Spring is here, and with it comes warm weather and an excuse to get outdoors. I was recently reminded of an anecdote from my high school days. At the time, I lived 1.4 miles away from my school. Not too far, but far enough that a car was needed during Minnesota winters (which, let’s face it, consists of most of the school year). Well, one spring, the inevitable happened: car trouble. The weather was surprisingly nice, so I was relegated to walking to school.

As I walked… well frankly, I was bored. There’s not much that’s notable in suburbia unless you pass by a yard with a dog or something. Feeling a nudge in my heart though, I was reminded that I wasn’t walking alone. I decided to spend the time I had while I walked in prayer.

Prayer is something I’ve always struggled with. My family is full of prayer warriors, but I’ve always struggled to keep a conversation going, much less when at times it feels like a one-sided conversation. In his divine sovereignty, God saw to it that my experience that day was different. I had a pleasant, fulfilling conversation. By the time I got to school, I was glowing. I almost couldn’t wait to walk back home so I could repeat the experience.

The final school bell rang, and before I even got out the door I was engaged in another conversation with God. The whole way home, the air seemed fresher, the sky was bluer, and when I got home I kept walking! I walked several more blocks past my home to a park where my family regularly biked when I was younger. I walked through the park, amidst the trees and the grass, listening to the critters in the nearby marsh as I prayed, and it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.

I continued to go back to that park to pray whenever I needed to clear my head. Sometimes, when I was sick of the sound of my own voice, I would bring a pocket Bible with me and plop down on a bench or a log and read chapter after chapter (sometimes getting through entire smaller books) during my time there.

Since then, things have changed. Big life events have happened. I live in a new town now. I have had family members depart, and I’ve started my own family. But one thing I’m most excited for this spring is going for walks to a (different) park with my son, and hopefully, God willing, teaching him about prayer along the way.

This spring, why don’t we all try to get outside, enjoy the marvelous creation all around us, and spend some time in prayer – genuinely connecting with God.

Marc Hanson, Living Wellness Facilitator