Why Prison Ministry?

healing, oil

Brittany Holberg

Texas Women's Death Row

When I was first asked to write this article I immediately began asking the Lord to give me a way, the words, to convey to each of you that are thinking of, or are already willing, to come into a prison and share the love of Christ how crucial and soul saving I believe your work is. Often when people think of or talk about prison ministry comments are made of how kind it is that people are willing to donate their time to such a cause… but I need all of you to know it is so much more than kind or generous. What each of you do is so much more than that.

In the various branches of our military, as well as in rescue work, there is a saying we have all heard used often, “No man left behind.” Meaning no matter the battlefield, no matter the injury, no one is left behind. Prison ministry is not so different. You have a battlefield every time you step through another prison gate. Your injured may not show their wounds visibly but they are just as serious, if not more. They are not just life threatening but eternal threatening and your words may mean the difference between life and death in the spiritual sense. Most people inside of these walls have experienced a brokenness that no doctor can repair… but each of you can. You speak life, true life, into them each time you share about Jesus. You help them realize that God’s promises are for all, and in Him they have a future and a hope to hold onto. You show them something no one may have ever shown them.. true love. The love of Christ Jesus.

I know that it may be hard to comprehend how something you say or do could possibly have so much power. How it could literally change someone’s life but I am proof that it does and I am only one. One small voice for the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of lives that have been completely transformed because of individuals just like you who are willing to walk inside of places like the one I am in and tell me Jesus loves me. Not that he will love me once I have picked up the pieces of my life… but right here in the brokenness He loves me and he will take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it for good. There is a concept that people in prison do not know God and although I am sure that is true for many, there are just as many who do. As hard as it is for some to understand it is the ones who know exactly who God is that feel the most hopeless.

The Psalms are filled with the words of King David, a man after God’s own heart. Because of his intimate knowledge of the Lord he was even more aware of his shortcomings and sins. It is the same for your brothers and sisters inside these walls. Their lives, the choices they have made, have broken them and the enemy is feasting on what is left. Constantly reminding them of all of their shortcomings and sins. All of the ways they have fallen. Dragging them deeper and deeper into a dark pit of despair. You are their light. You bring them hope.

In the same way a doctor helps the sick you are helping those inside who have lost all hope that anyone, much less God, cares what will happen to them. A sickness is a disordered, weakened, or unsound condition. Doctors treat physical sicknesses while each and every one of you treat spiritual ones. Jesus’ own words in Matthew 9:12-13 were, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor– sick people do. He went on to say, “Now go and learn the meaning of this scripture, I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not on those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Each time you walk inside of these walls you are showing His mercy and sharing His love with those who are suffering in ways no one may ever see. Those in desperate need of healing. Those who have lost all hope. If the Lord has put it on your heart to get involved with prison ministry please listen. He has given you a mighty calling. A calling to be a doctor, a soldier, a rescue worker for the King. He wants to use you to be His vessel of light, of healing, of hope. You may not be able to change the circumstances for the people you encounter but you can teach them that with God there is nothing they cannot endure and grow in. No place they cannot bloom. There is no place He can not reach them. You will be their proof that He will meet them right where they are and He will never leave them or forsake them, no matter what the world has told them. I know… He came to me curled up in a ball on a cement floor, completely and utterly broken, and each time I look into the eyes of one of His disciples who walks through these doors I am reminded, “You are loved.” Forever in His Debt.

The above reflection was written by Brittany Holberg, who is an inmate on Texas Women’s Death Row.

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