Prayer Meeting in Prison
Last month I went to prison. Actually, I have been going fairly often since one of my congregations conducts prison ministry in the correctional facility in town.
One day, I asked the men at our prison prayer meeting about their Christian walk. They gave some theological answers but said nothing of their experience with Christ. They shared stories of disagreements with other denominational groups and wanted to know how they could defend their beliefs. It became clear why these men were in prison. They had a knowledge of the Bible but not a living, transforming experience with Jesus. These individuals professed Christ before they broke the law and were incarcerated.
Unfortunately, we find this problem in churches also. Pastors regularly experience difficult people. Some profess to believe God’s Word, but when they were baptized, they were “buried alive.” Self did not die, and they were not born again (John 5:39, 40). We may be actively searching the Scriptures but still fail to gain eternal life because we never really know Christ!
“Listen,” I told the group, “it’s not your job to go around telling others that they are wrong. Your first job is to spend time with Jesus Christ.” I strongly encouraged them to take at least an hour each day to draw close to God through the Scriptures and prayer.
The next time I saw the men, it was like they were different people. Their faces were lit up with smiles and happiness. They had taken the advice seriously and were spending regular time with Jesus!
As Christians, we are called not only to share the fundamental teachings of Scripture but also to teach others to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16) and to demonstrate what it means to be a disciple of Christ. When you witness to others, strive to include the importance of personally knowing Christ and the experience of practical Christian living. Share stories of how God has given you the victory over sin in your life. Pray the prayer of David:
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You” (Ps. 51:12,13, NKJV).
Jed Genson is a retired pastor living in Central Washington, United States. He served a three-church district in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at the time of this testimony.
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World Church Prayer Requests
March 8 – 15, 2020
• PRAYER REQUEST: Elder Wilson has issued a special urgent call to prayer for the world-wide Church because of the Coronavirus outbreak. Please read his appeal here! https://www.adventistreview.org/church-news/story1...
• PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray for God’s people all around the world as the Coronavirus continues to spread. Pray that God would honor Psalm 91:7 and put a hedge of protection around His children and give peace in the midst of the storm.
• PRAYER REQUEST: Continue to pray especially for our church members in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, where the Coronavirus originated. Pray that God would take care of His children and provide for their needs spiritually and physically during this great crisis.
• PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray for the upcoming Global Youth Day, March 21, 2020. The focus is on “Refugees, Homeless, and Strangers” and the theme is “iCare.” Pray for young people all around the world to be involved, to “Be the Sermon,” and for many lives to be changed for God’s glory. To learn more, visit: https://youth.adventist.org/gyd
• PRAYER REQUEST: Please continue to pray earnestly for the Total Member Involvement event scheduled for Papua New Guinea in May 2020. Please pray for all of the logistical details that are being arranged.
• PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray for the AWR 360 Health event that is supposed to occur in preparation for the Papua New Guinea evangelism. Pray that details will come together, and that many people will be reached for God’s glory.
• PRAYER REQUEST: Please pray for church members in Japan who are making plans for outreach at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Pray that God would prepare the hearts of those competing in and attending the games, that they would discover that God has called us to run an even more significant race—not for a gold medal, but for an eternal reward.