Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
I have a friend (whom I’ll call Jack) who is involved in prison ministry but not as a Gideon. There was a young man (whom I’ll call Arlen) who was distraught about transitioning out of prison and broke down in a study Jack was leading at a county jail. I’ll let him tell the story about what happened during the next two weeks.
“I was a bit disheartened the next week when 11 guys showed up but Arlen wasn’t one of them. I had the whole group pray intently for him right there in that moment and then asked the guys to keep praying for him throughout the upcoming week, and again we lifted him up in prayer in the end. And I asked others outside of the prison to pray for Arlen.
“I had played out in my mind how Arlen might come to the group the next week and have a hopeful story about how maybe he was told how to start a paperwork process for applying to Adult/Teen challenge or other transition. I must confess, I forgot to consider the outcome where, in direct answer to prayer, the Lord doesn’t just open the door a crack waiting for us to stumble into the door handle, but rather he kicks the door down and throws us right through it!
“When Arlen didn’t show up a week later, rather than ask the group anything, we just moved into the study. At the end, when I asked if anyone had prayer requests, a prisoner (whom I’ll call Morris) perked up and said, ‘Well, not a request, but remember that guy Arlen we prayed for last week?’
“Trying to cover now my embarrassment for not being the guy to ask, I answered, ‘Oh yes, of course, I’ve been thinking about him this week, and was hoping he’d be here.’
“Morris replied, ‘Well we did all pray for the guy to find some transition path out of here didn’t we?’
“I said, ‘Yeah.’
“Morris continued, ‘He got transferred back to his own county because they decided only there would he have a good transition program, and they could get him expedited into it immediately, before his court dates and stuff. He was thrilled!’
“I was astounded. ‘Wow, when did that happen?’
“Morris exclaimed with excitement, ‘The very next morning (Friday) after we prayed for him!’
“Amen,” I said, “Anyone think that was an answer to prayer? (A few heads kind of nodded in consideration)
“Morris replied, ‘I KNOW IT WAS!’”