|On Monday 24 May, possibly the first prayer-circumnavigation by air of the M25 took place.
Piloted by Phil Anderson, his light aircraft took off at about 10.20am from Southend Airport. On board were Linda Holt and Tim Harrold. The whole flight took about 2 hours and the entire distance was about 180 miles. The weather was superb and mostly clear but for some haze on the horizon.
Linda (right) was especially excited by our outing. She explained why: “When we first arrived in Hornchurch and learnt of the heritage of that place in protecting the city through the airfield in World War 2, the Lord gave me a picture of flying over the city dropping ‘love bombs’, which were targeted prayer on the city”. So as we flew around the M25, we dropped a few of those love bombs!
The initial stretch of the flight was along the Thames going towards London. Tim prayed blessings for salvation and the healing of the land over the coastline of Essex and Kent, remembering the various words concerning waves of revival sweeping up the banks of the river. Linda prayed for blessings to fall on Canvey, and Tim prayed protection for the petrochemical industries there.
Phil prayed about the new container port at Coryton and its potential economic impact on the east end of Thurrock. The port of Tilbury was also prayed for, and we could see from the air just how significant these ‘gateways’ are for London.
At the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, we prayed over it as the obvious symbolic Thames Gateway that it is in and out of Greater London. We declared those words from Psalm 24, “Lift up you gates and let the King of glory come in”. We shut the door to bad stuff – drugs, people trafficking etc., and asked for blessing in the gates.
We then turned south and began to follow the M25, beginning at Junction 1 at Dartmouth. As we went round, we prayed for things we could see below us. There was a weird hexagonal garden place in Kent that Linda felt looked like a Labyrinth. We also prayed for what looked like a public school with a big chapel.
We followed the motorway, passing over the M23 to Brighton. At this point we could also see another gateway, Gatwick, and so prayed for that.
Swinging over southwest London we could make out the new Wembley Stadium to the north, the arch a distinctive feature. We remembered the vision of Jonathan Oloyede of Global Day of Prayer London and prayed that we will see Wembley filled with 80,000 worshipping and praying believers in 2011.
All the way round, we prayed at various stages for the release of the ‘redemptive gifts’ of the nation once again and for the breaking the chains: of addiction, materialism, debt, fear, consumerism, etc. As we flew over Epsom racecourse, Tim prayed about the growing prominence of gambling as a lifestyle as promoted on TV through betting and poker and so on.
Because of the restricted flying around Heathrow’s airspace, we were obliged to continue west almost to Reading before we could turn north and then east to follow the M25 again. We could see the M4 below us.
All the way around, we were aware of all the radial motorways and railways running in and out from the M25 like arteries of a body, showing how London is so connected and at the ‘heart’ of the UK. Phil prayed out of a sense that what happens here spiritually is always massively influential in the nation.
We could see Canary Wharf and the City in the hazy distance, and Phil prayed for the key institutions of government, business and finance that they will rediscover their God-given calling to be a source of blessing, righteousness, integrity and justice. We also prayed for the new government.
We prayed about those caught up in materialism and hedonism, for God to show his power in healing in the city.
Coming round the top of London, the hot sun now on our right, we flew over the Lea Valley and north of the London 2012 Olympic site in Stratford, which we prayed for. We also remembered how the Lea was a source of fresh water for London, and the symbolism of that as being like the streams of living water that Jesus spoke of.
The Lea also represents the division in the land between the Vikings’ Danelaw (to the east) and the Kingdom of Wessex, ruled by King Alfred (to the west). This division has never been formerly repealed, having receded into the mists of time. But the Olympic site straddles the Lea and now numerous bridges have been built across it, like stitches mending a wound – “…I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal the land”.
Linda prayed regarding the preparations for the Olympics – refusing the entrance to Zeus and any other idol worship of Greek gods brought in by Olympic flame.
Phil pointed out the O2 (Millennium Dome) at this point as well and so we prayed about its transformation from being a bit of a joke to being an internationally recognised entertainment arena – he likened this to our nation, but also to the church. With this in mind, Linda prayed Psalm 133 – for those working for unity between believers in the city.
Linda noted there was a thick dirty haze over the city in a cloudless sky – this reminded her of Jonathan Oloyede’s vision of a darkness over the land broken through by shafts of light. Linda also blessed by the fact that there was a lot of beautiful countryside around the city.
We then flew over Havering – speaking out God’s love and blessing – and back down to the QE2 Bridge. We circled over the bridge, getting some marvellous views, declaring again that the gates be lifted up for the King of glory – Jesus – to come in to the City and the nation (right).
Then we headed back over Thurrock towards Southend. Phil engaged in a bit of fancy manoeuvring over Corringham so his daughter Holly could see the plane from her school playground!
We touched down back at the airport at about 12.15pm, put the plane to bed, and went for a sarnie in the cafe.
Linda summed up the experience of our exploits in the air like this: “How amazing everything looked from up there – so small and insignificant and yet also the vastness of the city itself and the thought that God knows everything about it and everyone that lives there. I had a real sense of His love for the place. Over and over we were thinking about the fact this city has international significance and influence down through history.”
Big thanks to Phil for taking time out to do this.
Phil Anderson (left) attends Thurrock Christian Fellowship and is part of the Stanford Boiler Room Community. He is a Conservative Councillor at Thurrock Council. In November 2001 he undertook the Round-England Prayer Flight (Tim Harrold managed the Flight Control Centre on the ground!). In October 2005, with Ruth Verrinder of the Love Southend Prayer Wall and Tim, he flew the entire length of the Thames and back as part of The Turn Of The Tide prayer initiative. Phil has also done numerous other shorter prayer flights over the Thurrock area.
Linda Holt is married to the minister at Hornchurch Methodist Church, Nick Holt. She has travelled extensively as an international intercessor as well as prayer walking the Essex and Havering boundaries.
Tim Harrold is the facilitator of the M25 Nutcracker, which is linked in with Global Day of Prayer London.