Every Saturday for years, we have gone to Portobello Road Market to do evangelism. The evangelism has turned random conversation into relationships, so that now when I walk down Portobello, I get to move like a local, stopping to chat with so many of the people that I see. It can take a while for Londoners to warm up, and many weeks conversations seem to fall flat. So we pray as we walk away and wait for the next Saturday.
One of my favourite Saturday friends is called Dolly. She is 91 years old, and she has been working in the market since she was 14. Her hands are gnarled and often bleed from her excema. A few months ago, she let me start praying for her hands when I buy my weekly punnet of blueberries. In the middle of the chaos of bagging up produce, she stops, and we pray. And this week, after I prayed for her, she told me that she loved me.
I don't really know much of Dolly's story, in spite of seeing her every week for years. But her words remind me of our hope, the reason that we walk down the market every Saturday. We have gone years without seeing anyone meet Jesus. But actually, that assumption is wrong. They meet Jesus every week. And even when we can't see the change inside of them, even when we feel that conversations have fallen on deaf ears, that the effort isn't paying off, something is happening in the deep places.
It is for these deep places that we fight.