Prayer Walk Guide
Welcome to the Second Presbyterian Church Prayer Walk! This one-mile walk takes you around the circumference of our 196,000-square-foot building and explores some of the lesser-known features on our 26 acres. Walking at a leisurely pace, without stopping for prayer, takes about 45 minutes. You might want to bring a pair of binoculars to view some of the architectural details of the building. The Walk is completely outside, so dress appropriately. If two or more people are walking together, please wear a mask and practice appropriate social distancing. You should also be aware that the Walk includes going down/up a significantly steep grade.
We encourage visitors to register to walk during these hours:
- Monday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m and from 3 to 6 p.m.
- Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m and from 3 to 6 p.m.
- Saturday, from 1 to 6 p.m.
This Prayer Walk guide begins at the front entrance to the Sanctuary, so you should park in the south parking lot.
At each stop on the Walk, pay attention to your surroundings. What do you see, hear, smell, and feel? What thoughts, memories, and experiences are evoked? The Scripture readings and questions for each stop are merely illustrative and are not meant to constrain the leading of the Spirit or of your heart.
This is the fourth home for Second Presbyterian Church. Constructed of Indiana limestone in 1959, its French Gothic style is reflected in the stone carvings, the pointed arches, the shape/style of the windows and doors, and especially the spire. The sculpture of a stern-looking Renaissance figure is symbolic of all the early reformers and not a representation of any one in particular. Hence the name: “The Door of the Reformers.”
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord!" (Psalm 122:1)
- What do you remember the first time you entered a church sanctuary?
- The Presbyterian Church is part of the Reformed branch of the Christian church family. What churches/faith communities have been part of your spiritual journey and how have they influenced you?
Directions to next stop: Follow the sidewalk to your right and walk down the hill to the Memorial Garden, which will be on your left.
The Memorial Garden, dedicated in 1995, allows parishioners to rest next to the spiritual home they loved in life, or to honor loved ones with a bronze plaque. The Celtic cross (just outside the Garden) is from the Vermont Street church, where it was at the peak of the gable over the Ascension Window. Nestled in the shadow of the Spire, next to the Sanctuary, this beautiful and consecrated place provides a lovely retreat for all generations.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3)
- Are you grieving for a loved one who has died? What still hurts about their passing? How are you grateful for their life? Can you ask God to open your heart to the promise of resurrection?
- Scan the names on the plaques. How did you experience God’s love and grace through their lives?
Directions to next stop: Leave the Garden and continue on the sidewalk, down the stairs, and across the parking lot toward the Labyrinth, a large circular open space along the eastern edge of our property.
A labyrinth is a pathway for personal, psychological, and spiritual transformation. This particular design is based on the famous labyrinth at the Chartres Cathedral, southwest of Paris. The practice of labyrinth walking integrates the body with the mind, and the mind with the spirit. You might think of it as a pilgrimage to Jerusalem or a walk with Jesus. You can reflect upon a particular Bible verse, spiritual issue, or important personal decision. On an intercessory walk, you can offer a prayer for a different person at each turn. Your walk can examine the twists and turns of your life’s journey.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
- What have been major turning points in your life?
- What lies ahead in your journey with God?
Directions to next stop: Exit the Labyrinth and turn right (north), following along the edge of the parking lot toward the wooden steps and ramp that lead down to the Hilgenberg Shelter House and Williams Creek.
PICNIC SHELTER AND WILLIAMS CREEK
The area around the shelter house, with its canopy of trees and William’s Creek, provides a natural retreat in the midst of a busy city. The changing seasons dramatically transform the mood and atmosphere of this place.
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)
- Where and when have you experienced God’s presence in nature?
- What is the Spirit whispering to you in the rustling of the leaves or the babbling of Williams Creek?
Directions to next stop: Exit the park and walk toward the steps on the grassy median the separates the two north parking lots. Stop at the top of the stairs.
NORTH FACE OF THE CHURCH – THE ATRIUM AND FOOD PANTRY ENTRANCES
A church is more than a place of worship. It is a place where mission, spiritual development, pastoral care, theological education, and fellowship take place. From here, you can see the Food Pantry, McFarland Hall, Children’s Circle Preschool and Christian Education classrooms, the multi-purpose room, Music and Fine Arts suite, CenterPoint Counseling, and Administrative Offices. The benches on either side of the Atrium doors reveal what you may find as you enter, as well as what you may take with you as you exit: pax vobiscum (peace be with you); pax et amor (peace and love)
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you." Matthew 28:18-20
- What ministries of the church have been most meaningful to you as a participant?
- As a leader?
Directions to next stop: Follow the sidewalk up toward the Atrium doors and turn right to go up the hill and around the West side of the building, past the playground to the Chapel Entrance.
The “Door of the Angels” entrance to Milner Chapel takes its name from the two angelic sculptures representing the Bible and the Light of Christian Teaching. Note the inspiring view of spire from here.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
- What is the most meaningful Scripture passage to you? Why?
- Who have been the most influential teachers in your life? Why?
Directions to next stop: Follow the sidewalk along the West side of the sanctuary to the South parking lot. Cross the parking lot toward the Garden sign and enter through the opening in tree line.
This three-quarter acre plot provides fresh vegetables to the Northside Food Pantry. Last year, it provided over one ton of fresh vegetables. Tended by volunteers, it is not only productive, but also beautiful, featuring flower beds, a seating area, and a prayer garden.
When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 23:22
- Who is responsible for the food you eat? Consider prayers of gratitude for farmers, pickers, shippers, scientists, cooks, waiters…
- Who takes care of the poor in your community? Consider prayers for social workers, community organizations, volunteers…
This is the last stop of our Prayer Walk. Upon exiting, note beautiful view of our Sanctuary and ask yourself what words or phrases best describe your Walk today?