Some of my biggest discoveries about God happen through the blessing of routine. But 2020 was the year of disruption. Routines changed. Relationships shifted. Our careers required more creativity.

As my state shut down due to the pandemic, my on-the-go heart panicked. My wannabe healthy heart understood.

But what we see as interruptions are also invitations to experience God in the unknown.

The thought of cabin fever left me as I sensed His prompting. My crediting Him comes minus any divine theatrics. There was no thunderous voice or sudden light flooding the room. But it was a clear nudge in His direction. I had the desire to begin prayer walking. These verses say it best . . . 

“Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming’” (Psalms 27:7-8, NLT). And so I came.

I walk the perimeter of our home each morning. How many times I circle the house is not nearly as important as what I pray.

I’ve been familiar with the concept of prayer walking for years. The focus may be a neighborhood or city. Prayer walks can also be for personal edification, like the kind I’ve done on women’s retreats. But this was a different step of faith. The pun is fully intended.

RELATED: A Prayer For Daughters

This was a call to intimacy with God during a time of isolation.

Brisk Carolina air greets me as I take my first steps. Deep breaths clear my mind and fill me with gratitude. Words of praise began my first rotation. Confession follows as I tell God about my failures, struggles, and fears.

I seek His wisdom and mercy for one situation or ask Him for strength and a miracle for another. Whether I meditate on a Scripture or softly sing a worship song, each creates a calming cadence within me.

And yet, there are issues that threaten to take my breath away.

My husband and I are steeped in parenting our teenager through tough times. Members of my church and neighbors have contracted COVID-19 or died from the disease. And just as the world was getting used to the notion of us all being in this together, events of racial reckoning erupted in the United States. Weighed down by these realities, just putting on my sneakers feels empowering.

My trek takes place a few feet from my home. But walking out my front door transports me to the wonder of experiencing God in new ways.

Daily prayer walks made me more aware that He always has a path before me. With each circle I complete, I know He is completing something in me. He makes me braver in my battles, humble in my successes, and more confident in His grace.

With Him, diligence becomes delight.

On sunny days, God’s presence is felt as warm rays stream through the tree line in my backyard.  Each tree reminds me how much I need to be rooted and grounded in Christ’s love (Ephesians 3:14-19).

To neighbors, it may look like I’m seeking some form of dizziness or I forgot how to find my front door. When I see someone, I wave. I smile and pray for them too.

With each lap, assurance rises. The Lord fights my battles. He redeems what’s lost and broken and overcomes evil with good.

Cold and rainy days hold unique lessons. My coat or umbrella reminds me of His faithful covering over our family and over anyone who trusts in Him. As I slosh through mud puddles, the messiness of societal issues or personal struggles remains on my mind—until they turn into petitions.

These 10 to 15 minutes a day help me to practice the presence of God. Otherwise, I’m only partially present for what life brings.

Physically, I may be in a room, in a conversation, or in a crisis, but I need to be spiritually attuned to His will at all times.

RELATED: I Pray For You, My Friend

And yet, some days weeping interrupts my words. Cinder blocks of sorrow form around my feet. I stop walking and look up at the sky. Grace hovers as I pause.

Using the gift of silence, I know God sees me. I know my tears don’t just fall to the ground. He bottles them in heaven, records them in His book, and strengthens me with His joy (Psalm 56: 9-10 and Nehemiah 8:10).

Such truth turns my weeping into awe. Grace keeps me plodding along.

As I return inside my home, I jot down a sentence or two in my journal and go about my day. But the blessing of this routine stays with me. I know through Christ, we can always find the grace to keep going.

Joy Williams

Joy A. Williams is an author, blogger, and speaker.  On her blog at joyAwilliams.com, she encourages sincere and side-tracked truth seekers with "hope for the heart and joy to the soul." You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest