Waymakers: Biblical Prayers of Hope
WayMakers might be best known for their 40-day Seek God for the City prayer guide, but their vision for united prayer encompasses gospel harvest and community transformation. Steve Hawthorne (director and founder) explains: “A prayed-for world becomes an evangelized world in which Christ is glorified by obedient, worshiping movements in every people group.”
Hundreds of thousands of believers use the Seek God for the City prayer guide each year during the 40 days of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday. The 64-page booklet is rewritten each year with prayers and themes to unify a congregation or city in sustained, biblical hope. Seek God for the City (English and Spanish) is available at a modest cost in printed form and as an app. In 2021, it will also be accessible as an ebook.
The ministry mobilizes a broad audience nationally and internationally. They emphasize unified, coordinated prayer mobilization in local churches and among national prayer leaders in the U.S. They prepare church and mission leaders to help Christians—whatever their vocation or location—to devote their lives to fulfilling God’s global purposes. Increasingly, WayMakers focuses on equipping mobilizers in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.
In collaboration with the U.S. Center for World Mission (now Frontier Ventures), Hawthorne and Ralph Winters co-edited a well-known book and study course called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. The material is now in nine languages and 40 countries. The 200 classes offered yearly in the U.S. enroll approximately 15,000 students.
One young woman had been involved in beauty pageants for years—and even competed for the Miss America title Then she took the Perspectives course.
“One summer I was on stage in front of 5,000 people in a beautiful evening gown, gorgeous jewelry, and five-inch heels,” she says. After taking the Perspectives course, “I found myself in the middle of the most AIDS-infected country in Africa, with no electricity or running water . . . surrounded by orphans. They were filthy, hungry, diseased, and poverty stricken. They were also more beautiful than any crown I’d ever worn.”
“The focus of the course is not to turn students into foreign missionaries,” Hawthorne says, “but instead to build a vision and practical passion to integrate their lives [with] God’s global purpose.”
Prayer Initiatives and Partnerships
Over the years, WayMakers has collaborated with various prayer initiatives. In the 1990s and early 2000s, they worked with Mission America and the Lighthouse Movement, which mobilized people to pray strategically for neighborhoods. Hawthorne also contributed to the biblical theology that brought maturity to the March for Jesus movement, which has had a recent resurgence.
The Global Day of Prayer was another movement that Hawthorne and other international prayer leaders initiated. He edited the prayer guide that was translated and used in various countries.
Hawthorne admits that people in the prayer movement know him as “the prayerwalking guy.” And people in the missions movement know him as “the Perspectives guy.” Carol Madison, editor of Prayer Connect magazine, recalls having dinner with Hawthorne and other prayer friends when Steve looked at her and said, “Carol, prayerwalking is one word. I’m the one who coined it, and it’s one word.” Since then, prayerwalking, as one word, is a part of the Prayer Connect style guide!
WayMakers offers a variety of resources to help people engage:
- Seek God for the City: This prayer guide offers focus and hope as you pray for your community’s spiritual awakening and transformation.
- Prayerwalking materials: The bookPrayerwalking: Praying On-Site with Insight provides simple training and vision for prayerwalking. Other prayer guides help prayerwalkers pray in their communities with biblical substance. These guides also help leaders of short-term mission efforts pray effectively in distant lands.
- Prayer-Care-Share material: This colorful, short, practical guide suggests ways to live a prayer-care-share lifestyle.
- Fresh Prayer: Free two-page PDF prayer guides help small-group members pray together.
WayMakers especially emphasizes hope. Their initiatives and materials are strongly grounded in Scripture and rich in theology, communicating prayer toward God’s purposes according to biblical promises.
Information on all the resources and the Perspectives course can be found at waymakers.org.