Our next door neighbour died a fortnight ago. As far as we know, she had never made a personal commitment to accepting Jesus Christ into her life. The morning she was found dead in her hallway by her cleaner, I experienced some pangs of regret. I had never ever shared the gospel with her. I live a busy life being involved in a lot of ministry, but here was an 82 year old lady living next door to me whom I had never shared the gospel with. Would she go to heaven?
I reflected back on the last 9 years of her living behind us in a unit. When she first shifted in, her husband was alive and my children and I loved visiting her. We would have afternoon tea with her several times per week. My son loved her husband and his sense of humour. Unfortunately her husband died three years later after battling cancer. I had the opportunity to pray several times with him and he always loved those times and seemed at peace afterwards. He was a Jehovah Witness but was open to me praying with him and chatting about the gospel. He always seemed to appreciate our visits, chats about heaven and times of prayer, especially towards the end of his life.
Unfortunately my neighbour wasn’t. She grieved deeply after her husband died and became quite bitter and sought solace in alcohol, lots of alcohol. I asked her several times if I could pray with her but she always refused. Her grand daughter died of cancer and she refused all offers of prayer. She never liked talking about God, heaven, what happened after you died or Jesus Christ.
We tried to love her in action. We did a lot of things for her, always backed her car down the driveway for her, baked cookies and meals for her, checked numerous times at midnight that she was o’kay after her personal alarm was activated, bought her food, collected her mail, took out her garbage, trimmed her hedge, etc. She sunk deeper into despair and alcohol and my kids no longer liked to visit her. I was careful to never to visit after 3pm as she would tend to fall and hurt herself after getting up quickly to unlock the door and having drunk alcohol on an empty stomach.
During those years, we went overseas three times on mission trips but we had a person desperately needing Jesus in our own backyard. But a number of times she refused us. Earlier on, we prayed earnestly as a family for her to know Jesus Christ personally, but the prayers dwindled off as we saw no sign of hope.
Last week my daughter and I went to her funeral. We have been to a number of funerals and this one was extremely short and ‘empty’. There was no mention of God. There was encouragement to just think of her as the glamourous lady she was when she was a lot younger.
This has been a huge wake up call for me. It always seems to be easier to love those far off, to see the supernatural expressed with amazing miracles and healing. Our family love prophesying over people and praying for healing. I am involved in prayer ministry and praying for inner healing for several folk each week. Our whole family has undergone training numerous times in how to share the Gospel with unbelievers, especially prior to going on Beach Mission and mission trips, and we each have a 1 minute testimony prepared of how God has changed our life. But what about simple evangelism of loving your neighbour and sharing your faith? Who else may God have placed strategically around us to love and share Jesus Christ with?
Whom has God placed strategically close around you for you to be His witness to?
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: Encourage each person to ask God for a specific number. Once you have that number, ask God to show you what to draw or write for the person whose house number is that number you received. If the number doesn’t match a house number in your street, look in the next street etc. Try and write a prophetic word that doesn’t have christian jargon in it. When you have all finished, go on a walk as a family and post the picture/prophetic words in the letterbox corresponding to the number that person received.
2. Group Activation: For this activation, you will need enough chairs for everyone in the group. Have everyone standing and put the chairs in the middle in a circle. Basically this is musical chairs. Remove two chairs. Play the music and have everyone walk around the chairs. When the music stops, the 2 people who are left without a chair are out but they have a total of 2 minutes to get a prophetic word for each other and then deliver it. They then sit out and you remove 2 more chairs. Play the music and repeat etc until down to the last 2 people. They then prophesy over each other.
3. Beginner Activation: Ask God to highlight a family member to you. Then ask God to give you a bible verse for them that will be significant for them and convey God’s heart for them at the moment. Write it out, along with a prophetic word that will encourage and comfort that family member.
4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to highlight a neighbour to you who doesn’t yet know the Gospel. Spend some time with God, listening to Him and how He would have you best communicate the Gospel to this person. Then do what you hear God telling you.
5. Advanced Activation: Ask God to show you a significant societal issue for your country at the moment (eg Safe Schools or homosexual marriage in Australia). Spend some time just listening to God and hearing His Heart on the issue. Ask Him what role He would want you to play in that issue and what He would want you to do. Then do it.