Someone said the prospect of standing before a firing squad marvelously focuses one's mind. Other things can have the same effect—like the telephone call from a friend last March in which he told me, "Perhaps the Lord is leading us to fast for forty days."
Us? I hate to fast. I'd tried fasting, and instead of insights I got irritable.
When Bill Bright reported on his forty-day fast, I held him in awe—the same detached awe I have for someone who can run a mile in under four minutes. It's amazing he can do it, but it would be futile for me even to try.
So my friend's call got my attention. As I prayed, the unwelcome conviction grew that a forty-day fast was precisely what God was asking of us. So we covenanted with thirty or forty people to fast for the forty days leading up to Pentecost.
The purpose would be to fast and pray for the two things Jonathan Edwards urged the churches of eighteenth-century New England to pray for: the spiritual awakening of the church in our town ...1