Our boat trip was a gift of prayer

It took us four hours to get her ready. Finally, with sails up, and stores stashed, we set off from Geldeston towards Yarmouth. On our maiden voyage, we took on board two novice sailors, who provided much needed ballast in the strong, warm westerly.

It took us four hours to get her ready. Finally, with sails up, and stores stashed, we set off from Geldeston towards Yarmouth. On our maiden voyage, we took on board two novice sailors, who provided much needed ballast in the strong, warm westerly.

Our boat, newly named Wild Goose, performed brilliantly, even with our rather tentative helming at times. We had walked from the source of the Waveney at South Lopham on Saturday, through Diss and Bungay. Camping at night on the banks of the Waveney was a magical experience. We saw a kingfisher, barn owl and heard a Cetty's warbler. But this was a trip with a purpose, because we were part of a Prayer Walk/Sail with many others.

I have started with the story of the boat because she is the answer to prayer.

My friend and I both love sailing, but didn't think we could ever afford a decent boat.

God had different ideas. We had prayed that we would find one to suit us and our purses, but never imagined that God would answer with the gift of a Wayfarer; a bit broken and bruised, having been out of the water for 18 years, but a boat for all that.

My co-sailor had started her working life with wooden boats, and she swiftly turned her hand to working with fibreglass. The gaping "wound" in the prow was patched, and sanded, as were her centreboard, and bottom. All the wood was rubbed down and varnished.

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A final coat of paint and she looked wonderful. Fully restored and ready to go.

It may sound like a trivial thing for God to answer two women's prayer for a boat. Surely there are more important things to pray for.

I could not disagree with that but to me it is a sign of God's goodness and care.

Nobody else wanted that boat. It had been left in a back garden for years, slowly disintegrating, and when we first saw her, she looked a sad sight. But God is into restoration and we learnt many lessons on the way. Step by step he led us, proving his faithfulness.

When the prayer walk along the Waveney Valley was first proposed, I knew that I wanted to sail it where possible.

What I did not know was that my friend's career had started at Geldeston from where we would launch it. I also did not know that she had always wanted a Wayfarer since she was a teenager. It was so fitting then that the first night before our maiden voyage was spent camping out at Geldeston Lock.

We sailed and camped for two days up to Burgh Castle, then joining the rest of the party to walk into Yarmouth.

Finally, last Sunday, we took the boat on to the Yare and sailed towards Norwich.

As we left her on her mooring, a flock of wild geese flew overhead. A fitting end to her first trip. Many people find prayer difficult and some find it a puzzle.

Why does God answer some prayers and not others? What I find amazing is that he answers at all. After all, seeing that he is God, he does not need us to pray. He could perfectly well manage without us.

Some say that you will only get answers if you are full of faith: that it won't work if you are not living a "good life" but I am not so sure.

If that were so, why does he always seem to answer the prayers of those who are seeking him for the first time; who cry out to him to show that he is there? Those cries from a desperate heart always seem to touch his.

I think that the answer lies here: those prayers are real,

not religious. They are full of passion and echo the cry of his own heart.

They are in accordance with his will that no one should be left out of his kingdom who wants to come in.

A wise woman said recently that before we pray into any situation, we should first find God's perspective on it. To ask, in line with the Lord's Prayer, that his will be done. His will is always backed up in the Bible and it is for wholeness, unity, and justice.

Too many of my prayers have been tagged with a get-out clause, such as . . ." if it is your will". This is the prayer of my unbelief.

More than 27 people, and five dogs, took part in the prayer walk. Many onlookers looked askance when informed what we were doing and most changed the subject. But we believe that it was significant and that the seeds sown will bear a harvest. We saw and experienced too many "coincidences" along the way to put it down to chance.