Wanting to be back in jail
Published 9:48 am Sunday, April 18, 2021
BY DAWN REED
I’ve never wanted to go to jail so much in my life! Legally, of course. Stupid COVID shut down all Bible studies there like a steel trap.
So, last Sunday we stood outside praying-hands on the jail building, eyes closed. I had no words-only tears. It was a moment where I knew the “Spirit Himself would intercede for us with groans that words cannot express,” (Romans 8:26). I could only whisper “Please, Lord.”
Meanwhile, on the inside of the jail, the devil is having a field day. When you take out all the good, you are left with no good.
We want good things for the inmates, but God wants more. He yearns for all to come to Him, not so He can be the boss, but so He can save them and give them abundant life-even if they must remain incarcerated. Criminals do need to be punished, but that doesn’t mean their lives are over!
Right now, we are begging God to intervene in their situations, to penetrate the bricks and mortar straight to the hearts of every man and woman who are imprisoned there. While we can’t go in, He surely can! He’s been through the fiery furnace, the lion’s den, the Red Sea, and the desert. A little concrete and metal are no match for the God of the Bible!
For 10 years pre-pandemic, we enjoyed weekly studies with large groups and small. True tales from the Bible came alive as we applied them to life today, even if you’re incarcerated. (A men’s Bible study was just getting off the ground before Corona.)
Our ministry team has found that prisoners are often an unreached people group. While we taught the women about Jesus, we learned from them how hard life can be. Many of them were in desperate situations. Some inmates had never heard of Jesus. Others had known Him, gone to church and even church camp but ended up far away from His will. We want them to know that there’s hope! And that God STILL loves them ALL!
I had been immersed in Sunday School and Training Union from an early age. They had been steeped in the ways of drugs as early as age 10. Many have lost numerous family members to drug addiction. It’s difficult to break the cycle without a safe place to reside and a good support system.
As COVID terrorized our nation, jails and prisons eliminated visitors. Though we understand, we are heart-broken that we’re not able to connect with the women at our county jail. We see the newspapers and hear stories. All hell seems to be breaking loose inside! So we beseech our Heavenly Father to move. This day, we prayed for the male and female inmates, employees, and the jailer. I invite you to pray for a jail or prison near you. Write the name down. Put it on your fridge. Ask God to invade the building and do something only He can do!
While we were praying on Sunday, several people came through, stopping in their tracks when they saw us in what looked like the “frisk” position against the walls of the jail. “You can go in,” I called to each one. “We’re just out here praying.” Still confused, I finished with, “Somebody needs to be out here praying, don’t you think?” They did.
Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor’s wife. Reach her at email@example.com