Tag Archives: Prisoner

I’m heading to Prison!

I don’t really have a bucket list per say, but there are certain things I have in mind to accomplish, and one very strange thing that I desired to do was to minister in a prison. I know… I’m weird that way. But from my days of working in Magistrate court I’ve had a much higher tolerance for criminals than for some of the people supposedly working for their good. The arrogance on the part of those out of chains who treated criminals with disdain would grind my nerves bare. How could we ever hope for their correction and redemption when they were given no encouragement to change? Disrespect breeds disrespect. My burden for them likely has more to do with the fact that it was during this time of my life that I was saved; so I understood redemption. I understood that I was every bit as unworthy as the man or woman arrested and brought before our courts, the only difference was Christ had interceded on my behalf.

So when a friend and prison Chaplin asked me a few weeks ago to sing to a prison population during an in house revival, I was grateful for the opportunity. His facility houses over 300 inmates, 80 or so attend his weekly Bible study and worship hour, approximately one quarter of the population; men who found freedom from the opposite side of the bars. Many would likely say that that’s what it took to get them saved. They may or may not be grateful at this point but there will come a day when they will be.

It reminded me this morning of the story of Paul and Silas, who were imprisoned for sharing the gospel and yet rejoiced from within their dark and dank prison cell.

Acts 16:25

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

The inmates I’m singing to tonight were likely not imprisoned unjustly, but from inside their cells they’ve discovered the freedom of Christ Jesus our Lord.

My great friend and Chaplin has such a burden for the men he ministers to. Perhaps because he was one of those arrogant people that I referred to earlier. I speak not in disrespect, it’s his story to tell and he does. As a former police officer in the State of New York, he somehow made his way to Grantsville, West Virginia and retired. Something he’s not very good at, he’s done it several times since I’ve known him. But he speaks often of his inability to see past the crime committed by someone on his watch. They were unworthy of a second chance until he discovered how many chances the Lord had given him. And now he’s where he never dreamed he would be, doling out mercy on the inside of the prison rather than doling out justice on the outside.

Today, we’ll be teaming up. He’s ministering the gospel in Word and I’m ministering the gospel in song. I’m humbled to have the opportunity. If you have a minute or two, I’d appreciate prayer. Pray first for the salvation and encouragement of souls who attend tonight’s revival, pray the songs I sing will be chosen in the Spirit not the flesh and will prepare the hearts to hear the message, and last but not least, pray for our safety traveling. The prisons a few hours away and it will make for a late night returning home. I pray blessings for your day as well!

POW/MIA’s in the Family of God

Today is National POW/MIA Day; a day set aside to honor the Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. I cannot imagine the horrific pain that families goes through when it’s discovered that their loved one is unaccounted for in a battle zone and they are left without closure as their battle rages on long after the war is over. We need to pray for those families today. I have to wonder if God doesn’t feel the same way about those who are POW and MIA in the church.

The POW

If you don’t believe that the church is a battlefield then you’ve either not been in church or you’re in a dead one. Either way you need to get moving. A prisoner of war has been captured by the enemy in circumstances far beyond their control and held against their will. They’d rather be anywhere than where they are. Not to make light of the real POW’s but I’ve seen many sitting in the pews. They’re trapped in bad marriages, miserable jobs or other poor decisions and they don’t see any way out. Satan has them in darkness and a state of despair, and in truth, “out” is not usually the plan. God usually chooses to take you “through”. They’re not weak, they’re worn; the weak would have crumbled under the pressure. They’re not pitiful, they’re purposed. God has a plan for them and that’s why Satan attacked. In their heart they know there’s a light at the end of that dark tunnel but for right now, it’s nothing but black.

A prisoner of war on many occasions, literally and figuratively was King David. No one would call him weak, he killed a giant while an entire army cowered behind him. But mingled in with all his victories were several vexations. Some brought on by his own sin and at other times because he was doing what was right. We can’t always assume that when we’re in a hard place in our lives it’s because we’ve messed up. Sometimes (as was the case with Job) God is going to use others as a vehicle to move us into a new place. That new place may be the same place with a different vantage point. But God’s got a purpose.

3 steps from Victory.

Psalm 6:1-10

O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O Lord, how long? Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.  For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?  I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.  Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.  Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping.  The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer.  Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.

  1. Pray  – David was in such a state of vexation that his bones ached. Have you ever been there? I know I sure have. It’s that darkest hour when you feel like you’ve gone as far as you can go. The enemy has beat you down time and time again, but you know that’s it’s not over and you begin to…
  2. Lobby for the cause – God knows the end, He also knows your heart but sometimes I think He wants us to prove to ourselves how much it’s worth fighting for. We have to get to the point that we’re sick of listening to ourselves groan and looking at our surroundings and start making plans to get out.
  3. Know that God has heard – Once we’ve prayed and lobbied for our cause, we need to give the enemy their eviction notice and start living again.

Then we need to get our praise on!

What if you’re one of the MIA’s?

What if you’ve known God but you’ve walked out on Him? You’ve left the church and you’re not even sure where to go. You have to go back the way you came. Grace is amazing. If you don’t know God, then you may not understand grace at all. Grace is simply this… God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. He paid your sin debt and He has the gift of eternal life and a 24/7 phone card to Glory waiting for you, but you have to accept it, he won’t force it on you.

I hope if you’re in a dark hour, you’ll call on God. And call on me too, I’d be happy to pray for you. God bless!