Do you have loved ones who need Jesus Christ?
What better time than the season that celebrates the coming of the Christ-child to earth so He could live and die to redeem us?
I’ve found that as soon as we receive Jesus, most of us immediately begin praying for our lost family members to accept Him too. We want them to discover for themselves what we experienced during that life-changing moment when we became new creations in Christ.
It certainly was that way when I was a new believer!
The Only Christian at 48 Crossbow Crescent in Toronto
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.
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.
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 who 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.
But we were lost 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 my decision 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…and it went on for three years.
Living in Secret
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 for you.
I faced it year after year. I prayed and prayed, but nothing seemed to happen. I spent every single moment when I was home reading my Bible and praying. I started going to church every night.
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 peak 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 mornings 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 TV 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 his 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 wanted. 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 stare. 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 more and more 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 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 raging 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, the weeks turned into months, and the months into years, I kept praying for my family. I saw in the Scriptures all the promises from God.
I saw the verse in the Bible that says, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6 KJV). I watered the seeds of the Gospel with many, many tears as I prayed out to the Lord to save them from their sins before it was eternally too late.
I even reached the point a few times where it seemed so bleak and dark that I caught myself thinking, “Well, maybe nothing will happen.” I wanted so desperately to believe that my family would be saved, but they seemed to be pulling away from Him even more, no matter how hard I interceded and sought to claim the promises of His Word.
One time, nearly three years after my salvation, as I cried out to God for my family, the Lord spoke to me—”Quit asking Me and take your authority!”
I had no idea what this meant. To my knowledge I had never heard anyone preach or teach on the subject of taking authority. I was just in my bedroom, yet suddenly it was if one of the secrets of the entire universe was being unveiled to me.
I didn’t know what to do.
The main Bible verse I had learned that had anything to do with that was in James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
I didn’t want to talk to the devil. I wanted nothing to do with him, even though most of our house seemed to be filled with sinful things—my family would often have fortune tellers, palm readers, and even witches as guests. There was a lot of demonic activity, though everyone else seemed to treat it as fun.
In our house, only my bedroom belonged to Jesus Christ.
“Take your authority!” the Lord told me.
For the first time in my life, I began getting very angry at the devil for the control he had over my family. I just didn’t know how to go about rebuking him. I thought if I talked to him, he might actually appear in front of me.
Still, with a righteous anger rising inside me, yet not really knowing what to expect, I said defiantly, “Satan, take your hands off my family!”
A boldness suddenly hit my soul unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I still had no idea what I was doing or what I was supposed to do. All I knew was that I had challenged the devil for the souls of my family. I did it in obedience to the word I had heard from the Lord. And I did it while standing on God’s guarantee that if I submitted myself to Him and resisted the devil, satan would have to flee!
I had just prayed, “Satan, take your hands off my family!” I had been obedient. I wasn’t sure what to do next.
“Go down the stairs!”
I knew it was the Lord again, but I had no clue why I was supposed to leave the safety of my bedroom and go downstairs. Still, I moved quickly, wondering what was going to happen.
“You see this bottle?”
Again, the Voice spoke. I knew which bottle He was talking about. My Dad had a hubbly-bubbly—a bottle filled with water and an area on top to place tobacco. As a person smokes the tobacco and puffs on the pipe, the water bubbles.
My father’s hubbly-bubbly was empty, but there was a little book inside the empty bottle.
I knew if I broke my father’s hubbly-bubbly bottle, he would kill me. Still, I knew I was hearing the Lord’s voice, and I had been obedient to this point. A strange boldness continued to fill me. I smashed the bottle and the little book fell out.
“Take the book and throw it in the fireplace!”
I loved my father, yet I had spent all of my childhood and young adult life in great fear of him. His word was not to be challenged. Doing something like breaking his hubbly-bubbly bottle and throwing the little book into the fire was totally unthinkable.
“I believe this is You, Lord, and I’m going to do it!”
When I threw the little book into the fire, screams literally came out of the fireplace. Nothing in my life—nothing!—had ever happened like that before. As the voices screamed, I began rebuking that power “in the name of Jesus!”
Suddenly the screams stopped. Whatever demonic power was held in that book was broken instantly. And as a result of resisting the devil, he fled. The demons left. My family’s life would never be the same from that moment!
The Harvest Begins
Within days, things began 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 he prayed as a small 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!
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.
And here’s the best part: If God can save a family like mine, He can do the same for you. Your lost family members can be saved!
Please understand that back then I had no idea about how God works, nor how He chooses to move in times and seasons. All I knew is that I loved my family members, and I wanted each of them to know Jesus Christ as personal Savior. I wanted to make sure all of them would avoid an eternity separated from God and instead spend forever with me in the splendor of heaven.
Yet for three long years, nothing seemed to be happening. I prayed and prayed and prayed, just as you may have prayed and prayed and prayed while nothing appears to be changing. You may feel as if you are dying on the inside because nothing is manifesting on the outside.
Let me tell you, on the authority of God’s Word, that the season for the salvation of your family is coming!
You may have been faithful as you have stood on God’s promises and claimed His guarantees for your loved ones, and you may have been praying for decades for your family members, but everything can change when faith begins to build in your heart and God reveals to you the secret of taking authority.
Yes, you may have asked again and again for prayer for your parents, spouse, or children. You may have wept over them until it seemed like there were no more tears to plant into lives of your loved ones. Yet when faith fills your soul, showing you that the season for harvest is here, it will be like a volcano erupting inside.
Three Keys to Seeing Your Loved Ones Accept Jesus as Savior and Lord
It can happen for you. You have prayed. You have believed. You have stood in the gap. But now it is time to expect that miracle.
As believers, we must know that God guarantees the salvation of our loved ones: “But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children” (Isaiah 49:25).
Here are three quick keys for the salvation of your lost loved ones:
Key 1: Stand on God’s guarantees for the salvation of your family.
The apostles Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).
There are many other powerful promises throughout the Bible. Jeremiah tells us:
Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border. (Jeremiah 31:16-17)
Isaiah 49:17 says, “Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.” Here the Bible clearly states that our children will return to God and the destroyer will leave their lives!
In Isaiah 54:13 we read, “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
And the apostle Peter assures us, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39).
Declare God’s Word on behalf of your loved ones! Stand on His promises!
Key 2: Learn to intercede effectively for each family member.
Intercession involves more than reminding God of someone’s lost spiritual condition or offering a prayer on behalf of someone. It means to go on behalf of another, to take the place of.
Lot and his family were rescued from the destruction of Sodom because Abraham stood in the gap as an intercessor on their behalf.
We are told, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it” (Ezekiel 22:30).
Stand in the gap! Intercede for your lost loved ones. Claim the provisions of the atonement as you stand in faith on their behalf. In intercession your prayer no longer remains a request. It becomes a raging battle for the soul of each one!
Key 3: Take authority as a believer and challenge the devil for the souls of your loved ones.
Today, refuse fear and embrace boldness. Attack the enemy, engaging in spiritual warfare!
We have authority over the enemy who is controlling and binding the lives of our loved ones. It is time we declare the promises “by force” (Matthew 11:12). Scripture promises: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
It’s time for the devil to flee! It is time we resist the enemy with the Word of God. Because the Lord tells us to resist the devil, we have an obligation to do so. We must resist him now on behalf of our loved ones, those who are struggling under his controlling influence.
Most of us begin praying for our lost family members as soon as we become Christians. After all, the salvation of each loved one is one of the dearest things to any person’s heart. However, we often fail to understand God’s guarantees, the power of intercession, and the authority our Lord has given to us.
My Prayer for You
We know that God works in seasons. He desires for each of your lost 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. As a young believer, I battled in prayer the strongholds that held them captive. 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). That includes your loved ones. 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, especially during this season as we celebrate His birth!
It is my prayer that you will see eternal fruit as a result of your tears and prayers during the coming days!