On Sunday, I started going on prayer walks. It's exactly how it sounds - pray while walking. I figure I can kill two birds with one stone: talk to God and get a little exercise.
There's a tiny little wooded park I like to walk in not far from my home. It's maybe half a block square and is cozily nestled between two busy roads and way-upper class houses. Did I mention it's tiny? I mean, you can be in the middle of the park, see both roads and be a peeping tom, if you were so inclined. There's a winding, circling nature trail there that takes barely twenty minutes to walk. Thankfully, there's a couple of loops you can go around more than once. Afterall, you need at least 30 minutes of some cardio and making the loops at least twice does that.
Right in the middle of this park near the creek, there is a metal bench so you can just sit and enjoy nature or what have you. I was sitting on that bench sometime last summer when I first heard God calling me. So, the park has a special place in my heart. I like to go there on occasion just to get away and relax or just to walk around for a bit.
Well, Monday, I was walking around the park along the trail, leaves crunching under my feet. There were many things on my mind - some of my own stuggles, prayers asking for wisdom, prayers for other people in need. At one point, I read Psalm 18 as I walked. I had made a few loops and was heading back to the start when I passed the bench. It was time for me to stop talking to God and start listening.
I sat down a stared at the cool waters of the creek for a while before I closed my eyes to really listen. God's easier to hear when you don't have to worry about your sense of sight to screw with your concentration. My eyes were closed for a while waiting to hear from that still, small voice in my head. I began to get frustrated with God and thought He wasn't going to respond. So, I got up and left a little angrt, a little disappointed.
Five steps later, I heard a rustling in the woods to my right. Startled, I turned and there was a deer about 20 feet from me. We stared at each other for a moment. Then, two more deer appeared behind the other one. All four of us looked at each other and my anger and frustration melted into peace. Something startled them and they took off.
As I walked down the path to my car, I realized what had just happened. I was in the presence of the Lord and God was responding. He was just letting me know He was listening. Quickly, I turned around and head back to where the deer bounced off to. I mean, you want to try and spend as much time with the Lord as you can.
I found one in the creek drinking. Then, my eyes focused through the brush and I saw the other two. It sounds and no doubt looked weird to anyone watching from their back porch, but I felt like I needed to kneel. So, I got down on my knees and thanked God for showing up.
Now that I think about it, I have no idea how three deer could end up in that small patch of woods. This was during the evening rush hour and cars was all over the roads. They would have to pass through a plethora of houses and subdivisons to reach any kind other woodsy area. Somehow, though, they ended up right beside me.
Psalms 102:1-2 says "Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I was in distress. Turn your ear towards me; when I call answer me quickly." Realize that God does not turn a deaf ear to our problems. Realize that God does indeed hear our cries of pain. Furthermore, He shows us the mercy and forgiveness that only a loving, graceful God freely gives everyone, even you.