or the glorious ever-changing landscape view. Or perhaps its just a great way to keep awake while praying…who knows. What I do know is that I enjoy walking and praying.
In addition to praying, this time my walks have also included reading and memorizing Scripture. Having received encouragement from a close friend, throughout my walk I read and memorize the Word as a means of elevating my heart to pray. I have been working through the Psalms and can, after several weeks and a bit of stumbling, recite from memory the first six Psalms (No pop quizzes, please, I am doing this for my own spiritual edification).
Now, reading and memorizing Scripture while walking is not as tricky as it may sound. I carry a small print Bible that fits into my hand, so I never feel its weight. I look up constantly, seeing if I can recite what I just read. Ok, to be honest, sometimes I get engrossed in what I am reading. But I never speak so loud that I can not hear the coming car or the shuffling jogger.
Oh, did I mention I do this aloud? Yes, it may seem a bit strange, especially to the occasional passerby or dog-walker, but my wave and greeting seems to assure them that I have, at least, some social graces and am not that weird.
On the contrary, I have found it an opportunity to witness to the grace of the Lord. Some have asked, others don’t, but everyone sees the tiny leather-bound Bible in my hand and knows that I am doing something I enjoy. Actually, I have through reciting Scripture aloud struck up a friendship with a middle-aged lady in my neighborhood, Sammy, who loves to stop me and hear what I am memorizing. She always turns away with a smile on her face; she loves Jesus.
Truth be told, I read, recite, and pray aloud, not for others but myself. Hearing Scripture spoken aloud provides another level of interaction with the Word. It is not just words in my head, but a conversation. And, that is really why I pray, read, and memorize while I walk, that I might commune with God. I don’t have to be walking or even speaking aloud, I could instead be in my den in a comfortable chair. Yet, I want to do whatever will encourage my heart and mind to engage more in enjoying the fellowship of my Heavenly Father. When I hear Scripture read aloud, I hear my Gracious Creator speaking to me. When I pray aloud, whether my own words or that of Scripture, I am speaking to my Blessed Savior.
And we talk. He is before me and I am walking towards Him. Some days I feel very close to Him, other days I don’t. But what keeps me coming back, waking up the next morning getting dressed and heading out early, is the hope and the promise that if I draw near to Him, He will draw near to me (James 4:8).
I pray that this personal disclosure may be a means of encouraging you through your days, from Lord’s Day to Lord’s Day, to cultivate a habit of drawing near to God. Whether its through a walk, quiet time while the kids sleep, or 10-15-minute break during the work day, I trust that the Lord will bless you as He has me when you seek to draw near to Him.