The Not-So-Normal Life of Prayerwalking Janet McHenry

"That's only five words: you walk and you pray," she laughs. Now, she's written over 25 books, six of them on prayer, including Prayerwalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength, and Discipline. Today, she's widely considered an expert on the topic of prayer and prayerwalking. Naturally, I couldn't wait to invite her on to Fireside Talk Radio to answer my own personal questions about prayer.

Prayerwalking

Janet began by sharing how prayerwalking developed in her own life. Of course, many of us can relate. Whether you're a mommy to toddlers or an aging grandmother, most women multitask at caring for everyone but themselves.

"I was falling apart physically. The worst moment was when I stepped out my door and found myself in a crumpled heap because my knee had given way," explains Janet, "I knew I needed to do something about my health, but I also knew that God had been calling me for a long time to spend more time with Him."

Fortunately, prayerwalking quickly developed into a lifestyle for Janet, as she learned to seek His companionship, transforming her perspective on prayer. Oh, and she wrote the book, too! (For more about Prayerwalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength, and Discipline, click here.)

Strange Coincidence

Just as her book on prayerwalking was taking off, another strange situation developed. Through a string of false accusations, Janet's husband, a respected rancher, was charged with animal abuse due to the death of a few cattle lost during a blizzard.

Hearing the story sounds like something out of a John Wayne movie. But six long years later, when the charges were finally overthrown in appellate court, Janet and her family had a whole new appreciation for how Jesus feels about injustice. (To hear more of their experiences in Janet's own voice, click below.)

Circled with a P

"Years ago, as I began prayerwalking, I realized I wanted to know more about prayer," Janet remembers, "This hunger developed in me and I began reading my Bible straight through and marking all those places with P and a circle."

As I listened to Janet describe her study methods, I thought, if only! If only I had the good sense to mark every prayer reference with a P in my own Bible years ago. What a treasure trove!

"I particularly began to focus on Jesus's prayer life, what He taught about prayer, His prayer practices, and His prayers themselves," adds Janet, "Even how He continues to pray for us today." For instance, she mentioned a special kind of prayer for parents.

The Hand Off Prayer

"I kinda call that the Hand Off Prayer," laughs Janet, from John 17 in the upper room, "He knows what's ahead. He prays for Himself, He prays for His disciples, and He prays for even those who will believe." For modern parents, Janet offered this insight.

"For His disciples, He says basically, ‘Here they are Lord, I've finished my work with them. Now they're yours.' He's giving them over to God. For us as parents, that's a really healthy prayer as well."

Fortunately, Janet taught at Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writer’s Conference  this year and I got to be there. Certainly, she provided some of the best training I’ve ever received on how to write. Because I’m a sponge for that stuff now, I’ve actually received quite a bit of training. Even so, her exercises stand out, reflecting how well-trained she is herself in the art of writing AND teaching. (If you need a speaker, I highly recommend her for your next event. You can find her here.)

Janet McHenry shares about PrayerwalkingShown here in her cowboy boots, Janet invites new generations to join in prayerwalking.

Fact or Fiction?

“I had thought I was going to write some great Christian novel, which never happened,” Janet laughs now. But, hey, there’s still time! Perhaps a Hallmark movie script about a small town gal and her rancher husband who overcome injustice and end up with movie crews following them around all day? Stranger things have happened. 

Actually, Janet is no stranger to media attention, it turns out. In fact, when her prayerwalking book came out to a media blitz, including national magazine attention, a journalist and a photographer did follow her around town for three days.

As an English teacher in her town’s only high school, sporting the flurry of a film crew, folks started asking, “What’s going on, Mrs. McHenry?”

Meanwhile, the dark cloud of injustice loomed on the horizon, like a storm in a wild west shootout. After one failed attempt to clarify the truth, she and her husband fired their lawyer to represent themselves in appellate court. Together, using the original court documents, they researched and listed all the ways the original judge prejudiced the jury.

Interestingly, research and content analysis is a natural skill set for those who love to write! Eventually, their perseverance paid off and the false conviction was overturned.

Jesus Faced Injustice

Because we live in a time when people really struggle with injustice, it’s important for those who’ve lived through it and understand it to be able to speak out. For this reason, I’m grateful to Janet for sharing her story and wisdom in this podcast and the other one we recorded together, Forgive Relentlessly, Praying in the Face of Injustice. (Click here to find both.)

“Jesus certainly faced injustice and I can speak to that as well. I understand the heart of those who struggle with injustice in their lives. I would love to give them a little more help.” (To learn more from Janet, click here.

As for my personal reading list, I just finished up Janet’s book The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. What a read, like a conversation with your best friend over coffee! Plus, it’s a great reference book for anyone who wants all that prayer info in one place, like pastors, teachers, or prayer warriors. Shhh, don’t tell William, but he’s getting an autographed copy for Christmas. (To find her website book store, click here.)

When Life Feels Out of Control

“We think we should be able to control our destiny,” Janet says, “When it’s not controllable at all, we get frustrated. We want to try to manipulate a situation or a person in our life. That’s just probably not going to work.” Thus, a tested kind of trust in God develops in those challenging moments. 

“Ultimately, as we grow in the faith, we learn releasing, submitting, committing ourselves; that’’s not a bad thing. There’s less anxiety as we put things in God’s hands. Even if we have to do that hour by hour, over and over again. He is a good, good Father, He loves us. He knows what is best for us. We can put our trust and our faith in Him.”

We Get to Choose

Moment by moment, we all get to make choices. To develop a powerful, prayerful lifestyle, Janet recommends choosing time in God’s word, that is, the Bible. 

“You’re thinking about it, you’re meditating on it. You look at life in such a way that you realize where ever you are there’s a need for prayer. And so you develop a praying lifestyle. But when you’re really in a conversation and communion with God all day long, it begins to show.”

Finally, Janet compares a life of walking with God in prayer to the lines, crinkles, and wrinkles we get as we age. Time spent with God begins to show, she suggests gently.

May I pray for you?

Dear Father in heaven, we come to You now, Your children. Like the disciples in the upper room, we don’t know what is about to happen. Yet, we can know You, if we so choose. Quietly, You invite us into companionship with You, giving us ongoing access to You through prayer. We lift our trembling hearts to You now, declaring ourselves unworthy of Your love and attention. Yet, because of Your Son’s love for us and His sacrifice, You receive us, beloved and worthy. Thank You, O Lord for the record of Jesus’s prayers. What a beautiful gift You prepared for us! Thank You for His ongoing intercessions on our behalf. Even now, we pray to You in His beloved name. Amen.

We love to hear from you!

What is the most profound lesson you’ve learned about prayer? When you feel distracted, how do you refocus your mind to pray? What is the one question you wish someone would answer about prayer? 

Coming soon:

Next week, Janet joins us again to discuss the ways justice and forgiveness come together in prayer. If you’ve ever felt the pain of injustice, you won’t want to miss what she has to say. Then, we can’t wait to share all the insight gleaned on the new wave of entrepreneurship. First, Author and Publisher Mike Sahno comes on, followed closely by Work Hub CEO YO Orrostieta .

Cathy Krafve, Columnist, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Christian Writer, invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.

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