Praying for God to intervene
by Katie Pearn
We’re standing beside an empty plot of land in Calgary’s Beltline, just west of the downtown core. Most people wouldn’t give it a second glance, but to the members of The Walk team, this empty land is a sign of God’s faithfulness and the power of prayer.
“This used to be the site of a huge condemned house,” Danielle, one of the leaders, informs us. “We had heard of all kinds of criminal activity taking place there, including murder, prostitution and trafficking, so we did what we could do. We prayed. We prayed and God answered by bringing it to the ground.”
If you talk to anyone who has been a part of The Walk ministry over the last six years, stories of God remarkably answering prayer are not uncommon. In fact, the ministry itself began through prayer, and the Walk Team is committed to keeping everything they do rooted in it.
In 2012, founder Brooke Nicholson was first exposed to human trafficking while doing missions work in Costa Rica. She soon learned that this issue wasn’t unique to Central America, and was even happening in Calgary. It broke her heart and she began to ask God what she could do to make a difference at home.
“God told her that she could pray, so that’s what she did,” says Jenn Raison, Volunteer Coordinator. “The Walk essentially started as a prayer walk where 20 people went out and walked around downtown during Stampede and prayed. Over the years it has evolved into a more formal ministry, but it’s always been centred around prayer.”
Today, Walk teams regularly go out on outreaches two times per month. Teams go out on two ‘strolls’ on the last Friday of every month, where they walk, pray, talk with and offer gifts and resources to women in prostitution downtown and in the Forest Lawn areas.
Additionally, The Walk has expanded its outreach to massage parlours in the city where workers are being sexually exploited. These outreaches require some additional training and take place on the second and last Friday of every month. All outreaches are covered by a prayer team of volunteers who stay behind to pray while people go out to the streets.
“We know these issues of sexual exploitation are bigger than any of us, and we need God to direct our work and cover it.” says Raison. “We can’t and don’t want to do this apart from Him.”
Each outreach begins with a time of fellowship, training for newcomers, worship and prayer where participants ask God for discernment around where they should serve that night. No matter what your exposure, or comfort level, is to the issue of sexual exploitation, The Walk team meets volunteers wherever they are at.
“I believe that anyone and everyone should come out and experience The Walk at least once,” says Raison. “There really is something for everyone. It’s a unique ministry where you can be totally new to the issue and have a real hands-on-the-ground experience.”
For more information about The Walk, visit www.thewalkyyc.com