Years ago, I used to walk every day – at least once. I was a teacher at the time, and I would spend my lunch hours walking instead of sitting in my classroom marking papers, or in the staffroom gossiping with colleagues. Not only did I feel better physically, I felt better emotionally. I was out in the fresh air, alone. I was away from the nasty comments that often happened in the staffroom. I was giving my eyes a rest from papers and marking. Since I changed careers and answered God’s call to ministry, I have gotten out of the habit of walking. It seemed that there was always too much to do, and I just couldn’t find the time to walk.

Of course, the inevitable happened. I started putting on weight and losing energy. I didn’t accomplish any more, but found myself procrastinating more and more. Recently, I started working with a personal trainer, and we decided that, in view of my age – and the fact that all the gymns are closed due to COVID-19 – walking was the best thing for me.  I dusted off the treadmill, and began a regime.

As I got into the habit of walking, I realized that I missed the outdoors, and, since we do have a small walking trail not far from my house, that seemed a logical place to walk. Did I mention that I find it very difficult to walk uphill? I have angina, and walking uphill can bring on an attack, which is no fun. This trail, however, is very flat for most of the distance, and the two hills are quite manageable, even by me.

I decided that it would also be a good opportunity for me to try to retrain our dog, who has a mind of her own, and who really needs to learn to listen and obey. We have worked with trainers, but she relapses very quickly. So now, Bella and I walk every day, and I rate each walk on my Facebook page on a scale of 1 – 10. She rarely gets a 10, but she has not yet gotten a 1, so I am counting this as at least a partial success.

The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Reverend Amanda Currie, is starting a “Walk and Talk with the Moderator” on June 1st, and has extended an open invitation, so I have decided to join her. She will walk in her neighbourhood of Saskatchewan, and I will walk in my neighbourhood of Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier. Together, we will pray for every church in our denomination, as well as our ecumenical partners. I will also add to my walking prayer those requests which I receive on an almost daily basis.

And today, I thought to share with you a prayer I have written which I will use to start my walks each morning, starting on Monday, June 1st.

Lord Jesus
When you walked among us
You walked
And you walked
From Nazareth to Jerusalem
To Bethany
To the upper room
To the Garden of Gethsemane
To Calvary

And people thought
That your walking days
Were over

But they were wrong
For you walked out of the tomb
And you walked though walls
To appear where you
Were not  expected

You walked to Emmaus
With people who
Did not recognize you
You walked along the shore
And more people
Did not recognize you

As I walk today
I pray that I
Will recognize you
In the people I meet
I pray that people
Will recognize you
In me

Grant that those
Churches and people
I am holding in prayer
As I walk
Will be blessed by you
Will feel your presence
When they most need it

And grant, Lord,
That I will feel you
Walking with me
Not on the road to Emmaus
But on the trail
Behind the residence

Grant that I will
Hear your voice
In the birds and insects
Who accompany me
And in the wind
Rustling through the leaves
Amen

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Katherine Burgess was one of the contributors to A Child Laughs: Prayers of Justice and Hope. She also co-wrote a book of daily prayers with Neal Mathers. She is a second-career minister in the Presbyterian Church in Canada, and serves two congregations in Québec. During this time of COVID-19, she has rediscovered the joy of walking, which she is sharing with her rather large (and strong) Labradoodle – Bella.


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2 thoughts on “Saturday Prayer: Walking

  1. Thank you. I walk every day with Willie the beagle — who also is wonderful one day and … “independent” the next. I will print and carry this prayer today.

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