‘The Way…’

written by Charlie Arbuthnot // Feb 2020

I remember one particular day, a few years ago, Jenny and I each felt separately that God was speaking to us about the need to “Prepare for Revival”.  Over the next few months, that word came at us from many different angles and it led to us praying for people, for the church and for the land whenever we walked – usually daily.  We had begun to prayer walk when we lived in London, having heard of many issues that our neighbours were going through (sickness, marital breakdown etc) and having realised that we needed to ‘own’ our patch – in the sense of taking pastoral responsibility for praying around the local streets and praying for our neighbours.  

So we continued this approach in Sussex. We are frequently up on the South Downs and are constantly inspired to pray “Your Kingdom Come” as we look out over the land. The fact that we can see our entire Church of England deanery (Storrington) from several places means that we are often declaring life and breakthrough over this area.  Over the years, we have seen God do some wonderful things and have walked most of the Way from Midhurst to Beachy Head, much of it many times – but we have yet to do Winchester to Midhurst.

At the same time, a growing sense grew in us that the South Downs Way should become “The Way” – a way of pilgrimage rather like the Camino de Santiago in Spain – with walkers either starting at Beachy Head, sadly known for its high suicide rate, and walking towards life at Winchester Cathedral – or perhaps envisioning themselves taking life from Winchester Cathedral and releasing it over Beachy Head – so that it becomes known, not as a place of death, but as a place of life.

When we heard of the plans for the South Downs Awakening, we were hugely excited as SDA brings these two ideas together – praying over the land and making a pilgrimage along the South Downs.  We will be there every day and at the “Gathering as One” on the final day.

Our prayer is, and will be, that churches all along the South Downs encounter the Father and that those we meet along the Way will encounter Him too.  What if the prayer we all pray “Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” was answered?  What if our churches were filled to overflowing as the presence of God rested on our land? What if we each individually encountered God in such a deep way that our lives were forever changed?  What if, in years to come, the South Downs Way was known as a place where God could be found, where sicknesses disappeared, where mental health issues gave way to God’s peace and where heaven was truly restored on earth?  What if…?