Often in life, God redirects our paths using unexpected means. Robyn, a woman serving a prison sentence in California, knows this truth firsthand. God has used her prison time to build her faith more than she thought possible.
Robyn is a student in an intensive Christian leadership training program offered by Prison Fellowship at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla. During her training, Robyn felt the Lord prompting her to start a prayer box that other women could use to submit their prayer requests.
With approval from the prison staff, Robyn and a few other program participants created a beautifully decorated prayer box and placed it in an area where fellow prisoners could access it.
Robyn sat back and waited. She had designated Tuesday afternoons as the time she would open the box and pray over any new requests. But each week, she was disappointed. Inside sat one lonely, handwritten request—her own.
Undeterred, Robyn started going down the hallways of the prison with little slips of paper, asking the other ladies if they had any prayer requests. To her surprise, by the time she had gone down every hallway, her little box was full.
After a month of carrying the prayer burdens of a whole prison, Robyn began to grow weary. She didn’t want to continue. But the Lord spoke to her and told her to not only ask for prayer requests, but for reports of answered prayers as well.
Robyn set off down the hallways again.
Before she had gone far, a woman stopped her and said she had turned in a prayer request the first day and felt she needed to share the answer: God had healed her friend of cancer. That day, many other women shared about their answered prayers as well—family members had found Christ, addictions had been taken away, and estranged family members finally corresponded after years of silence.
The prayer box has become an important part of Robyn’s life. She sees expectant faces waiting at the doors and often hears, “Don’t forget my room!” The chance to ask for prayer and share encouragement has brought hope to a dismal place, and the answers to those prayers have caused prisoners’ faith to increase.
“Since this humble beginning,” Robin says, “… many have given their lives to Christ. Families have been reunited, and multiple family members, including my sisters, have been healed. … I personally know of three other prayer boxes started here at CCWF, and the women are seeing the same deliverance. Each Sunday from 9 am to 11 am, [participants in the Prison Fellowship program] meet to intercede on behalf of the women and pray about what God places on their hearts. ”
The Spirit of God is active in prisons across the country. Prison Fellowship offers programs like the one in Robyn’s facility to provide hope and encouragement for men and women behind bars, and to empower them to be the hands and feet of Christ to their fellow prisoners. To learn more about what Prison Fellowship is doing to serve the incarcerated, click here. And if you are interested in being a part of in-prison ministry where you live, visit https://www.prisonfellowship.org/action.