I am an only child. Since childhood I have wanted a brother or sister. I’ve often thought how cool it would be to discover that I had a half-brother or half-sister somewhere on this planet. Well, it has recently dawned on me that I have indeed discovered numerous brothers and sisters!

I try to attend a weekly bible study at the local prison. The group consists of about 40 men from Level I. It is a different experience for me, having attended only a very few bible studies in my life. These men know Scripture, are eager to learn more, and seem to have a desire to really participate and grow from their experience. There is fellowship in this group. I have seen true caring for one another, as well as concern over world events. These men see hope at the end of their tunnels. They are looking forward to a future outside of prison. It appears to me that they have learned from, and grown, from their time behind the barbed wire.

Whenever one or more are scheduled to “ride out” for release or transfer, there is a laying on of hands, and prayers are said over each of them by the other inmates and volunteers. Recently there were three who were due to “ride out.” While I haven’t been attending for all that long, it was apparent that these men had been strong examples within the group. The impact they had had on fellow prisoners was evident by tears on the faces of many. One of them told me he considered this group to be his family because he didn’t have anyone else. I think he was the saddest to be leaving.

It just may be that I appreciate this weekly experience more than they do! There, I find men who want to worship together, who are not afraid to let others know that they care, or hurt, or are troubled. They are not embarrassed to speak up and say what they think, and they pray beautiful prayers spontaneously. I have been privileged to hear their testimonies, and to hear them quote Scripture from memory, ingrained deeply within many of them. They ask how volunteers’ concerns,situations, and needs have progressd. They care. It is an uplifting group of which I am proud to be a part.

I’m delighted to realize that the prayer I had for so many years has really been answered. I have been blessed with a bundle of brothers and sisters…and for that, I am and will be eternally grateful!

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The Prisoner's Prayer Book

Louise is author of The Prisoner's Prayer Book which evolved as she became a volunteer in prison ministry. Retired from a career in social services, Louise resides in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

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