Prayer Walk in Digital Spaces

A prayer walk is an intentional time spent in a space you care about, moving through the space and praying for things that catch your attention as they come. In physical spaces, they often involve literally moving from spot to spot and praying for the way that space is used in each spot as you come to it.

In a church, you might do a prayer walk by going to the sanctuary and praying for the worship service, praying for children while standing in the nursery, and lifting up your pastors in the church office. You might go room to room to pray for classes and programs, or walk around the building and lift up the congregation and the community.

On campus, you could stand outside a classroom and pray for the students and the professor, or walk between buildings praying for the different disciplines represented there. You could pray for health near the dining hall and pray for vibrant communities while traveling the halls of your dorm.

For more on traditional prayer walks, take a look at other InterVarsity resources here and here.

So what does it look like to do a digital prayer walk?

In short, it’s much the same, you just probably won’t use your feet. Probably.

Every digital space still has areas, or sections, and you can move through them one by one. Social media sites have feeds and tags to cluster posts; Reddit and other forums have threads to isolate discussions; games have servers and matches. Pick a space you want to pray in, identify its areas, and make a plan to move through them.

Try something like this (or design your own)

In Interactive Spaces
  • Play a game and offer short prayers for other players as they come in and out of your part of the game
  • Read and contribute to posts on the subreddit for a game/genre and pray for the people who are sharing there
  • If there's a dedicated public Discord server for a game/genre, join that and follow/join the conversations happening there
  • Read gaming news and pray for the developers and gamers the stories relate to
In Social Spaces
  • Scroll through your news feed, praying over your friends and the people you follow as you see what’s going on in their lives
  • Go exploring, checking out trending hashtags on Twitter, public pages/groups on Facebook, or any platform’s featured/suggested content
  • Find a post with a lot of replies and read through them carefully; pray over the people involved, consider whether and how to contribute
  • Look for under-engaged posts. Sometimes people put a lot of energy into what they put on social media and don’t get much response. If you see a post that’s somewhat old (by social media standards) that hasn’t gotten much response, look for a way to connect and encourage that person.
In Content Spaces
  • Watch, listen, or read the content in your chosen space, praying over the people who made it, the people it will reach, and yourself as you take it in.
  • Visit your favorite blogger’s site and pray for them and their readers. Read their About page and pray for them and their family, or read comments on their posts and prayerfully engage.
  • Join a Twitch stream and intercede for the streamer(s). Follow the chat and pray for the chatters. Engage with chat in an uplifting way if it feels appropriate
  • Locate the community around your favorite YouTuber, podcaster, or other content creator. It could be a hashtag, a forum, a Facebook group, or a subreddit. Pray over the responses that the content creator is getting from fans and critics.

Some tips for an effective prayer walk

  • Set aside a specific amount of time. Give yourself enough time to fully engage with people, conversations, or threads. Depending on your schedule, half an hour is a pretty good minimum; if you can, try a full hour, or two.
  • Eliminate distractions. Close other browser tabs, put on headphones and play instrumental music, make sure you're comfortable. Do what you can to free yourself up to fully connect with the experience. Sit in a comfortable posture, turn lights on or off as needed, and try to build a setting that is inviting. This will help you commit your whole attention to your prayer and your chosen space.
  • Balance breadth and depth. Online, there’s always more to read and see than we can take in, especially if we want to respond thoughtfully when we participate. Don’t expect to cover the whole space in one walk. Try starting “breadth first,” scanning the topics and looking at the space from a bird’s-eye view. What is the mood of the space? Are there a lot of participants, or a dedicated few? Are certain topics or themes really prevalent, or is the discussion broad ranging?
    • Spend time exploring the breadth until something pulls you deeper. When a comment or message catches your attention, dig in. Note the people involved in the exchange, note the details of that interaction.
    • Try to strike a balance between these two. Spend time exploring, looking at the big picture, and dive in when you feel led. Don’t expect to be able to go deep on everything
  • Don’t be afraid to engage. Often when we talk about prayer, we tend to think of one kind of prayer, alone in a quiet place, talking back and forth with God and shutting the rest of the world out. But the attitude of prayer can apply even when you’re in the midst of another action, as long as you are open to God speaking through the moment and communicating something to you - or through you! If you ever feel like you have something you should add to the space while you’re on your prayer walk, add it! Look especially for opportunities to encourage others, to build them up, and to be a good neighbor to them in this space you share. If you establish a connection with someone, embrace it! 
    • The ultimate goal of ministry is to share the love of Christ with others, so if you get a chance to show someone that love, don’t hesitate. It may not be on the “agenda” for a prayer walk, but it’s actually God answering your prayer in a powerful way!
  • Be prepared to follow up. When you set aside time for a prayer walk, you’ll probably only set aside an hour or two, but relationships don’t start and end in the span of an hour. If you feel led to make a connection during your prayer walk, expect that connection to continue after the walk is over! Later that day, or in the days that follow, reach out to people you connected with and ask how they’re doing, or how the issue you discussed with them turned out. Use your initial connection as fuel for the follow-up; let them know you remember them!

Are you ready to try it?

You may have noticed that a lot of this advice involves doing the sort of thing you already do - that’s no accident! Often, we don’t need to go that far out of our way to connect with God and to see Him at work in these parts of our lives. All we need to change is our perspective and our posture. God is already at work in digital spaces; a prayer walk is just one way you can reach out to Him so that he can work through you in digital spaces.