October 24, 2015

Here is an entry from my journal dated January 18, 2015.

Today was life changing: we went in to the Huntsville prison to minister to 65 believers. A man named Charlie started a Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry a couple of years ago that is rocking this maximum security prison.

We arrived at the unwelcome sight of the prison: the old red brick walls stood high above us, lined on top with twisted barbed wire. Guard towers, erected on the four corners of the giant walls manned with security guards carrying high-powered rifles, greeted us.

We parked a short distance from the fortress and made our way on foot to a large steel gate situated between two guard towers. The huge gate creaked in resistance as two stoned-faced guards forced it open against its will.

Once inside we were each searched in a small cell limited to 5 people at a time. Our valuables removed, we enter two more steel barred holding cells that seem to echo with a kind of hollow emptiness. A deep sense of hopelessness stalked us like a thick, black mist as we made our way though the iron-barred corridor. The smell of damp, musty, mildew walls filled our senses, which seemed to dare us to continue.

We rounded the corner and then climbed three flights of stairs lined with faded, chipped stucco walls desperately in need of paint.

Our footsteps echoed though the abandoned staircase, warning of our approach as we finally reached our destination.

Directly ahead I spied a gathering of several men dressed in white sweats. They were lost in worship led by three men, one playing a guitar and the others singing in beautiful harmony. The whole scene transcended their existence and defiantly shined against the backdrop of their present darkness.

One of their own caught a glimpse of us braving the stairs and motioned for me to come to the front. I made my way through the crowd of men and before I could be introduced, they began to clap and cheer. They had been watching me on the training videos and reading my books for two years, so they recognized me immediately.

My heart was swirling with emotion; I had been welcomed many times by larger crowds, but this was different. These weren’t fans, these were sons, gratefully expressing their gratitude for a father’s investment in their lives.

Within minutes, the prison walls faded away and the difference in our attire, which for a brief moment seem to identify us, suddenly refused to separate us as we, together, worshiped our King.

I shared for a long time the things that I had been contemplating for these men for months. Then our team came to the front and called out the gold in their hearts.

But what happened next rocked me to my core. The men began to get up and share testimonies of the transformation taking place in them through the supernatural school. Most of these guys were lifers, who had already served 12 to 40 years. I found myself in the midst of their stories, suddenly realizing that the only difference between these brothers and me was their prison walls.

I came to understand today that you can lock men behind bars, but nobody has the power to imprison the souls of men.

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