THE TURN OF THE TIDE
Thames Prayer Wave and Thames Gateway Prayernet
‘We want to turn the tide back to Jesus in this generation.’ 24-7 Prayer
‘The fate of the world will soon be decided. The dominion of evil grows stronger… I come back to you now at the turn of the tide.’ Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings
‘The Tide is Running Out: What The English Church Attendance Survey Reveals.’ Title of book by Peter Brierley, 2000
In November 2004, during a week of 24-7 prayer, Tim Harrold was praying over Thurrock at the top of the tower of St Margaret’s Parish Church in Stanford-le-Hope. He raised his prayer stick over the land, and to the south, over the Thames. As he did, God brought these three thoughts into his mind, and then the vision of a Thames Prayer Wave – a tsunami of intercession along the river, from the Estuary to the Source via the Capital and the Valley.
Quite simply, The Turn Of The Tide – turning the tide along the Thames in this generation. Turning the tide in the face of growing spiritual conflict, as an act of warfare and declaration. Turning the tide against the notion that less people are coming to faith. Turning the tide back to Jesus.
God confirmed the idea over the next few months, and in the spring the planning commenced.
The Turn Of The Tide took place in October 2005. Some 25 prayer groups from all kinds of denominational backgrounds took it upon themselves to do a “24-1” over the course of the month – it was (nearly) a “24-28”! Despite a couple of missed days, there was almost continuous prayer through the heart of the nation during that October.
The first 24 hours took place at St Peter’s Chapel in Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex. Technically not on the Thames Estuary, St Peter’s has huge historical, spiritual and symbolic significance for the region. It was the place where Christianity came to the East Saxons, when Northumbrian Celtic missionary St Cedd landed in 653AD after travelling by boat from the Lindisfarne monastic community. The chapel was built the following year using the remains of the Othona Roman fort, and still stands today. Tim and Rev Rick Williams, vicar of St Saviours in Southend, saw through the vigil overnight while others occasionally came and went. The local Rector, Rev Lawrence Whitford, and his wife Rev Margaret, held a Celtic communion the next morning.
From then on, The Turn Of The Tide wended its way along the north shore of the Thames, through Southend, Castle Point, Thurrock and Havering, then hopping over to Erith in Kent briefly, before reaching the City of London Boiler Room. Then The Turn Of The Tide’s wave of prayer rolled like a bore out to West London, then on through the English countryside to the Source of one of the world’s most famous and influential rivers in an ordinary corner of an ordinary field near Kemble in Gloucestershire.
In 2006, The Turn Of The Tide returned with 6 days of prayer walks along the boroughs of the north bank of the Thames, from Shoeburyness to the City. The week concluded at the church of All Hallows-by-the-Tower in central London.
The Turn Of The Tide vision then seemed to go ‘underground’ until September 2007 when Tim attended a day conference in Liverpool called Coastlands and Gateways. He went with Gary Seithel of Watchman Prayer and Across Havering, and met up with Ruth Verrinder of the Southend Prayer Wall. All were inspired by God the Holy Spirit to hold an event for intercessors across the Thames Gateway and Essex and Kent coasts.
This became a reality in January 2008 when some 80 people from many differing church backgrounds met together at St George’s New Thundersley in Benfleet for a day of The Turn Of The Tide prayer. The morning sessions were led by Jonathan Oloyede of Global Day of Prayer and Rev Steve Williams, the Diocesan Officer for the Essex Thames Gateway Region. In the afternoon intercessors from each of the boroughs represented led prayers for their areas. It was a significant day.
The Turn Of The Tide has developed from the original Thames Prayer Wave into the Thames Gateway Prayernet. It’s future lies in the immediate with continued networking and looking to strengthen what links there are with the intercessors of Kent.
The Turn Of The Tide links in with the World Prayer centre in Birmingham as well as Coastlands & Gateways, whose vision is to see a network of intercessors and gatekeepers around Britain’s coast and in the cities.
For more information about some of the places and organisations mentioned in this article, please follow these links:
St Peter’s Chapel, Bradwell: www.bradwellchapel.org
The Othona Community, Bradwell: www.othona.org
St Cedd: www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/adversaries/bios/cedd.html
St Cedd in Thurrock: www.thurrock-community.org.uk/historysoc/cedd.html
World Prayer Centre: www.worldprayer.org.uk
Global Day Of Prayer: www.globaldayofprayer.co.uk
London Global Day Of Prayer: www.gdoplondon.com
Chelmsford Diocese Thames Gateway: www.chelmsford.anglican.org/regeneration.html
Rev Steve Williams: www.thamesgatewaychurchofengland.com