Recently I had a piece published on Real Life Ministries’ Storytellers page. These are real life (no pun intended) stories dedicated to inspiration and outreach, what the church has been up to in people’s lives, and how you can join in.
Mine had to do with RLM’s involvement in worship and ministry services within the Idaho Correction Center located in Boise. Included in the piece are some of the actual prayer requests sent to RLM from the inmates themselves. Powerful and impactful, this is how you can make a difference in people’s lives, even those who seem beyond your (or anyone’s) reach.
“Pray for understanding as to why God has turned away from me and will not hear me or answer me. I am praying for Him to help me, but my life just gets worse. I feel hate from Him.”
The prayers of the hurting, the lost, the angry. Does this prayer sound familiar to you? If not, does it in any way hang a millstone around your conscience, weighing heavily, tugging on your desire to help, to love, to offer…
You may not even know what it is you’re drawn to do, but the conviction is heavy on your heart to connect with this person, somehow. How do you even begin to help someone with these types of questions; someone who
bears this load of oppression—even if self-inflicted; someone who dares utter aloud these types of doubts and more? What can you possibly say to them? How can you reach them, even if they seem beyond your reach?
“Please pray for the children and their families that I have caused so much hurt to. That God will restore them, and reunite them, and heal the damage I caused to all of them.”
Or maybe you don’t think they are beyond your reach? Honestly, I’m happy you feel that way. I’m glad for your availability and your willingness, and I praise God that you have this conviction; this desire to serve placed on your heart.
“Please pray for my loved ones…that God will care for them and heal them from the damage I caused them. And, that they will call to Christ.”
Perhaps I should also tell you, these people crying out with remorse, anger, forgiveness, and healing, also happen to be in prison.
“[I pray] for healing and comfort for my loved ones and myself. To create in me a clean heart so that I can become the man I am supposed to be. For my fiancé, that the pregnancy and birth goes well, and that god will continue to work in our lives. Praise the Lord!”
Does this revelation lighten that millstone, or weigh it further? Do you think, “Well, whatever they have done to end up there, obviously they must have deserved it”, or, “That’s not somewhere I feel comfortable placing myself or ministering in God’s name”, or, “I’m just not gifted in that area.” Or do you think, “I still feel the burden to help, I’m just not sure how,” or, “My heart aches for this person, how do I help? What do you need? What is the first step I can take toward this person?”
“Please pray that I can become a useful tool for God. That He will show me what my gifts are and how I can use them here to best serve Him. God bless you all.”
What if I tell you, now, that you’re already doing it; that the first steps have already been taken, the bridge has already been spanned?