WHAT COULD BE SIMPLER THAN OFFERING TO PRAY FOR A NEIGHBOUR?
Emmanuel Gill and a small team from Journey church in Harrow visit people doorto-door, simply saying that they are from the church caring for the community. It’s an area, typical for London, where some of the most deprived communities are pressed right against more affluent areas. Part of their introduction is to offer pray for the people they meet.
‘Often people were surprised that somebody has come to their house to pray for them,’ says Emmanuel. ‘A lot of people do say that they would want us to pray for them. They might ask for prayers for their health, for family members or for good blessings.’
Some prefer for us to pray for them in our own time, others accept the invitation for us to pray for them there and then. At the end of the prayer, Emmanuel might ask them how they feel – near or far from God? And then that is a way forward in involving them in spiritual conversation. Sometimes Emmanuel offers to tell his own story of how he became close to God. On one street a woman appeared out from the other side of the house. ‘When I offered to pray for her, she was so pleasantly surprised that she invited us in,’ says Emmanuel. ‘Her 19 year-old daughter who came to our youth club a long time before was also in the house and we had a great gospel conversation.’ Then they were able to continue the next week. She is one of three ladies who were ready to be baptized just before the lockdown. Praise God! Probably out of one hundred homes there would be maximum twenty positive and encouraging responses, says Emmanuel. The rest of them could be ‘not interested’, ‘thank you, not for me: I’m not religious’, or maybe there’s just nobody at home.
There is a small team of people that we have trained over the time. They’re mainly retired people who have a little bit more time to spare. They would come on doors with me and watch me in conversation with people in their homes, and then later I would invite them to do it the way I did on earlier doors. There are other church members who are doing Bible studies with some of the people we have met on the doors. We have a group running every Monday to do discipleship and Bible studies. Six or seven of us would have lunch and read the Bible together. All of those people were recently converted and either were waiting to be baptised or were baptised. As Emmanuel moves to helping more churches in Harrow establish this kind of ministry, he is looking forward to the church taking on the challenge of strengthening these relationships and seeing some real friendships develop. ‘It’s encouraging for the church to see that God is at work and he does make people change and transform.’