Weymouth– Lulworth Cove (10.9 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 602.2 miles / Distance to Poole– 28.3 miles
Part of the reason for all this epic walking is to boost the public perception of leprosy and to promote the work of The Leprosy Mission. Strangely it is not a topic on the lips of most people across the western world, and so apart from the walking and the raising money, it is my job to also raise the Mission’s profile. One of the ways I have achieved this has been through radio interviews – some before I started, some after a day’s walking and some as I actually walked (yes that breathlessness is not an act I am actually out of puff trying to trek and chat at the same time!). Today’s stage included one such interview as I walked along the seafront along Weymouth Bay, my conversation was being transmitted live by Hope FM (Christian community radio in the Bournemouth area).
The presenter asked about all sorts of aspects of the walk and the work of TLM and then as a final comment asked about the weather. The sun was shining and the temperature was rising, which was fine for the flat bit along to Bowleaze, but the later section was a lot of up and down, where high temperatures make life considerably harder. Being a walker herself she recognised the importance of fair but cool walking weather and so asked everyone to pray for a change from the heat to something more manageable. I thought nothing of it, finished the conversation and continued walking with my companions for the day.
By the time we reached the end of Weymouth Bay it was raining!
It seemed they had prayed a little too hard!
There are many books about the power of prayer, many personal testimonies of the effectiveness of prayer, many instances when instinct draws someone into prayer. As we sat having a coffee at Bowleaze remarking on the immediate answer to the Hope FM prayer I decided to make the most of the time when God seemed particularly partial to answering prayer for me and my walk. So I said a silent prayer asking for a tall stranger to come and sweep me off my feet – a knight on a bright white charger if you will! Imagine my surprise when a little while later, back on the path, I noticed this on the hillside….
Yes prayer works. God listens and God answers. But not always in the ways that we would like, or the ways we could imagine. Prayer is not a shopping list where we can approach God with desires and wants, just for him to tick them off the list one by one – if it worked like that I would have had a puppy as a child and then gone on to marry Indiana Jones! Equally it is not an ineffectual sounding board, there just to make the pray-er feel better about a situation by talking it through. I have walked over 600 miles and apart from a minor blister (caused by my inability to properly put on a sock) I have been blister free. Apart from minor aches and extreme tiredness, I have been fit and healthy throughout. This is not as a result of my great athletic body – curves are not generally a normal body shape for athletes and pasties and cream teas not their usual diet! This is not due to my boots and socks, although I am sure they play a part. I believe whole heartedly that I have not only survived but have got to this point feeling in the best physical form of my life, as a result of the epic amount of prayer that has gone every step with me. People I have never
even met are praying for me, it seems the whole SW is praying for me. The walk hasn’t become easy but I have been able to cope. Not everything has gone quite to plan, but I have managed to work things out for the better. And I am still here, still walking, still enjoying the walk, still appreciating the wondrous beauty of the coast path and still praising God – that has got to prove that prayer works.
It is probably worth pointing out that on the last day of the walk Hope FM did another walking interview with me. They asked me how much I was hoping to raise and I duly replied £10,000. “That is not enough” replied the presenter, “let’s all pray that this target gets doubled!”
The total currently stands at over £22,000! Prayer not only works, but seems to be most successful when prayed through Hope FM…. I wonder if they will pray for that tall stranger for me??