After I learned about the New Apostolic Reformation I thought I’d look into the movement a bit more. While I was very disturbed by what I found I discovered they use a technique called “spiritual mapping”. From what I understand spiritual mapping is a type of prayer technique that allows an individual to “search out” areas that need evangelizing. It appears from what I can gather the system works as follows, according to this site:
The gatekeepers commission the watchmen to spiritually map their community. They act as spiritual covering.
The watchmen [sic] working in teams intercede, investigate [sic] and collate the relevant data.
The information is summarized in a series of reports released to the gatekeepers.
The gatekeepers decide on the appropriate action deemed necessary i.e. identification, repentance, spiritual warfare, reconciliation.
They lead and mobilize the watchmen into appropriate action- prayer walking, worship meetings, strategic level spiritual warfare [sic] and so forth.
The gatekeepers participate with the watchmen rather than just allocating them to the task.
If this is truly the method of spiritual mapping it comes off as something the Catholic Church does when evaluating someone for an exorcism. Even if it isn’t it comes off as overly complicated for what they’re trying to do. I don’t understand why one would need approval to evangelize a place if a person feels it’s needed, let alone approval to make a town a “better place” (I only put it in quotations because that is a very subjective term). Moreover I have a hard time finding what qualifies someone as a “gatekeeper” or a “watchman”. The best I can find is an article that discusses what it means to be a gatekeeper. It gives me the impression that a gatekeeper can go around and do the same things as watchmen (e.g. actively make a place spiritually welcome) but seem to have a stronger connection to God- possibly something akin to an oracle. It doesn’t seem to say how long one has to be a watchman before they can go to their place at gatekeeper, if they have to go through some sort of test, or if they are just handed the title. I probably won’t find out anytime soon.
What is probably as interesting is what I found on another website. John Dawson, the person who seems to be credited with coining the concept, came up with a list of questions to focus on when mapping:
from “Taking Our Cities for God” by John Dawson (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 1989)
1.What place does your city have in your nation’s history?
2. Was there ever the imposition of a new culture or language through conquest?
3. What were the religious practices of ancient peoples on the site?
4. Was there a time when a new religion emerged?
5. Under what circumstances did the gospel first enter the city?
6. Has the national or city government ever disintegrated?
7. What has been the leadership style of past governments?
8. Have there ever been wars that affected this city?
9. Was the city itself the site of a battle?
10. What names have been used to label the city and what are their meanings?
11. Why was the city originally settled?
12. Did the city have a founder? What was his dream?
13. As political, military and religious leaders emerged, what did they dream for themselves and for the city?
14. What political, economic and religious institutions have dominated the life of the city?
15. What has been the experience of immigrants to the city?
16. Have there been any traumatic experiences such as economic collapse, race riots, or an earthquake?
17. Did the city ever experience the birth of a socially transforming technology?
18. Has there ever been a sudden opportunity to create wealth such as the discovery of oil or a new irrigation technology?
19. Has there ever been religious conflict among competing religions or among Christians?
20. What is the history of relationships among the races?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I feel this list is so broad and vague that it could easily apply to anywhere in a negative way. It seems that since a google search on prayer maps turns up many results (including this one I found) my opinion isn’t so hard to support.
The way I see it, this is a conglomeration of concepts and implementations that have existed since the Second Great Awakening, only with more of a paranormal investigator and New Age twist. I do have my concerns about it. The sheer amount of information available on prayer mapping, maps included, gives me the impression this is a concept gaining momentum. However that doesn’t mean this is a technique to fear; knowledge is the enemy of fear and knowing more allows people to act accordingly.