Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters.”

Genesis 5:22

 
Walking along a stream bed near Alto Pass at Thanksgiving
 
In yesterday’s reflection we considered the “epitaph” for Enoch in Genesis 5:22: “Enoch walked with God.” As you may recall, we saw that walking with God is more than a matter of obeying divine commandments. It is sharing life with God, living in deep fellowship with God.

I wonder if the metaphorical use of “walking with God” might come from the common human experience of sharing life while walking side by side with someone. I have had some of the most intimate conversations of my life while walking alongside friends and relatives. Something about the pace, the surroundings, the movement, the leisure, and who knows what else fosters unusual emotional intimacy. This is one reason why I like to go on walks with my wife. Exercise is good. So is enjoying the beauty of creation. But intimacy with my wife is even better, and walking helps us share life more deeply and fully.

I have found that walking also helps me know God intimately. Throughout my life, some of my best times of prayer have come while I’ve been walking. It can help if I’m in a place of natural beauty and quiet. But I’ve also had great conversations with God while ambling through suburban neighborhoods or even busy cities. When I’m walking and praying, I feel less rushed and more responsive to whatever the Lord might want to say to me.

I’m not suggesting that literal walking will necessarily help you walk with God more intimately. But it might. If you’re finding it hard to pray, if you get distracted when you try to pray while sitting, standing, or kneeling, perhaps you should try walking. If possible, go to a place that is relatively quiet, a place where you can actually pray out loud, if you wish to. Go on a walk for however long seems right and talk to God. Leave time for listening. See what happens. If you’re like me, literal walking will open your heart to walking with God.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

What helps you to pray? What locations, exercises, or disciplines help you to know God deeply and speak to him honestly?

Have you ever tried to pray while walking? If so, how did it go? If not, is this something you’re willing to try?

PRAYER:

Gracious God, thank you for meeting us in all sorts of contexts and activities. There is no single magic formula for intimacy with you. You make yourself known to us variously because you want us to know you truly and deeply. Thank you.

I thank you, Lord, for the gift of praying while walking. I don’t quite understand it, but I receive it as a manifestation of your grace. You are very good to me.

Dear Lord, I pray for all who read this devotion, that you might lead them into whatever behavior will help them to know you better. If it’s walking, that’s great. If not, that’s fine too. The point is not the activity, Lord, but the intimacy we have with you in the midst of it. So, I pray, grant to all of us the gift of walking with you, whether we are actually walking or not. Amen.

Photo Credit: Thanks to adventurejay.com’s blog for an “artsy hiking picture.” This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License. Cropped from original.