22Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “ The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“ Therefore I hope in Him!”
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
Idaho State Correctional Institution
I entered ISCI today wondering what I would find. The last time I went to the prison was in December of 2009. I was accompanied by Dick Engelhardt and Daniel Harder and we played Christmas carols galore. This time around it was just Dick and me (Daniel had to work tonight).
We walked through security and across the common area between the main buildings and all was quiet. They had yet to call “movement” so all of the prisoners were inside their various buildings. We entered the Chapel and were greeted by two prisoners who regularly run sound for Dick’s Bible studies he has on Mondays. They are also part of a worship band that plays for Dick’s service. We were sound checked with plenty of time before the 7 pm call that would bring in the first set of guys. The call was late so our first session was cut fifteen minutes short, but we had a blast.
I played quite a few worship songs, but the one that seemed to be the theme of the night (they asked me to play it in the second session even though quite a few of the people had already heard it) was “Revelation Song” by Jennie Lee Riddle. A guy came up to me afterward and said that he was debating coming tonight, but did anyway. During that song he made the decision to stop hanging out with the gang he normally hangs with…because they aren’t a good influence in his life! Amazing. There were the few dissenters that only came to be able to talk to their neighbors or, I’m sure, for something to do. But it the majority of guys there were listening and engaged.
I was praying for the Lord to touch them and soften their hearts. There were a few people that I felt drawn toward. When this happens I pray even harder for those people. This time around, one of them was a young man who seemed not to be paying attention much at all. When he was watching he had his arms crossed and looked closed. After the first and second sessions (he stayed for both) he came up to thank me for coming and compliment me.
I was overwhelmed by the encouragement I received from these men. I don’t know their backgrounds and I didn’t ask, but the genuine joy that was experienced tonight was so incredibly worth the time I spent there. I planned my day for it and had my songs picked out. I ended up doing some of them off the cuff, but it worked out.
I have been praying for these men ever since I left and I keep doing so even as I type this. What a wonderful opportunity to bring Christ’s light into a place that can be hopeless and dreary. I am still energized by the experience.
Please join me in prayer for the following men:
- The young man who was going to quit his gang, that the Lord would protect him and strengthen his resolve to stick with his decision. That the Lord would give him awesome quiet times of meditation on His Word.
- For the young man who was imprisoned as a young teen and won’t be eligible for parole until 2015. Pray that the Lord would help him see the Lord’s will in his life and that he would find peace in the center of it. Pray also that he would devour the Lord’s Word in the time he has before his parole hearings, that he would see the time as a blessing.
- Please pray for the worship team and support volunteer prisoners, that the Lord would make them lights in the darkness of that place. That they would be protected and that they would grow closer to the Lord.
- For the men who came and put on a show that they were disinterested but were really touched inside. Pray that the Lord would break through their defenses and be able to speak to their hearts.
- For the staff at the prison, that they would be blessed during their work. That the Christian staff would be able to share their faith with the prisoners as the Lord leads.
There are so many other things, but the Lord knows them. Please lift up these men, some of them brothers in the Lord, and seek His face on their behalf. There are so many opportunities to share with them and I can’t help but feel that this is another area where the fields are ripe for harvest, yet the laborers are few.
I’m working with Dick to schedule a few more times for me to come out to ISCI. I’m also hoping to bring my family in with me in December to do some Christmas music.
I am blessed. Thanks for reading, and moreover, for praying!