I want to begin this post by sharing that the impetus for it was provided by Jan. We had a conversation after a meeting last Saturday and she shared some thoughts and asked some questions that got me thinking.
As I have had the opportunity to minister to the inmates at Story County Jail for a little over a year, I find myself always wanting to leave them with the knowledge and understanding of the love that God has for them. Because of their life experience(s) many have not had this communicated to them. As I have listened to the Holy Spirit, I have realized that this is a message that cannot be emphasized too much. I can recall several times when I was delivering a sermon and I underscored the truth in this message emphatically. It is something I have come to realize more even as I have conveyed it to others.
Another thing that I have come to realize is that many inmates are dealing with the manifestations of life issues that have a spiritual genesis. I recall one particular time when I was ministering to a group of women and, as I usually do at the end of the service, I asked for prayer requests. One of the women present presented a request for another woman who was present at the time. In order to be respectful and also direct my prayer, I asked the woman who the request was being offered for if there was anything specific she wanted prayer for. She declined to offer any specifics, but as I was praying I had a strong urging from the Holy Spirit to pray in tongues. As I was praying for her specifically, she began to openly weep. I didn’t know what the issue was, but even as I was riding home I felt the need to continue to pray for her. I even encouraged Liz who was giving me a ride home to pray with me. We continued to pray until I felt a release from the Holy Spirit, but this incident created in me a stronger desire to see people freed from the strongholds of the enemy and walk in the freedom that Christ purchased on the cross.
One of the greatest causes for joy is to see inmates released. Their have been several people that I have had the opportunity to meet with and minister to inside and outside of the jail. There is one particular person who has been housed at the jail that has served as an inspiration for the work that I, and many others, are doing. I cannot mention his name, but he has shared the work that God is doing in his life. He is also having the opportunity to live out his life with Christ by sharing the work that God is doing in him with his fellow inmates. He always encourages others to come with him to the services. He even shared an incident he had with another inmate where God called him to realize the need to apologize for something he said and done. I am always overjoyed and delighted to see the fruit of good works that comes from people when Christ is the center of their life.
In closing, I invite you to pray with me for the ministry work that is going on in the Story County Jail. I also want to offer a thank you to Pastor Knight who recently stepped down as chaplain of the Story County Jail. For all the work you and fellow ministers have done and continue to do, Thank YOU!