Thursday, 3 April 2014

Cheshire March 2014

 Stella and Caroline
Arise Ministries had been invited to share in the prayer drive organised by Arise Cheshire East (interesting we both share the same name). The plan was to drive round the boundary of East Cheshire, one group doing the west side and the other the east, stopping to pray at certain places, and then meet up at Peckforton Castle. Sharran, (one of our prayer partners from Belgium) went with the East group, which covered quite a few places where revival has taken place in the past, as well as a church badly damaged during the Civil War. Vanessa and I went with the West group. It rained all day but it was such a blessing to meet church leaders from many denominations. We were particularly touched by a pastor and his wife from Northern Ireland who have served the Middlewich community for over 16 years, and have a real heart for those outside the church. Later we met a Church of England vicar who had the same heart. He was amazed when we told him where we were from as he had just done his curacy in Buckden, a few miles away from our town of Huntingdon. Small world!  Another Church of England Minister we met told us that she prays for the healing of the land and has done this for many years. I think we will be meeting her again. An additional blessing for us was to be joined by Stella who we met at Northwich and her friend Caroline.


The following day Vanessa, Sharran and I headed off to Winwick, just a few miles north of Warrington.
Winwick Parish Church
During the Civil War, Cromwell had pursued Scottish soldiers from the north and some took shelter here in the church, where they were captured or killed. As once this had been a place of death, we prayed and declared God’s resurrection life.  Jesus said "I have come that they might have life and have it to the full". It was a privilege for us to be able to bless the church and community with the fullness of life in Jesus before sharing Communion and leaving for Chester.


Rowton plaque
Battle of Rowton Moor
In the early years of the Civil War, Chester was a Royalist stronghold which enabled the King safe passage to travel to Wales and Scotland to gather more troops. The battle for the city took place over many months. During this time Chester was besieged by Parliamentary Soldiers and as a result many citizens died of starvation. The final battle that led to their surrender took place at Rowton, so we thought this would be the ideal place to start. We had no idea where we were going but trusted the Holy Spirit to guide us. We entered the village and thought we could just stop anywhere to pray. Our faithful “sat-nav” then took us down a dead-end country lane, stopping outside the Rowton Hall Hotel and Vanessa thought we could stop for coffee here. I suggested that afterwards we could pray on the bit of green opposite. Sharran blew us away when she pointed out that she could see a plaque commemorating the battle on the green.  We were right on the spot where the last stand took place! God knew where He needed us to be and I felt His presence as we shared this very special time of prayer together.
Shirley studying the plaque 
Shirley pouring oil 

Shirley and Sharran


Men repairing the wall
We entered Chester by the North Gate as did the soldiers centuries before. The Parliamentarians  surrounded the city until they surrendered.  We too wanted to circle the city, this time  walking the walls in prayer and blessing.
Vanessa walking the city wall
The first tower we came to was King Charles Tower. It was here that the King had watched his troops as they lost the battle. Vanessa felt the spirit’s anointing as we prayed. The people of the city were starved until they surrendered, so it was important for us to be able to bless this city with life in all its fullness just as Jesus had said. We prayed too that prosperity and abundance would extend beyond the city. As we walked we saw men repairing the walls and we believe that this was a sign that God was restoring the broken walls in peoples lives as well as releasing the land from the blood that had been shed centuries before.
Chester Cathedral

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