It was like a prison from a Hollywood film set: thick limestone walls pocked with small windows; dark, oppressive cells; and narrow corridors full of musty, unmoving air …
As I passed through many layers of security and entered the cell block, I could feel the oppression of hopelessness surrounding me. But in the heart of all that darkness, a light was shining. I went through a door into a simple chapel, where 60 men were worshiping Jesus. Their voices were deafening as they smiled, clapped, and sang. The setting was still dark, but it was brightened by the joy these men had deep in their souls.
Were these men joyful because of impending freedom? No, most were facing decades more behind bars. Their joy came from the Good News: God’s gift of salvation in Christ. Their happiness burst forth because they had allowed God to be in control and trusted in His great love. Through them, God is changing the prison!
I always leave prison visits like these feeling encouraged and humbled. Prisoners teach me how to rejoice always. They show me what simple faith is – faith that moves mountains.
I am always anxious to go back “inside” to worship with my brothers and sisters in prison, because there I can see Jesus and meet Him face to face. He is true joy. He is true freedom.
Will you join us behind bars, too? I promise – you don’t know what you’re missing! Learn how at prisonfellowship.org/get-involved.