I’ve been a Stonecroft speaker for the past few years. Stonecroft is an organization that holds women’s luncheons all over the country, in an effort to draw people to Christ. Speakers like myself come in and share their testimony, in the hopes that someone might accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. It’s a great vehicle for reaching those who need hope.
This week, I’m speaking to two groups in Lafayette and Alexandria, Louisiana but there’s a twist. Upon extending the invitation to speak, the Lafayette group leader said, “Lisa, you need to know that we are exclusively in the prisons now. You’ll be sharing your story in a women’s medium security prison.”
At one time in my life, I would have been afraid to step foot in a prison, but recently God has given me a desire to speak to those who are incarcerated. I think He knew what was coming and made it a desire of my heart. I feel like my story of growing up fatherless with a mentally ill mother might resonate with those behind bars. I’ve also realized the only reason I didn’t end up in jail in college is because I was lucky. I remember driving while intoxicated numerous times, something I am not proud of. Who am I to judge?
God’s love is universal and crosses boundaries.
Our heavenly Father cares about those who are free as well as those who are captive, both physically and emotionally. Psalm 69:33 says, “The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people.” So if God doesn’t despise those who are jailed, we shouldn’t either.
One of the most convicting passages in the Bible is found in Matthew 25. It was there that Jesus talked about his return and how people will be separated from one another like a shepherd separates the sheep and the goats. In that passage the King of Kings said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” The people basically responded, “When did we do that?” Then Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Tonight as I venture behind bars for the first time, I am praying for a special anointing on my message to the prisoners. I pray that despite the bars around them, many women will be set free, both spiritually and emotionally. I’m just a willing vessel. There is only one who can provide that type of freedom, and that’s Jesus Christ.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners (Isaiah 61:1).