I opened the front door at 8am this morning in utter surprise to see my 85 year old widowed neighbour huddled there. This was highly unusual because I haven’t seen this neighbour outside of her house for several months. She has a cleaner, personal carer, and grocery assistant all visit her but she doesn’t go out much any more, and certainly never before 10am as she is never dressed before then. She also doesn’t receive many visitors – only those who are there to provide a service. In fact, I had been feeling guilty that we never seemed to have time to visit her lately. When the kids were younger, I would pop in several times per week with biscuits the kids had made, have a coffee, just to see how her and her husband were. Then her husband died and it tended to bring out the worst in my neighbour. She was extremely lonely but came across bitter and desperate to drown her loneliness. Thus, we knew we could no longer visit after 3.30pm unless we wanted to help her off the floor from standing too soon after being inebriated on an empty stomach. Unfortunately this only caused us to ‘pull’ away from her when she most needed us around. It was sad.
Last week I finally acknowledged the promptings of the Holy Spirit and set aside a period of time to visit her. God must have been up to something as, at the very time I went outside to walk down to her front door, my 9 year old son called out from cleaning the gutters on our roof that he was going to visit her and ask if he could clean her gutters whilst fixing a tile back in place on her roof that he could see was in the wrong place and allowing rain in.
I am now so glad that I listened to that ‘nudging’ on my heart. It paved the way for my neighbour to knock on my door at 8am this morning so that she had someone’s arms to cry in. Her 40 year old granddaughter had been admitted to Palliative Care overnight, riddled with cancer and not expected to last the weekend.
As I sat with my neighbour, I felt the need to offer to pray for her and her family. I have prayed with my neighbour several times over the last 9 years but she strongly expresses that she has no need of God in her life as He can’t be real. Before I asked if I could pray, knowing that I needed to pray with her as the Holy Spirit was highlighting this so strongly, I asked if there was anything I could do for her. She replied that she had come to me because she wanted me to pray for her and her family. I was shocked. She was desperate to ask me that and it was something I wanted to do. It was a special moment as I prayed with her desperately looking into my eyes for some kind of hope and reassurance and desperately seeking peace. I realised that I couldn’t give her what she wanted. She needed an encounter with Jesus.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”
I was so thankful that I had followed the nudgings of the Holy Spirit last week and spent the time visiting with her, even though I had a long list of stuff needing doing around the house.
I don’t know about you but I sometimes fall into the trap of believing that I am ministering to others more effectively when I am giving prophetic words or involved in praying for Healing for people at organised ministry times. In reality, I am being more Christ like being a kind neighbour whom I can be relied upon to help bring comfort and petition the Most High God on behalf of a desperate grandmother.
Friends, let’s not lose sight of the ‘little’ & seemingly insignificant ways that we touch people in living Christ-like throughout our normal daily life. That is what is truly important. That is really demonstrating the power of love, being the supernatural ‘gold’ and finding the supernatural ‘gold’ in your neighbour.
Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:
The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy!
Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3)
1. Children / Families Activation: As a family, or individually if doing this as a children’s ministry, write a note to your postman, expressing your thanks and include a part about how God sees them and what He feels towards them. Brainstorm what you could include with the note eg box of chocolates or homemade biscuits. Hand deliver it to your postman or leave it in an appropriate place this coming week for your postman to be able to see and collect.
2. Group Activation: Have paper, pens, textas and crayons handy. Either individually or as a group, take a few moments to brainstorm all the people in your life who do things to help you but whom you hardly notice or acknowledge. Individually choose several people off your list to write a note or draw a prophetic picture for that will communicate the Father’s heart towards that person. Talk about using everyday langauge and not ‘christianese’/religious language. Let people decide if they want to do it anonymously or not.
3. Beginner Activation: This week whilst in line at a checkout, ask God to show you something about His heart for the person serving. When it is your time to be served, share what God showed you, making sure that you don’t use any ‘christianese’/religious language. A great way to start is to say, “As I was waiting here, I felt an overwhelming sense that you are a person who …..”
4. Intermediate Activation: This week, ask God to show you a person whom you work with or who lives near you and that you know. Ask God to show you how He loves them and to give you a prophetic word/picture for them. Share this with that person. For my unchurched neighbours, I usually begin by affirming that character within them eg “You are such an amazing person who has an incredible heart for …”
5. Advanced Activation: Think of the person who is causing you the greatest amount of grief at the moment. Ask God to bless them and to show you His heart for them. Ask God for a prophetic word/picture for them and then deliver it nicely to them, expressing God’s heart for them in a loving way.