Prayer meeting in Prison

Another inspiring reflection from our continuing revival and reformation series.

Jed Genson is pastor of the Sault Ste. Marie, Manistique, and McMillan churches in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, United States

Last month I went to prison. Actually, I have been going fairly often since one of my congregations conducts prison ministry in the correctional facility in town.

One day, I asked the men at our prison prayer meeting about their Christian walk. They began to give theological answers but said nothing of their experience with Christ. They shared stories of disagreements with other denominational groups and wanted to know how they could defend their beliefs. It became clear why these men were in prison. They had a knowledge of the Bible but not a living, transforming experience with Jesus. These individuals professed Christ before they broke the law and were incarcerated. One young man in the group recently died after a series of drug overdoses. He professed to be a Christian but was out of control.

Unfortunately, we find this problem in churches also. Pastors regularly experience difficult people. Some profess to believe God’s Word, but when they were baptized, they were “buried alive.” Self did not die, and they were not born again (John 5:39, 40). We may be actively searching the Scriptures but still fail to gain eternal life because we never really came to Christ!

“Listen,” I told the group, “it’s not your job to go around telling others that they are wrong. Your first job is to spend time with Jesus Christ.” I strongly encouraged them to take at least an hour each day to draw close to God through the Scriptures and prayer.

The next time I saw these men, it was like they were different people. Their faces were lit up with smiles and happiness. They had taken the advice seriously and were spending regular time with Jesus!

As pastors, we are called not only to share the fundamental teachings of Scripture but also to teach others to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16) and to demonstrate what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Strive to include the importance of personally knowing Christ and the experience of practical Christian living in every sermon. Share stories of how God has given you the victory over sin in your life. Pray the prayer of David: 

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,

And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,

And sinners shall be converted to You” (Ps. 51:12, 13, NKJV).

—Jed Genson is pastor of the Sault Ste. Marie, Manistique, and McMillan churches in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, United States

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

Jed Genson is pastor of the Sault Ste. Marie, Manistique, and McMillan churches in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, United States

March 2018

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Letters to the Editor

Our readers respond to our articles.

Cracking the Cornelius code—part 1

Warning: This article may crush the customs that you cherish and thwart the traditions that you treasure.

Leading simply: Jesus’ third manifestation during uncertain times

Reach that place with Jesus where the quality of your communion is more satisfying than the quantity of your catch.

The Holy Nudge1

Is that impression from God, self, or the devil? If you have ever been in a quandary with regard to God’s will, this article is for you.

Game changers: Five transformative truths every pastor needs to know

How can pastors have successful relationships not only in their homes but also in their churches?

To lead is to serve: An interview with Dr. Josmar Arrais1

This leadership professional shares that success is not found in status or salary, neither in position or power. Where is it found?

Crossing boundaries: The universality of God’s mission

Are we reflecting God’s heart in our mission for the world? Cultural exclusion or Biblical inclusion is the crossroads that challenges the church today.

Old Testament Law for Christians: Original Context and Enduring Application

What can contemporary Christians learn from the divine wisdom in Old Testament law?

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - NAD Stewardship (160x600)