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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Comiskey

Foot Washing: Power to Plead

I will pour out on you a spirit of grace and supplication…

We will look upon the One we have pierced and will mourn as one grieves for an only child…

On that day, I’ll open a fountain to cleanse you from sin and impurity;

on that day, I’ll banish the idols from the land…

On that day, I’ll remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land…

On that day, every prophet will be ashamed of his prophetic vision.

He will say, “I am not a prophet, I am a farmer.”

When asked about the wounds on his body, he will answer:

“These wounds I was given at the house of my friends’ (Zechariah 12:10-13:6).



God helps the desperate. He sends His Spirit to ours, gently inviting us to Himself. Silent prayer is the earmark of repentance, surrender: it says, wordlessly, I’m sick of my babble-on, desperate for the ‘appalling strangeness of the mercy of God’ (Graham Greene).

 

Sweet. Perhaps these 40 ‘desert’ days will be different. We are desperate. Zechariah was desperate to rebuild the Father’s house, which lay in ruins like ours today.

 

What does rebuilding mean for you? I am praying for the Bride’s renewed ‘yes’ to Her Groom’s longing to cleanse and bind up our adulteries. Only then can we love Him and others with a mercy-freed heart. All serious Christians know our divided hearts and homes. And we know only One who can restore us.

 

Our adulteries make us poor. We can resist that poverty by preening like the Pharisee and praising God for our purity (Lk. 18:9-14). But pride blinds us to how sullied we are, complicit in a host of compromises. We are members, joined together, deeply impacted by the weeds in our churches, our families, the mixtures in our own faith. We are them. Our only way is down.

 

Yes, like Zechariah, we must act. But unless our actions are sourced in prayer, we cannot say our efforts are from God. ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain’ (Ps. 127:1). May we linger in His courts, however cluttered, and ask Him for the grace to grovel, the power to admit poverty, to plead, to let our brokenness break any bravado. May we be reduced to Himself.

 

That is the meaning of supplication. In its Hebrew context, ‘grace and supplication’ (Zech. 12:10) are better translated as ‘the grace of supplications’—plural—meaning many pleas (a supplicant is, after all, a beggar). We go from silence to the Psalmist’s cry in a childlike effort to align with His heart. May we tap into His favor that fuels real supplication! I pray also for the rare descent from words to tears to His groanings over a house divided (Rom. 8:26- 27).

 

‘Do not hold against us the sins of the fathers; may Your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need’ (Ps. 79:8).

 

May the failure of spiritual fathers not wreck us but rather reduce us to the one Father who hears our cries for mercy. Our enemy wants us to get stuck in the sludge and overflow with unhappiness and unbelief to anyone in range. Don’t feed him. He flees when we fall face down before Jesus’ wounded feet; we cry out in desperation for Him to bind away betrayal and hints of despair, bad fruit of the faithful who failed us.  

 

In their poverty, we see ours. We cannot take away their sins, but we can linger with the One who bears ours. He will. We can speak out and surrender our hardening hearts to trusted friends. Maybe we will cycle from mere woundedness to the strength of wisdom.

 

40 days in the desert seems inadequate.  

 

May the living water He gives flow from us to weaker ones who are caught between the world and worldly church. We veterans can lose sight of little ones who love Jesus but have little traction in healing community. Zechariah promises: ‘On that day, the Lord will shield us, so that the feeblest among them will be like David’ (Zech. 12:8).

 

‘May none be lost in the battles surrounding Your House, O God. Good Shepherd of the sheep, preserve the weakest, even through us, the poor; ours is the Kingdom! May we not fail to extend whatever refreshment we receive. Appalling strangeness of mercy, in truth!

 

Reduce us, cut us back but not off. May bitter cold and withering heat draw us deeper into You, O God. You are our Father, made known to us in Jesus. Your Spirit always seeks our lowest ground. We are brought low by the staggering of many. Help us fall in the right direction, before Yourself. May Your mercy come quickly to meet us.’


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