Jesus is the original chain breaker. Freedom’s high on his agenda. So, that changes how we look at those stuck in physical captivity. How can you help those in a local prison? These are people who are often given up on. Can you extend hope to them – those furthest from most people’s kindness list?
Choose how you’ll complete today’s act:
There are broken people behind bars today that need your prayers. From a place of gratitude and love spend time praying for those in a physical prison. Why not sign up for weekly ‘Pray with Us’ prayer emails with Prison Hope throughout 2018?
Take a little time to search for prison ministries and get in touch to ask if there is something you could do to help. Perhaps you could commit to writing an encouraging letter to someone in prison regularly? Take a look at Prison Fellowship’s letter writing scheme.
How about asking the Lord to open a door for you to share your faith in local prisons? Contact your local prison chaplain and offer to pray for them. Offer yourself in service and speak to your pastor about starting a prison ministry. Take a look at Escape Ministries (founded by today’s writer, John Lawson) to find out how you could become better equipped for this type of ministry.
“[It is the Lord] who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners.”
(Psalm 146:7 NLT)
Your thought for today:
‘You don’t have to be behind bars to be in prison’ has become my tag line when I get invited to share my testimony.
I’ve just been on mission to South Africa where I shared my testimony and the gospel in the notorious Pollsmoor Prison, a place so dark that Ross Kemp in his ‘Gangs’ documentary said, ‘It’s the only place that still gives me nightmares.’
It is such a humbling experience to step inside a cell crammed to the rafters with gang members, all of them in for murder, and yet hear them weeping at the end of the meeting during prayers.
It was while I was behind bars – serving five years for extortion – that Jesus reached into the depravity of my life and set me free. My mum had become a Christian around 15 years earlier and I thought she had gone mad with her new so-called faith. She prayed for me for all those years and at times it seemed like her prayers weren’t answered; in fact it seemed that the more she prayed, the worse I became.
When I went to prison, she prayed for God to send people who would lead me to Him. The first person was a Nigerian prisoner who convinced me to go to a Bible study. I only agreed because I heard they had good coffee and biscuits.
The second was a pastor from a local town who visited every Thursday for years bringing the good news of the gospel to prisoners. He shared the gospel with me; I repented and surrendered my life to Christ. I felt free behind bars.
When I moved to an open prison, God didn’t stop answering my mum’s prayers: there was the lady who ran Prison Alpha, a Salvation Army Major and others who encouraged me in my new faith.
All those people helped to transform my life. Since being released from prison in 2007, by His grace I’ve travelled to over 25 countries sharing the gospel with some of the toughest prisoners on the planet, as well as with schools, colleges, churches and communities, and all of this by faith.
Whatever your situation you can still respond to His call and be the person that someone is waiting to hear from. You can pray, volunteer or partner with others waiting to be sent into those dark places bringing the light of life.
Written by John Lawson
John Lawson is a former: violent criminal, manager of London’s largest brothel, member of a biker gang, bouncer and bodyguard to the rich and famous before working as an enforcer for gangsters. It was whilst serving five years for extortion that John surrendered his life to Christ. Since 2007 John has been in full-time faith-based ministry and has shared the gospel in over 25 countries. He is director of Escape Ministries with a focus on reaching the lost with the gospel and training Christians to share their faith. He is also the author of If A Wicked Man, which reaches those who wouldn’t normally pick up a Christian book. He lives in East Sussex with his wife, Carolyn, and their children.
Watch Caroline’s 40acts story as inspiration for today’s challenge!
Could you become a letter writer?