How to Create Your Own Prayer Walk Using the Psalms

Create your own retreat using the Psalms with this printable Prayer Walk as you connect to God through nature.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

WHAT IS A PRAYER WALK?

My favorite part of the book of Psalms is that you can easily turn the verses into a personal prayer for yourself. A few years ago I was invited to a women’s retreat for the weekend and part of our activities was a self-guided prayer walk along dirt paths and bridges winding through a beautiful property in Texas. While we started out in small groups, I felt the need to break off to finish up on my own.

I feel most connected to God when I am alone in the quiet, listening for his voice.

Although I haven’t heard anything audible on these walks, I feel a calm and peace come over my spirit, as I breathe in gratitude for the beauty and the opportunity to have a moment to think.

Sometimes it is more of a listening experience. Maybe a journal entry by a creek, or a minute to pause and watch for wildlife in the trees.

PLAN YOUR OWN PRAYER WALK

Nature has a way of speaking to us and bringing us closer to our creator, and I encourage you to plan a moment (or a few) each year where you can get away for even an hour to reflect.

Here are my favorite places to be still and reflect on what God is teaching me:

  • Walk along the beach in the early morning before the crowds
  • Hike a simple nature trail in your local community
  • Go on a bike ride in your neighborhood after dinner or before breakfast
  • Sit on a porch or balcony on a vacation with a view
  • Sip on coffee in the backyard and listen to the birds
  • Turn on nature sounds for an indoor break

It’s not simply about taking a minute to get back into nature–it’s about reconnecting with God. An easy way to do that is to pray and journal the Psalms out in his creation.

MARK THE MEMORY

In the Bible when God did something that the Israelites wanted to remember, they offered a sacrifice, started a tradition or set up stones of remembrance.

On my personal prayer walk, we were asked to collect something along the way, like a rock, and write a word that stuck out to us on our journey. I still have my rock with the word trust written on it sitting in my office. I was going through a especially hard time in my life, and the reminder of the prayers and conversations I had with God that weekend stayed with me throughout that time.

This week I modified the Prayer Walk we used on our women’s retreat into one you can use on your own, anywhere you’d like.

ORDER THE PRAYER WALK PRINTABLE WORKBOOK

My Prayer Walk Workbook is simple to reprint year after year if you want to make it a tradition. You can staple it together or I like these clear protector sheets that make it into a little booklet. You can find them here or at most stores that sell office supplies.

The Printable Prayer Walk Workbook includes directions and activities for a 1.5 hour self-guided nature walk and follow-up suggestions.

Want the details? Purchase includes:

  • Workbook cover page
  • Prayer Walk directions and schedule
  • 6 guided activities to study the psalms (gratitude, lament, praise, restoration, stillness, transformation)
  • 7 journaling prompts for ongoing prayers
  • Topical Psalms list for further study
  • Cheatsheet on writing your own psalm
  • Reproducible Prayer Record Keeping

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A Few Words on Your Own Personal Suffering

Sometimes when we are suffering, we think we’re the only ones. You may be the only one who understands what it’s like to be in your shoes, but perhaps it’s better if we stepped inside someone else’s for a minute.

A FEW COMMENTS THAT RUBBED ME WRONG

I need a second to get something off my chest. You see this same thing has been occurring over the past several years and I feel the need to address it:

If you’re an older person, please don’t make blanket statements to young people about life only being hard when you get older.

Here are two things I’ve been told:

  1. “You don’t know anything yet, you’re young. Your life is easy.” (Four months after a horrendous flareup and one of the deepest depressions I’ve ever been through)
  2. “It sucks getting older. You young people need to appreciate your bodies, you don’t even know pain yet.” (After 7 years of the worst pain of my life, as I take over 40 pills a day to manage it)

Because I was raised to have respect for my elders, in both instances I just smile and nod. Maybe that’s not the correct response, but hey, I’m a pretty non-confrontational person.

I don’t think these people are intentionally trying to wound. If anything it’s a strange attempt to encourage.

But for anyone who’s ever been through anything difficult before 60, it is like daggers to the heart. I feel the urge to scream, if you had any idea of what I’ve been through…

But the reason I don’t is because I’m not trying to one-up anyone…which kind of feels like what I’m doing now, so I’m sorry if it comes off that way, but hear me out.

WE ALL EXPERIENCE SUFFERING

I have realized through my own hardships that practically EVERY person you come across is dealing with, has dealt with, or is about to deal with something very hard.

Maybe your life has been easy, maybe even great up to this point. If so, praise the Lord! My life was that way until about 27. I really hadn’t been through anything hard in my life. But in one year I got pregnant and lost my baby and my mother-in-law died of brain cancer three weeks before my next child was born. That was a wake-up call. Any one of those things would have been. In that season I learned:

  • There can be great fear even in a season of joy (having a miscarriage and then worrying throughout a healthy pregnancy)
  • That cancer is traumatic to everyone involved (I had no idea what it looks like to visit someone every weekend and watch them deteriorate before your eyes)
  • That no one is exempt from suffering (I now saw people through a different lens–you have no idea what someone is dealing with at home)

I’m sure reading through this you have your own sad story to tell. And I’m sorry. I hate that for you. But how are you telling people your story? In a way that hopes people will pay attention to you, or points them toward the one who redeems all things?

HOW CAN WE SUFFER WELL?

Maybe we should stop offering everyone our opinions and start listening a little better. This isn’t a message for old people–it’s for all of us, no matter the age! We’re all struggling to get it right.

If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that there are a lot of suffering people in the world, and we need to start becoming part of the solution, not adding to the problem.

Here are a few thoughts:

  • Start seeing other people as your brothers and sisters in Christ, not someone you have to one-up
  • Believe the best in others, most of us are just doing the best we can
  • When someone else is acting hurtful, show some grace—we don’t always know what people are dealing with at home
  • Be proactive: if you’re suffering, let people know how they can help in a way that honors them instead of making them feel guilty
  • Be compassionate: offer to help others suffering too, look around for those in need

We’re in this together. Let’s not make it a competition.

HOW CAN WE APPROACH SUFFERING LIKE CHRIST?

Recently I read through the book of Job, and was reminded that no one is safe from suffering. God’s character seems out-of-character when you first read the story, but by the end you are humbled along with Job. God allows us to suffer sometimes because it’s only through suffering that we truly grow and learn lessons he wants to teach us in order to become more like Christ.

When I go through hard seasons, I get a better perspective on what the Bible teaches when it says:

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." 

Philippians 4:11-13
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord." 

James 1:2-7

Don’t let your hard season be wasteful. Look for the silver lining, seek what God may be teaching you. Don’t assume you have it the worst. And acknowledge those you see suffering too.

I am not discounting what you’re going through. Life is hard. You are allowed to mourn what was lost and even lament to God! I’m simply encouraging you to not let your hardship strip you and everyone around you of the hope he promises.

“Let us hold resolutely to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds.” 

Hebrews 10:23-24

If you are going through a good season, praise the Lord! Give him thanks, and encourage those around you.

Not everyone’s life looks like yours. And not everyone started on the same page. Be gracious, be kind. Let’s start truly seeing one another for who we are: equals as children of God.

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10 Spiritual Goals to Have and How to Work Toward Them

We set goals for our careers, our homes, our health and our finances. Why wouldn’t we then set spiritual goals?

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

A WORK IN PROGRESS

As a child I was shy and withdrawn, insecure and anxious. I was a sensitive kid that was afraid of the dark and meeting new people. But I loved to teach my younger brother, read funny books, write stories, make crafts and create neighborhood clubs.

When I grew older, my talents grew, as did my weaknesses. With big changes came bigger challenges. Marrying young and living across the country from my family, death of my mother-in-law, post-partum depression, a chronic illness and an aggressive toddler.

I walked through many days of confusion and exhaustion, until I learned that even doctors have their limits on how much they can help. I learned in each of these areas, that my spiritual growth had to be part of the equation. Learning to trust, leaning to hope, learning to pray.

Even in my talents, came trials.

After I got a job teaching second grade, I thought my biggest worry would be classroom management. It ended up being things like dealing with CPS, a year where 60% of my kids had recently gone through divorce, or two of my kids losing their parents during the time in my class.

Again I had to turn to my Father, the only one who could give me true peace and wisdom in a world where things often don’t make sense.

LEARNING TO LET GO OF CONTROL

Life is so much more complicated as an adult than it was as a child.

Some things can be helped from self-help books or experience. Others can be helped through community, such as a friend reaching out, or a doctor prescribing medicine. But some come at a harder price. Complete surrender. Loss of control in a situation where the only option you have left is to give it to God.

Life is full of twists and turns and lessons we may have never wanted to learn in the way we did. And so, as I train myself to grow in the ways God calls me to, I find myself taking my problems to Him much faster and with much more trust than I have in the past.

GROWING IN FAITH

No matter where you are in this journey, you my friend, need to set some spiritual goals. We set goals for our careers, our health and our finances. Why wouldn’t we then set them for our spirituality–the one thing we claim matters the most in life?

When I need to grow in confidence, I focus on surrender and study. When I need to grow in positivity and hope, I focus on prayer and worship.

Where are you struggling? Set your goals in these areas and look for ways God is growing you spiritually. Don’t see your trials as a roadblock, but as an opportunity.

Ready to get started? Me too!

10 AREAS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH

1. CELEBRATION/WORSHIP

“His praise shall be continually in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1

2. CONFESSION/FORGIVENESS

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.” 1 John 1:9

  • Repent of a sin and list tangible ways to improve
  • Find a mentor or accountability partner to encourage you
  • Attend counseling to work through forgiveness issues

3. FASTING/SACRIFICE

“She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying.” Luke 2:37

  • Fast from a type of technology (TV, social media, phone)
  • Cut out food indulges (sweets, carbs)
  • Fast from spending money (impulse buys, extra purchases, treats)
  • Take a break from a hobby (use the time in study and prayer)

4. FELLOWSHIP/COMMUNITY

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42

  • Host a get together with family or friends
  • Join a small group at church
  • Join a women’s Bible study
  • Pray with others

5. GUIDANCE/TRUST

“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:5

  • Commit to reading your Bible daily
  • Commit to daily prayer
  • Seek out spiritual mentors at your church
  • Fast and pray over a specific decision

6. MEDITATION/STUDY

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8

7. PRAYER/RELATIONSHIP

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12

  • Pray as a family at the dinner table
  • Pray during an activity (brushing teeth, in traffic)
  • Read a book about prayers
  • Pray with your kids at bedtime
  • Write your prayers in a journal
  • Ask for and keep track of prayer requests

8. SECRECY/SOLITUDE

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them…when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets…do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4

  • Give money to a homeless person
  • Buy the meal for the person behind you in the drive thru
  • Participate in Toys for Tots, MAGI boxes, or Angel Tree
  • Go on a personal retreat to read, fast and pray

9. SERVICE/COMPASSION

“Do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13

  • Visit a nursing home (teach something, play music, pass out cards)
  • Bring cookies to a Fire/Police Station
  • Buy/make items for kids in the hospital
  • Bring a meal or help clean a sick person’s home

10. STILLNESS/SURRENDER

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

  • Wake early to spend quiet time with God
  • Go somewhere to sit still and enjoy nature
  • Let the little things go
  • Have a tech free day and be present with your family

SET ONE SPIRITUAL GOAL RIGHT NOW

Pick ONE area that sticks out to you the most right now. Then write down the action steps you need to get there. Work your way through them. Then move onto the next, building and growing in your spiritual walk. Click the image to print your goal sheet:

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Dig deep on goal setting in your life in this Goal Setting Workbook I created just for you! You can find it in my shop here:

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You’ve got this!

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