Winter can be a wonderful time, especially if you're celebrating the holidays with friends and family. You've exchanged gifts, had the fridge filled with food and you're bustling with holiday cheer. But before you go out sharing all that love, be mindful that not everyone had a good holiday. There are people who lost a family member, some just got out of the hospital and others may have just gotten out of a shelter.
Use these tips to help you be an effective witness in winter...
One of the biggest mistakes people make in witnessing in the wintertime is they don't listen enough. We're so excited about the holidays, the time off from work, shopping for our new gear and thinking about our weekend plans that we don't readily identify with someone who can't pay their bills, or someone who has a child on drugs. By listening, you're giving the person a chance to be heard and then you in turn, can hear from the Holy Spirit and be a more effective prayer warrior.
Marilyn Hickey says the best way to help someone is to pray for God to intervene in the person's life. This is important, so prepare your heart to receive from God any words of encouragement or wisdom He has for the person as you pray with them.
Jesus was great for sharing parables. He told stories everywhere He went, and you can, too. Share a testimony about how God delivered you. Help someone to see that while you were in a similar situation, God came through for you and He will help them, too. Your story or testimony plants a seed of faith to help the person who might be struggling with their own faith as they wait to hear from God.
Sharing can also be what you give from your heart and your wallet, too. If you see someone cold like that grandmother on the bus stop, offer to buy her a pair of warm gloves, or you can give your own gloves if you feel compelled. There have been countless stories in the news about people who gave their shoes and went to a store to just get another pair, or gave their hat because they had a hood. Pray and ask God for help and also remember that you can refer a person to the nearest shelter or mission so they can have a warm place to stay and receive the essential winter items they need.
Jesus said, "When you give to the least of these, you give to me." Let's be mindful in our giving that it's unto the Lord.
The Bible says, "The effective, fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much." That means that your simple, heartfelt prayer can do a lot of good if you believe. When you pray with someone, you don't need to know all the details about what they're going through. You can just pray, "Lord, you know the situation that (Name) is going through. We are praying for their deliverance."
Be mindful that when you pray with the person, its the perfect time to say the Prayer of Salvation or the Rededication Prayer:
The Prayer of Salvation
If you haven't said the Prayer of Salvation, now's the perfect time: Father God in the name of Jesus, Lord, I ask forgiveness of my sins. Please come into my heart. I turn my back on sin and I make you my Lord and Savior. I want to follow you for the rest of my life. Please give me eternal life through you in Jesus name, amen.
Re-dedication to Christ Prayer
If you need to rededicate your life to Christ because you feel like you've been sinning or haven't been living right, pray: Father God in the name of Jesus, I ask forgiveness of my sins and I turn my back on sin. Please help me to overcome ---- and I want to lead a better life through you. I decree and declare this day I have overcome ---- and I have the victory in Jesus name, amen.
A great way to give to someone you're witnessing to is to share a prayer card, a seed card, a Bible tract or a Bible. Depending on where you are, you may be helping out at a shelter, church mission or food bank. If you're giving out a hot plate of food or clothing, you can give a prayer card or a Bible if the church or mission has it. If you find that they are lacking in supplies, you may want to donate to that particular organization. Your donation may be a tax write-off and its a great way to share God's love by giving Bibles, prayer cards and other supplies.
Ask at the mission, church or shelter for their specific needs so you will know how to help them. For example, giving Bibles is great, but if all of the Bibles you order are super small font, they might not be able to effectively help the senior citizens and homeless who have poor vision, outdated glasses, or no glasses at all. Now if God compels you to give Bibles and reading glasses, too, well praise God!
You can also ask about giving hats, gloves, scarves, warm socks and other items that are essential in the winter. This can help ensure that whether the items are going to children or adults, you will know what the church or mission specifically needs. If you are looking for supplies to give, check with Walmart and you can go online for wholesale/bulk items that can give you more quantities of the key supplies that are in demand. That way you won't put a strain on your wallet and you can reach the most people by buying in bulk.
Just do an online search for "Bibles in bulk", "Bible lots in bulk", or "hats, scarves in bulk". These can help guide you to the sites offering the best deals for added savings. That way you don't end up buying 10 Bibles for $10 each when you can find a site that might give you 100 Bibles at $1 each - especially if you call or email and let them know its going to charity.
Need prayer cards for your ministry or shelter? Shop for prayer cards here...
While you're witnessing, reminding the person to wait on God is so important. Sometimes God puts us in a pit for a season to teach us something that He will use in our lives later on. There was a woman who ended up in a shelter and she felt like she had done something wrong. Years later when she had made a good living, she started to help shelters because she remembered what it was like. God may have only had her there for that season so she would have compassion on the same people she once shared a space with.
There are also times when people have to go through a season without because they may be going through a test or maybe they didn't listen to God about something. This happened to Jonah when he ended up in the belly of a whale. That doesn't mean that you should say, "Maybe you did something wrong." What it does mean is that when you pray for the person, just pray, "Lord, help this person to get through this season. Please give them strength and make the way. Send signs so they will know the direction and deliverance you have for them."
Ultimately, when you witness, you want to share God's love so keep that glowing smile and let your light for Christ shine! Your goal with witnessing is to share God's good news, so let your story or testimony inspire others as you plant that seed of faith that God will deliver them, too.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers us from them all! And that good news, my friend - is simply awesome!