Last year at this time I, along with a few other hardy souls, embarked on a walk around our Methodist circuit, primarily as a fund-raiser for one of my congregations. It went very well and raised about £1,000 towards a £20k total, but it also gave us a wonderful opportunity to pray around the churches too.
So, this year I decided to repeat the exercise, but solely as a prayer exercise. I was joined by 6 others as we set off, one of whom left after 5 miles to attend his grandson's first birthday party. The rest of us made it through many heavy showers to the lunchtime stop, about 10 miles into the walk, when a family of 4 had to leave us too (including two children, who'd done really well to keep up with us). The remaining two of us completed the walk in rain and wind.
It was a great encouragement to me, and I think to the others, to find people waiting for us at the churches, to offer us refreshment and to pray with us as we travelled round. There is a lot of good work going on across the churches, and it was wonderful to hear about it and bring it to God in prayer, as well as to share prayer concerns for those in need.
As I've already hinted, the weather was not particularly kind to us, but we didn't get discouraged. In fact I found myself going back to those words of John Bunyan as we walked: "There's no discouragement will make him once relent his first avowed intent to be a pilgrim. I got home tired but enlivened by the experience again. Will we do it again next year? We'll see.