Sharing God's Love in Jail
Although Paul would likely have preferred freedom to his jail cell, God used Paul’s time in prison to spread His Word. Paul wrote four epistles while imprisoned and used his unique perspective to witness in ways he could not have if he had been free. In a similar way, God has used Cindy, an inmate at the Shasta County Jail in Redding, California, to witness to her fellow inmates.
In February 2017, Cindy enrolled in the Christian Library International Bible study program and began to work through the Christian Leadership Bible study. Lesson Eight gives students assignments that encourage them to positively influence the attitudes and actions of others for Jesus Christ.
For a week, Cindy kept notes on how she was influencing her fellow inmates. She witnessed to and prayed with many women, including those who did not like her, those with different belief systems, and those who were angry and violent—toward others and themselves.
On her first day, Cindy prayed with another inmate who felt animosity toward her. The women cried together, and Cindy explained that God is able to carry the woman’s burdens.
On the second day, Cindy sat down with a woman who worshipped Satan to discuss their differences. Cindy listened as the woman explained how bad life circumstances had led her down a difficult path, and she told Cindy she felt like it was too late for her to change. Cindy prayed that the woman would see God’s love in her life and now has a Bible study with the woman each day. She wrote that the woman is less angry now.
On her third day, Cindy talked with a woman who had been in jail before and was always angry.
“I sat with her and talked with her about how we’ve all been there but there’s a light at the end of this tunnel,” Cindy wrote. “God loves her, and it’s because of that she’s here right now. I told her that even through this rough time, I love her because Jesus loves her and I’ll be there for her always if I’m able.”
On the fourth day, a woman approached Cindy and asked her how God could love her after everything she’s done.
“I told her no matter the ‘size’ of your sin, God loves us and I love her,” Cindy wrote. “We prayed, and she left with fewer burdens than [when] she came in.”
On the fifth day, Cindy wrote that she needed God to influence her. She snapped at a woman she was angry with. But as she read the Bible verses for the day, she realized that if God is willing to forgive us, she must forgive the woman she was upset with.
On the sixth day, Cindy comforted a woman going through postpartum depression. She was upset that she was unable to be with her first baby, suicidal and hating God. Cindy prayed for the woman and asked God to help her share His love with the woman.
On the last day of the week, Cindy gathered a group of inmates together to pray for their loved ones and themselves. Cindy ended the prayer by asking God to help them love one another. She felt God answer her prayer when tension and anger left the room.
“Without loving myself, I can’t spread God’s love,” Cindy wrote in reflecting on her week. “I’m empty without love, and when I realized this, I prayed for help… now I want to spread it to others.”
Join us in praying for the thousands of inmates like Cindy who have taken or are taking the CLI Bible Study. Pray from them to be empowered to share God’s love during their time in prison. If you feel that you have a talent for encouraging others, consider become a CLI Bible Minister and share God’s love with inmates.