Friday, January 13, 2006

"Holy Hit List, Batman"

Fellowship is rather difficult to establish in a jail setting, as you might imagine. Not only do the men deal with trust issues, but there is also a high turnover rate. Just when you're starting to connect with someone, he (or you) gets released, relocated to another jail, or sent upstate.

There were only three guys at the table for Bible study when I went in yesterday. "Pete and Sam have both been released," they said. "Tony hasn't sat with us in a while."

Misunderstandings can quickly lead to breakdowns in communication. That's no different than life on the outside. In fact, the more time I spend in the jail, the more I realize that people behind bars are no different than those of us who have never spent time incarcerated. We have the same hang-ups, habits, fears, sins, weaknesses, addictions, insecurities--and potential to be used by God if we surrender to His purposes for our lives.

I don't usually share heavy prayer requests with guys in jail. Not for lack of trust, but because I genuinely don't think about it. Yesterday was different. Steve is a young man who is somewhat quiet, but very perceptive. "Is something bothering you, Pastor Brian? You don't look yourself." "Yeah, there is, actually," I answered him. I told the guys some of the things that had been weighing on me. I asked them to pray for me. It was good for all of us. I got free prayer (which I never turn down!), and they got a chance to practice praying. A lot of the guys are new in the faith and feel uncomfortable praying out loud in front of others. But they always do a great job, and I was blessed by their prayers.

We all went around sharing prayer requests and talking about the Scriptures. They were feeling discouraged because the number of men at the table had shrunk.

"Have you ever prayed specifically for men to join the group?" I asked them.

"I pray every night in my room," David said.

"How about all together?"

"No, we haven't."

On Sunday at the church I pastor, I'm going to be talking about the value of praying as a group for people to get saved.

"Who's on your 'hit list' to get saved, Corey?" I asked.

"Actually, there's a guy they call 'Q' who walks by the table every day. Sometimes I catch him looking over here, like he wants to join us. But something stops him."

"I've noticed that guy, too," said Steve. "I think he's interested, but he might be afraid."

I suggested we all pray specifically that 'Q' would come to the table and that he would get saved. When the last man at the table prayed for 'Q,' I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in our group. It seemed to me sign that God had heard our prayers. Will you add your prayers for Q's salvation? I'll keep you updated.


Anonymous Yannick said...

I most certainly will.

God Bless.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Rowdy said...

I will also keep him in our prayers. God Bless!!

8:57 PM  

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