Eventually, our walking and talking became walking and praying
The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord. (Genesis 13:14–18)
I met Ruth when our husbands attended a military school together. We were acquaintances who were happy for the possibility to become friends when we heard the news that both our families would be moving to Fort Benning, Georgia. In the providence of God we became neighbors on the same street.
Ruth and I walked in the evenings around the neighborhood for exercise and conversation. As we walked, we shared our frustrations about our new community, our fears about our husbands’ new jobs, our concerns about our children’s education, and our struggle to find our own places of ministry and service. Eventually, our walking and talking became walking and praying. Over time something interesting happened. As we walked and prayed for our neighbors, the neighborhood became something we cared about. As we walked and prayed for the school, the school became a place we cared about. As we walked and prayed for our husbands’ jobs, the soldiers and their mission became something about which we cared.
God’s instruction to Abraham to “walk through the length and the breadth of the land” that God promised to give him reminds me of the walks I took with my friend. While we walked and prayed the Lord made that place home for us. In Old Testament times, measuring out the land on foot was part of the action of taking possession of the land.1 The promise of God to give the land to Abraham and his offspring was confirmed and sealed in Abraham as he obeyed and walked. An added benefit of walking with my friend is that our relationship grew strong. We remain the dearest of friends to this day. Abraham’s relationship with God grew stronger as well with every step they took together.
Do you have a friend with whom you pray? If not, consider making it a priority to find someone to join you in praying for the needs of your community.
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, I ask you to bless my military community. Strengthen relationships and bring harmony to each home. Amen.
1 Claus Westermann, Continental Commentary, Genesis 12-36 (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1995), 180.