One of the first visions I had when I surrendered to Jesus was about a prison and the path Father had laid out for me if I chose it. Looking back at this vision now and knowing that it was a lot bigger than I had first thought; than my first revelation of what it meant had been. I realize that this vision has been a blueprint of who I am and what I am about. I will share the vision and then do some explanation.
I found myself walking into a prison camp, through a crop field where people were working, mostly on their knees and there was what appears to be a guard over each one. As I would pass them I heard the guards speaking to the prisoners, “there is no hope for you. You will always be here. There is no escape from this place!” Each person I would pass was similar and had a conversation going on from the guard to the person working the field. People were scattered around the field, all either bent over from loads they carried or on their knees working with the crop – but always in torment from the guards.
The warden of this prison and some of the guard hierarchy were seated in the shade by a well in the midst of a large compound. As I walked through the field they were very much aware of my presence and some of the guards would point at me and mock me, some would yell at me, “soon it will be your turn!” then they would all laugh. I simply ignored them and continued my survey of the prison area. As I walked the compound and the prison I was a bit perplexed at this place. The cells that housed the prisoners were caves set in the side of a cliff, they had no doors on them, and the prison itself had no fences around it. All of the prisoners had personal guards around them always speaking how bad the person was or how they would never be free. The prisoners I spoke to all asked me why I was there and told me that there was no escape from this place. They were terrified for me and wondered why I had come. They would tell me that I must leave immediately before it was too late!. I would smile at them and said nothing. As evening approached on the first day I was there, the prisoners were all herded into the cave cells. I sat in one of these cave cells with some of the prisoners. As they came in I noticed some were physically weak and tormented by the weakness, others were mentally tormented, but all were very complacent and seemed without hope of ever leaving or escaping this prison camp. When they would tell me how bad it was and that there was no hope I would respond with, “Don’t give up hope, and don’t worry we will get out of this place”. All of them would cringe at my words and tell me to be quiet and not to let the guards hear what I was saying. They would tell me over again, “you don’t understand, there is no escape from here”! Many of those in the prison after hearing me say that we would leave this place began to avoid me. A few were willing to listen to my words of faith and hope, but most were afraid of my talk of freedom. The guards would bring food and water to the cells in the evenings but it was not enough to sustain strength, just enough to survive on. I would share my food with the physically weak and constantly spoke words of comfort to the tormented ones. It seemed that I had a few of these men that I would attend to as the days passed in this place. The guards shouted at me every day that soon it would be my turn and then they would break me!. They laughed at my efforts to help the hurting and sometimes in the evenings the warden and guards would come to the cell cave I was in and sit at the entrance and point at me and laugh or mock me as I tried to help some of the inmates. All the prisoners had great fear when the warden and guards showed up. Through it all I would smile and ignore the assaults. I asked the prisoners why there were no doors on the cells and why there was no fence around the camp? I was told that the warden and guards wanted you to try to escape. They would let you leave the camp and run away. They would get excited about it and celebrate the opportunity to go bring you back. As time passed in this place I saw several prisoners try to escape only to be brought back the next day by the warden and guards. Each time someone tried to leave, when they returned they were weaker. Eventually they would quit trying to get away and surrender to being in the prison. There seemed to be no way out! The warden began to tell me that soon it would be my time. He became more menacing and I knew my time was short. This place was so bad and so depressing, it destroyed the inmates and eventually many died. They had completely lost hope. Though I did not actually see it, I sensed it happening.
Each day the torment continued on my friends in the prison, in the evening I would tell them don’t worry we will escape. Most laughed and others would just shake there heads. They repeatedly told me, ‘no one escapes from this place’. Finally the warden came to the cell I was in one evening and pointing his finger at me said, “tomorrow it begins, it is your time”. Everyone was crying and cringing at his words to me. I smiled at my friends and told them, “It is ok tonight we are going to leave”. One of the men I attended to was mentally tormented and another one was physically worn out and both were without strength or much hope. I told them to rest and get some sleep because later we were leaving. They did not want to attempt to leave but I told them I was taking them with me.
Later that night I woke them and the mentally tormented man and I, supporting the physically attacked one between us, walked out of the cell and started across the field toward the forest beyond. It was common knowledge amongst the inmates that on the other side of the forest was freedom, but no one had ever been known to make it out!
As we left, the warden and guards were sitting around a fire and laughed at us as we walked by. They made no attempt to stop us. We walked for a ways but my friends were too weak to go very far so we found a thicket and I had them lay down and rest for a while. As I stood watch over them I could see the guards and the warden coming through the forest with torches but they were not looking for us. They walked right past us and on ahead to a point where they were going to wait for us to reach. I followed the guards till they stopped and set up camp, started a fire and sat around it. They were all laughing and having a good time in anticipation of us walking right into their camp in the morning. They talked of the torment they would heap on us. I listened to this for a while from a hidden spot then left back to my friends sleeping in the thicket. Close to dawn I woke them. I had saved some food up and taking it out of my pocket fed them what I had. They were in a state of confusion and I told them of the trap the warden had laid ahead of us. They became extremely agitated at me and lashed out with words saying, “We told you there was no escape and now we will be tormented worse than ever! You have brought us out to fail. We knew better than to leave”! I quieted them, told them we were not going to be caught, and that we would escape! I knew at that moment how we were going to get out! I got them to their feet and started to lead them back toward the camp. “What are you doing, we can’t go back there now! You said we were going to get out.” I replied, “Trust me, I know the way!”
We came back through the field then to the camp, everyone there was watching and wondering at our appearance without the guards following us and mocking us for trying to escape! I led my friends through the camp and out the other side into the mountain area and out into freedom! Many of the other prisoners followed us when we went in this new direction to escape. No one had ever thought of it!
After we walked away from the prison and on this new path awhile I stopped and was watching this trail of men walk by me into freedom.
The vision ended with this; As I stopped to watch the men going by, – behind them all I could see the warden and his guards coming after us, chasing us. As I saw this, the Lord spoke very clearly to me, “Today you have escaped the enemy’s camp. He will always be chasing you, always be behind you trying to put you back in prison. As long as you keep your eyes on me, you will be safe and free!”
Then the revelation come about not leaving others behind in prison, If you know the path to freedom you must take others who are worse off than you, tormented and without hope, with you!
More came; most people live in a prison without bars. They have something that gives the enemy a place he can torment them from. In reality he cannot touch them. He can only use words to deceive them. They do not know that they do not have to live with the torment and can leave and be free!. Someone must show them the Way and be bold enough to help them walk away from their prison that is without doors or bars. Many have lost hope and need help seeing the truth that freedom is not just available but within reach! Freedom has a name; it is Jesus!
Satan has only fear and deception to imprison us with. He has no legal right or power to harm us. Unless we give him the right to, he cannot touch us.
Jesus showed me that I had willingly gone into this prison because my friends were there. I did not belong there nor have to go there. It was my choice. When we find freedom we do not have to go back to prison for others, but it is Jesus’ heart that we do and He will show us how to take others out of the place of torment the enemy holds them in if we go. When I had arrived in this prison, I had no idea how I would free my friends. I had no plan but simply knew I would not stay and would take others with me. Inside me was a confidence and trust that we would leave, but I did not have a plan. I had to receive from the Lord to leave and take others with me. Even as I led my friends out of the camp in the middle of the night (the darkest time when torment seems certain to win) I did not know how we would escape. It was not until I realized that my friends could not make it on the known path and I had used up what options I had that I found the way to deliver them and myself from the enemy.
Most times the way to freedom from what imprisons us does not have to do with running away from what imprisons us, but facing whatever it is, and walking through it and out into Jesus’ freedom. Running from what you fear will only wear you out and bring you to a place of hopelessness. We must face our fears with Jesus and with help from others find the path of freedom!
For the most part this vision is the story of my life. I have not shared all of the revelations I have gotten from this encounter with the Lord. I still look for places no one else will go and go there to set someone free. The scope of this path has changed and enlarged as I have gone. In going I have found that one thing is consistent; I must hear from Jesus in each case to be effective in freeing the captives. There is no formula or plan that works everywhere. It is in having Jesus heart for the lost and giving your life for them that works. Destroying the enemy’s works can only be done as we live in intimacy with Father and Jesus through Holy Spirit. His love and naturally supernatural presence changes everything. My life is prayer, but not as most think of prayer. Prayer to me is living in His presence, responding to His voice and guidance, listening and obeying much more than asking or speaking! It is all about relationship, trust, surrender and Love! I do not “pound” heaven with my agenda or thoughts on what He should or should not do. I do harass Him about saving the Lost and for Him to send me!
Somehow I feel that this vision is about what Father wants His church to look like. I believe that He would have us all lay our lives down for others! I think that most of us know someone “in prison”. And I believe His love for them shown through us should set them free! For that to happen we will have to surrender, abandon ourselves to His care and stop making excuses why we don’t have to go. Many tell me, “I am not called to evangelize or make disciples, my calling is prayer or helps or hospitality, I do not have the gift or ability needed to go.” I am sorry but those excuses do not change the truth of the Word that declares, ALL ARE TO GO! When people tell me, “I am called to the church, or I am an intercessor, or I am a pastor, etc. My response is, “and so what? This excludes you from making disciples or evangelizing your friends or the people you work with? NOT!”
Evangelism is not about how much you know. It is about caring and sharing your heart, the heart of the Lord for people, praying with them, encouraging them. It is about demonstrating the naturally supernatural love and truth of God to them.
Discipleship is not dependent on how much you know either it is about sharing what you know and your relationship with Jesus in such a way as to cause others to want to walk with Jesus and be able to. Then discipleship should cause them to do the same with someone else.
After thirty-five years my prayers are still, “There must be someone today that I can pray for, share with, or encourage Lord. Send me to the places no one else will go and save souls! Actually Lord, send me wherever you want, but; Here I am Lord, send me!!!”
In Father’s Hand, neil