As I drove into my favorite nature trail parking lot, I felt my tension begin to ease before I exited the car. I changed shoes, grabbed my hat, and set off briskly down the trail, savoring the fresh fall air as I lifted my face toward the afternoon sun.
A gentle breeze rustled leaves of towering trees, and a squirrel raced across my path to scurry up a majestic poplar tree shading the trail. He scolded me for daring to trespass on his domain before he raced up the trunk and lost himself in brilliant fall foliage.
Spotted patches of sunshine shifted back and forth on the graveled path as the canopy of trees allowed the western sun to sneak into the gaps of golden, wind-touched leaves.
Rounding the first bend in the trail, I encountered a walker I hadn’t met before. She carried two sturdy walking sticks as she took slow and deliberate steps, using the sticks to maintain balance.
I’m accustomed to meeting lots of people on the trail and usually greet each one verbally and share a smile. Concentrating on her steps, this woman didn’t make eye contact with me, but kept her gaze on her path, as she painstakingly took each new step.
I murmured a greeting as we passed, followed by a silent prayer that God would bless her. I admired her efforts to walk, even though the exercise appeared to be challenging for her.Walking into a closer relationship with God is good for our minds, bodies, and souls.
The Amazing Power of Walking with God
“For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well.” – Psalm 139:13-14 HCSB
The human body is a marvelous creation of our Father. We can honor our bodies and draw closer to God through the exercise of walking.
Walking is a good activity for us at any stage of life. A regular walking program can provide many long-lasting benefits for our bodies by:
- Strengthening our heart muscle and cardiorespiratory system.
- Building our other muscles.
- Helping us maintain a healthy weight.
- Assisting us in maintaining healthier blood pressure.
- Keeping our cholesterol in a healthier range.
- Preventing osteoporosis.
- Managing or preventing diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Walking doesn’t require much equipment other than a good pair of shoes (which is essential) and a safe place to walk.
While a nature trail is my favorite spot to walk, there are other options—an outdoor track, on residential sidewalks or streets with low traffic, a YMCA or fitness club, or a large store that doesn’t object to walkers.
But how does walking, especially on a nature trail, strengthen our relationship with God?Walking is good for us at any stage of life, and it can strengthen our relationship with God.
Walking As Time With God
“Happy are the people who know the joyful shout; Yahweh, they walk in the light of Your presence.” – Psalm 89:15 HCSB
Time is a gift from God. Although humans established how we designate time (seconds, minutes, hours, etc.), God separated day and night (Genesis 1), established the seasons, and the passing of the days (365 days in a year).
God’s grace grants our every moment on earth. When we take specific time to give back to God in communion with Him, we let Him know He is important to us.
We are acknowledging our love for Him by giving Him back time He blessed for us—time to spend just with Him.Walking allows us to spend one-on-one time with God.
Five Ways Walking Strengthens Our Relationship with God
Here are five ways that walking strengthens our relationship with God. Use them to draw into a closer relationship with your Lord.
Walking gives us time to be alone with God.
“Jesus was walking in the temple complex in Solomon’s Colonnade.” – John 10:23 HCSB
Walking in nature (or anywhere) can be your time alone with God. Scripture reminds us that Jesus spent a great deal of quiet time with God (Jesus also walked a lot). During our special quiet time with God, we can:
- Talk to God
- Share with Him our joys or heartaches
- Pray and meditate on God’s Word
- Listen to scripture or praise music with a headset or phone
- Work on memorizing scripture
Walking provides time to be thankful.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9 HCSB
During walks, we can praise God for His infinite blessings, including:
- The ability to walk
- His amazing creation
- The gifts of sunshine, rain, trees, and flowers (I admit this is a challenge for me during allergy season)
- The gift of love
- The blessing of His love for us
- Individual blessings in our own lives
Walking gives us time to let go of stress.
“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 HCSB
Anxiety, depression, fear of the future, worry about finances, family problems, and more create stress in our lives. All these fears work to separate us from our loving Father. As a physical activity, walking does the following:
- Works to reduce stress.
- Helps us relax and let go of our stress.
- Moves our focus away from anxiety and back to God.
Walking honors God by doing something wonderful for our bodies.
“Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 HCSB
Physical exercise is healthy and beneficial for our bodies in the following ways:
- Participating in regular physical activity increases longevity.
- Regular physical activity improves our quality of life.
- By caring for our bodies, we honor our Creator.
Walking opens up pathways for us to serve.
“So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.” – Galatians 6:9 HCSB
As we honor God by caring for our physical bodies, we feel better in several ways:
- We can focus more on our relationship with our Father and less on our troubles.
- We have more energy and more motivation.
- As we feel better emotionally and physically, we can better serve our Father.
If you’re like me, you may struggle to find uninterrupted quiet time with God. A walking program can provide time with God in the beautiful setting of His creation. However, any safe location can be a good place to walk with God. The benefits to our spiritual, emotional, and physical health are immense.
Katherine Pasour is an author, teacher, speaker, farm girl, and advocate for wellness. Through her writing and weekly blog, she strives to share her love for Jesus and her passion to help others achieve a healthier and happier lifestyle. Katherine’s book, Honoring God with My Body: Journey to Wellness and a Healthy Lifestyle releases in October 2022. Read more of Katherine’s writing on her blog or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.