Today we started the week of prayer and fasting. I confess this is not something I look forward to; the process is grim, even if the end goal is wonderful. Feeling cold and hungry is not my idea of fun. And then there are the inevitable instances when I feel a bit down and want to cheer myself up with a chocolate biscuit and cup of tea. But for a week, all these psychological props are removed and instead we devote ourselves to seeking God afresh.
But the week has come at a very apposite time from the point of view of the Go and Grow project. We have just heard that, because of delay in the transport report at Barnet, our planning application won’t be heard at the January committee and now we must wait until 22 February before our case is finally determined. That’s not a long wait, but it is another frustrating delay. During the week we also heard news of certain issues around the sale of the North Wing. Whilst we hope these can be resolved, they are another setback. All of this leads me to cry out in quiet desperation “how long?”.
Desperation, however, can be a very positive response if channelled in the right direction. I felt the Lord say to me: “Henry when will you become desperate enough to hand everything over to me?” Many of the most notable miracles recorded in the gospels involved desperate people: the four friends of the cripple were desperate enough to smash up the roof of a house (Luke 5:19), the woman with haemorrhage was desperate enough to push through the crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe (Matthew 9:20), blind Bartimaeus was desperate enough to shout above the crowd despite being hushed up by those around him (Mark 10:47,48), and so on. Perhaps this week of prayer and fasting is time to rediscover the extent of our need for the Lord and then to cry out to Him from those depths, rather than reaching for the chocolate.