Last week I shared the key to reaching your loved ones. This week I want to share how that anointing fell upon my own family. I’ve learned that as soon as we receive Jesus, most of us immediately begin praying for our family members to accept Him too. We want them to discover for themselves what we experienced during that life-changing moment when we become new creations in Christ Jesus.
It has been many years now since February 14, 1972, at 7:50 a.m. when I said, “Jesus, come into my heart.” A moment later, as I walked out of the library at Georges Vanier Secondary School to go to my French class, I was a transformed teenager. And one of the first things I wanted to do was share my newfound faith with my family.
The Only Christian at 48 Crossbow Crescent in Toronto
When I got home from school that day, I told my Mama, “I am born again!”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Mama,” I explained, “I became a Christian today.”
“But,” she replied, “you’ve always been a Christian.”
“No, Mama, you don’t understand. I am a Christian now!”
When I said that to her, it was so divine, so full, so amazing to me. It was personal and real, and I wanted my precious Mama and all of my family to understand exactly what had happened.
And I began discovering that when you become a believer, those closest to you cannot help but see the change that begins to happen supernaturally. Still, they may not appear to want anything to do with the Lord.
After I surrendered my heart and life to Jesus Christ, I prayed diligently for my family. For three years I was the only one in my family that was saved. When I received the Lord into my heart, it was life-changing. My father thought I had gone crazy.
We all thought we were Christians. We went to religious schools. We attended church. I was an altar boy. We were religious and went through all the rituals. We loved and respected God. We loved each other. We were just lost and without Jesus Christ. We had never understood that each of us needed to receive Him as our personal Savior and Lord. We thought that being religious was enough.
So, when I went through this dramatic turnaround as a teenager, everybody said, “Benny’s gone crazy!” My father took me to a psychiatrist to see if he could figure out what was wrong with me. My grandmother traveled halfway around the world to convince me that I was wrong.
After I decided to accept Jesus Christ into my heart, I became increasingly troubled that none of my family members knew Him as Savior. Talking to them was like talking to a wall. They made fun of me. They called me a Jesus Freak. My uncles would laugh at me when I discussed anything to do with the Gospel. The whole family mocked all the changes in my life. This went on for three years.
Are you like that?
Do you have family members who don’t understand what God has done for you? They love you, and you love them, but they just don’t recognize what has happened in your life. Sometimes, especially as you begin growing in the Lord, it is as if you are from one planet and they are from another. Maybe this has gone on for years or even decades.
Living in Secret
I faced it month after month. I prayed and prayed but nothing seemed to happen. I spent every single moment when I was home reading my Bible and praying.
We lived in a small house, and there were eight children. I shared a bedroom with my brother Willie. I would pray, “Lord, please don’t let him come in yet. Let me finish my time with You.” I remember my little brother Henry would peek in the room through a hole to see what I was doing.
I prayed earnestly for my family, even though I increasingly had nothing at all in common with them. My desires had changed.
“Benny’s gone coo-coo!” they kept saying.
On Sunday morning before I went to church, I would sneak down before anybody would wake up and watch Kathryn Kuhlman’s television program, turning the volume `way down in hopes that my Father wouldn’t come down and yell at me. I remember praying, “Lord, please keep all of them in bed.”
I lived in secret, reading the Bible, studying books, watching Christian television programs, and attending church all that I could. These were not pleasant days for me.
In fact, the first time I mentioned “Jesus” in our home after I was saved, my father warned me sternly. “Mention that name in my house once more, and you’ll wish you hadn’t. Forsake this experience, or we will forsake you!”
Riding with my father in the family car not long after our initial confrontation about “Jesus,” he tried once again to dissuade me from my stand as a Christian. He promised me this and that, trying to turn me away from what I had found in Christ. One thing was always certain about my father—he never broke a promise. If he said it, he made it very clear that he wanted me to forget “this Christian fanatical thing.”
When he had finished, he paused and waited for my response. I looked into his piercing eyes and replied, “There is nothing you can do to force me to forget about Jesus.”
The expression on my father’s face instantly revealed his anger at my response. And this wasn’t the first time I had seen that expression or felt his glaring wrath. As a little boy, I had often looked up at his towering, six-foot frame and felt the intimidation of his stern glare when I didn’t measure up to his expectations. There in the car, I had similar feelings. It was apparent that I had not pleased him; I had not given the answer he had desired. At times like that as a child, I would run and hide under the bed, but today there was nowhere to hide to escape his angry, silent glare. With nothing else to say, we drove home in silence.
Things became increasingly difficult at home. My family couldn’t find any logical explanation for the change they saw in me, so they just ignored me. I began to feel like an intruder in my own home, and the isolation became increasingly painful. My family begged me not to dishonor the family name by pursuing this “Jesus stuff.” But the reality I had found in my relationship with Jesus Christ was more precious to me than anything. Although I loved my family, I loved my wonderful Lord Jesus more. I knew that I could not turn away from Him and His love for me.
In desperation, my father tried something else. He arranged for me to work for a friend of his. Perhaps he thought if I was busy working, I wouldn’t have time to think about this “Jesus.” Unsuccessful, my father finally said in despair, “Benny, what can I do for you? What do you want me to do? I’ll do anything you want if you’ll just forget about this Jesus of yours.”
I swallowed hard and said, “Dad, you can say what you want, but I would rather die than give up what I’ve found in Jesus.”
My father’s brief moment of concern vanished and a river of angry words streamed from his lips, transforming him from a concerned father to an angry, sarcastic stranger. From that time on, and for nearly two years following, my father and I had almost no communication. It was as though I was invisible, and my presence was seldom acknowledged. Although my family and I lived in the same house, our relationship deteriorated to that of strangers. Only the love of Jesus Christ sustained me through those lonely times.
As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, I kept praying for my family. I saw in the Scriptures all the promises about how God loved families.
I read, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31, NKJV).
I saw the verse in the Bible that says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6, NKJV). I watered the seeds of the Gospel with many, many tears as I prayed out to God to save them from their sins before it was eternally too late.
Within days, everything started changing. My sister Mary was the first one to give her heart to the Lord.
Next was my little brother Sammy, and I will never forget the earnest prayer that he prayed as a little boy when he surrendered his heart to Jesus Christ. With simplicity and heartfelt sincerity, he prayed, “Jesus, come into my heart. Lock yourself in and throw away the key.”
Then came my Willie, Henry, Chris, Rosie, and Mikey—one by one my entire family was born again, including my precious mother and father!
Eventually, I had the privilege of seeing every single one of my family members come to our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ.
Hallelujah for the wonderful promises and provisions of salvation for your loved ones.
Intercession for Your Household
Ultimately, each of us is responsible to God for the decision to accept or reject His simple plan of salvation. Though you cannot decide for your loved ones, you can intercede that God will draw them to Himself.
You can make a difference for your family. You can stand in the gap, as taught in Ezekiel 22:30 (NKJV), “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land.”
The courts of Heaven are higher and greater than the courts of hell, and the law of God is greater than the law of Satan. When you pray, God says to the devil, “Let the one who is bound go,” and the devil must obey. Prayer destroys Satan’s power. God has given you mighty authority as a believer.
No name is greater than the name of Jesus.
As a believer, you have incredible spiritual power and authority, given to you by Jesus Christ:
“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19, NKJV).
My Prayer for You
We know that God works in seasons. He desires for each of your family members to accept Him as Savior, so much so that He gave His only Son to die for them. Now, the season for salvation of your loved ones is coming.
I have already shared how my family was so hardened to the Gospel message. Eventually, I had the privilege of bringing every one of my family members to Jesus. And if God can save a family like mine, He can save yours as well.
God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). His desire is for your household to be saved, and He will give you the power to lift your loved ones up and bring them to salvation. The answer to leading your family to Christ is on the way!
Your family can be saved! Don’t miss what He has in store for you and your loved ones!
It is my prayer that you will see eternal fruit as a result of your tears and prayers during the coming days!
My Request to You
I want to encourage you now to sow a financial seed in faith, believing that as you sow toward the salvation of souls around the world, God will do the same for your loved ones!
These days of pandemic, uncertainty, debt, and lack can be over for you. You can see harvests that are multiplied with such power and intensity that even dormant seeds can spring back to life as you step out in faith! This certainly applies to your family!
Make the divine connection between your giving and His blessings, favor, and protection. Then watch what God will do.
You and I know that you are not buying a miracle or a loved one’s salvation—far from it—but we do know that as we sow financially for the salvation of the lost around the world, God will honor us and bring salvation to our loved ones.
God wants to bless you so you can bless others!
I feel great faith in my soul for this. I feel faith I have not felt in years. And this is the time to agree. This is the time to see it happen!
Please do not put this off. It is reality. Let us agree together, and God will surely bring it to pass. Do it today!
With great expectation for you and your lost loved ones,
Jesus told His disciples, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4). It is our duty, job, and privilege to reach those places where dear souls are crying out. For many, especially those who have yet to hear the Good News of salvation, eternity is at stake. Help me seize this moment for the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Plant your seed toward taking the Gospel to the nations—while there is still time—then see what God does to destroy debt in your life!
The Lord’s cry for the world is getting louder and louder. His heart is yearning for the lost to be saved now! Thank you for your part in this worldwide ministry. What a blessing you are to souls around the globe.