Austin's unexpected death came ahead of several conferences at which she was to be the featured speaker, including this Friday's New Year Prophetic Glory Conference in Islandia, N.Y., hosted by prophetic evangelist Matt Sorger. "She was taken quickly, but her life and inspiration will live on through many still here on earth," said Sorger, who said Austin's ministry deeply impacted his own.
"Jill carried an unusual anointing of fire, zeal and passion for Jesus," he said. "Holy Spirit was her closest friend. Angels were her companions. She was full of life and was great fun to be with. My heart will greatly miss this fiery prophet, but my spirit rejoices that she is now dancing with Jesus in glory with a brand new body."
According to Austin's California-based ministry, doctors last Tuesday discovered that Austin's intestines were twisted and cutting off her blood supply. With a life-threatening infection setting in, she underwent two emergency surgeries during which parts of her stomach, intestines and colon were removed.
On Thursday, Steve Shultz, founder of the Elijah List prophetic-ministry Web portal and a personal friend of Austin's, sent an urgent prayer alert via e-mail asking intercessors to pray for a miracle in Austin's body.
Early Friday morning Austin's blood pressure was dangerously low and her kidneys were beginning to fail. Friends at her ministry posted a prayer update that morning saying Austin needed "a creative miracle."
"Jill is in the most crucial hour of her life," they stated.
Austin was ultimately unable to recover and died Friday evening.
"Our beloved Jill went home to be with Jesus," her staff stated on the Web site. "Thank you all for standing with us and praying. She is now with her best friend, Holy Spirit, and dancing with her destiny."
During a memorial service for Austin held on Monday afternoon at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) based in Kansas City, Mo., Patricia King, founder of Extreme Prophetic, said she will dearly miss her longtime friend. "Jill was the most amazing woman of God I've ever known," King said. "So full of fire ... she had this way of convicting me, so deep, but with such love. Many of us here, and many around the world, will never be the same because of Jill Austin."
Austin was a veteran leader within the prophetic movement. She was described on her ministry Web site as having "a catalytic and prophetic anointing" that could "break open the heavens." She taught about the presence and power of the Holy Spirit for nearly three decades both at conferences worldwide and through CDs and books such as Dancing With Destiny and the allegorical Master Potter series.
Sorger said Austin celebrated her 60th birthday in Israel last year—ironically the 60th anniversary of the modern Jewish state—and that he recalls Austin telling people she was going to get married in 2009. It turns out that "she was," he said. "To Jesus, her Bridegroom."
Austin, who often spoke of her passion for theater, music, movies and dance, was also an instructor at IHOP's Forerunner School of Prayer.
"I will always remember Jill for the way she valued the presence of the Holy Spirit and how she strengthened us in her prophetic ministry," said Mike Bickle, founder of IHOP. "I will remember her courage to take a stand for what she believed in and her hunger for deeper intimacy with Jesus."
Born and raised in Hollywood, Austin was an award-winning professional potter. She used her clay and potter's wheel on stage in the early years of her ministry while speaking softly to audiences about the love and tenderness of God.
"As clay vessels, each of us must take a journey," Austin wrote in a 1998 article in Spirit-Led Woman magazine. "The steps in this journey can be painful but are necessary for us to be transformed from broken bits of clay into anointed vessels that reflect the glory of the Lord.
"At the moment when you just know you're going to die, the Lord opens all the dampers," she said of the spiritual refining process. "Shaking and crying, healing and deliverance, deep repentance and intercession fill the kiln as hungry hearts cry out for more of God. When the Lord walks through the kiln and sees Himself reflected on each vessel as in a mirror, He turns off the kiln. The Master Potter has perfected His work of art."
During more recent ministry, Austin called Christians to "infiltrate" the media, urging believers to be proactive when receiving revelations from God through dreams, visions and visitations.
"I was captivated by Jill's zeal and fire in the Lord," Sorger said. "I'll never forget her famous words: 'Do you want a visitation? How hungry are you? Is your shadow dangerous?' Her passion stirred a hunger in my heart for more of Holy Spirit.
"I honor the life she lived in devotion to God," he added. "I honor the anointing she carried on her life. I honor her friend, Holy Spirit. I believe when a seed is planted in the ground, it does not remain alone, but it produces a harvest. I believe Jill's life will be multiplied through those who knew and were impacted by her."
Austin is survived by two sisters, Judith and Joan; one brother, Jon Mark; and several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were held Monday afternoon near IHOP in Lee's Summit, Mo. A second memorial service will be held on Friday at Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, Calif.
Check the Master Potter website for further details.
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