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ProjectPeter
Jan 10th 2009, 03:39 PM
How often do you visit those in prison?

It isn't an easy thing to do now days. The laws have made it very complicated truth be told. But then we aren't confined to actually having to phsyically go down to the nearest prison and fight through the bureaucratic red tape only to find it an exercise in futility... we can spend a few dollars and purchase stamps and send them mail. Talk to a prisoner in jail and you will find that mail call is much like it is in the military... one of the highlights of a normally nasty day. So... question is out there... how often do we contact those in prison?

Bethany67
Jan 10th 2009, 03:42 PM
I did correspond with one lad in prison in another part of the UK, as did others, and he became a Christian while there which was fantastic. I've never done visiting though.

diffangle
Jan 10th 2009, 03:50 PM
How do you find out who to send a letter to? Is there a open list of prisoners names somewhere and do you flip a coin on who to send a letter to?

tt1106
Jan 10th 2009, 04:03 PM
I love the prison ministry. :pp
One of the best experiences of my life has been spending three days with hopeless men. ALL of whom feel as if what they've done can never be forgiven. This could be Driving drunk or murder. ALL of them have been convinced that the blood of Christ will never wash them clean. Oh what a day when they wake up from their sleeping and accept the gift of salvation.
I have been very blessed being with these men. I look forward to another opportunity to serve the Lord behind bars.

ProjectPeter
Jan 10th 2009, 04:07 PM
How do you find out who to send a letter to? Is there a open list of prisoners names somewhere and do you flip a coin on who to send a letter to?
Most times... you can contact the prison chaplain. Females can mail females and males males and that is generally best. But the chaplains will put you into contact with one of the Christian inmates that hasn't a lot of contact with someone outside... someone that needs the fellowship and encouragement etc. If you can't find someone that way... shoot me a PM and I will get you someone that could use the encouragement.

matthew7and1
Jan 10th 2009, 10:28 PM
I think the prison ministry is great, but not for me. I have known far too many people who could not accept the hurt that they inflicted on others by going to prison and almost seem self righteous about it. Before this, I did do some small amount of ministry. I am not angry at the people in my experiences and I do not doubt that God can turn anyone's life aroud, I just have come to see that it's not something I am gifted at. I am nearly incapable of empathy and become too much involved in peoples lives to be any help to them....
So I think it's good, and I'll pray for those incarcerated, but I am not inclined to visit them or otherwise correspond with prisoners.

moonglow
Jan 10th 2009, 11:15 PM
I don't know if my ex would be counted in this since he is in prison and I rarely write him...don't really want too! But I have tried to encourage him to turn to the Lord and sent little Christian booklets. And I have prayed for him.

To be honest prison and jails terrify me being a female I really don't want to go there...second, I have heard too many stories of people being conned by them saying they have changed or are believers and things end badly. People starting out doing this and get so attached they marry the person in prison who will be their for years and years and years...I guess I have watched too many prison documentaries showing both males and females in prison....now if my memory serve me right, there is a website for Christians jailed in other countries that people can write too. Though I am not sure how they let them get mail...:hmm: I should find out.

God bless

SeattleSun
Jan 11th 2009, 04:11 AM
Was Jesus speaking of criminals or was He speaking of people who the Pharisees had locked up because of their own warped views? Was He prophecying of His saints and apostles? Paul had many visitors.

I didn't vote, that's a special calling. And one that needs much discernment as Charles Colson warns.

Neat theme today though! I thank you PP for the prompt of self-examination.

SIG
Jan 11th 2009, 04:39 AM
I correspond with some who I met in prison while I myself was an inmate. I als take phone calls and occasionally send funds.

The jails and prisons are a rich mission field--but as always, walk circumspectly.

JesusMySavior
Jan 12th 2009, 06:19 PM
There's always such a hunger in those places for healing and guidance. It's a blessed thing when a man becomes broken before God from his sins and accepts the Lord into his heart with all purity and obedience.

Some say they may not be fit for visiting people in prisons, but God said we are to visit the orphans and the widowed and the poor, which I believe counts as prisons...but I realize some are not ready for that yet - and God must get you there in His timing.

My next hurdle is hospitals. Oh how I want to visit the hospitals but I don't know how they do that there. Do you have to know the person? Any ideas? (Not to hijack the thread, just curious)

reformedct
Jan 12th 2009, 06:56 PM
Also wanted to point out that feeding the poor, visiting the prisons, are especially refferrring to visiting the body of Christ. We should especially be concerened with other BELIEVERS in jails, etc. Thats why Jesus said as much as you did it to these, you have done it to me. Jesus identifies Himself with those who have been helped, similar to when He told Paul he was persecuting Him. Just wanted to point that out:cool:

walked
Jan 13th 2009, 11:38 AM
To reinforce the correct perspective on the use of the phrase "visit those in prison" when found in the new testament writings of our bible:

Don't be mislead and confused, walk in the light provided by the whole word of God...
At the time when this phrase was coined "visit those in prison" christian's were imprisoned just for being christian's, and visiting them in prison put the visitor at risk of being imprisoned themselves for being a christian or for just being a christian sympathizer. (get the picture?)
Meaning we as children born from above are not charged by this phrase "visit those in prison" we are not charge to go into local prisons and minister to thieves, degenerates, rapist, plunderers and murderers, but charged to minister to our brethren who are persecuted or imprisoned because of their faith in Gods word. (BTW there are still places on the globe where our brethren are imprisoned just for being christian's and no other reason)
Not that we should not also show mercy to thieves, degenerates, rapist, plunderers and murderers in our prisons and jails, but just that this is not what is meant when the phrase "visit those in prison" is used in new testament writings of our bible.

The good steward/servant of the Father will seal their mind with the knowledge given them by the Father when they feed and digest His word. (Not digest verses or phrases found in His word, but digest the whole word of God)
Study and digest the letter 'He sent to you' in His written word, it will seal your mind so that no mans teachings, opinions or poll results will be able to confuse or mislead you out of His light.

Joe King
Jan 14th 2009, 04:53 AM
I have a prison pen pal through Someone Cares. I haven't been a great pen pal, but I am doing better and vow to the LORD to correspond with my pen pal more. I have signed up for prison ministry with my church and hope to participate this year.

Diggindeeper
Jan 14th 2009, 06:24 AM
Being a woman, and since my husband always tended to object to my asking about visiting jails or prisons...over the years as I have learned about some person in prison who didn't get mail or hardly ever got any...I have written to, and always ask my husband to read it before I mail it. I sign it with his name and mine, and usually type it.

To others, one being Qbee's son, I have tried to send things now and then, especially before Christmas. (Many of us remember Qbee here! A precious lady filled with mercy and wisdom. She can't be here much any more. I miss her.) I send little inspirational things, and short Bible studies, and whatever is allowed on their lists at Christmas, etc.

Both my husband and I feel it is a much needed ministry, and we have continued to write to some who indeed turned to Christ. We kept in contact for awhile with some after their release, and we both love hearing from them when they tell us they are now living with a sister or some other relative, and have found a church, and still live for the Lord.

Its really not hard to find someone in jail or prison. But then again, perhaps its really the Lord who allows us to find out about them, and lays the burden on our heart to begin writing.

Right now, I have a friend whose son is in prison, and he is my letter-receiver at this time. We have met him, and that makes it easier to write, when its someone we have met. In fact, at one time, he and his Mom needed a place to stay and we took them both into our home for a few months.

She told me that her son tells her all the time, "I am so sorry that I've let good people down; people like Bill and Judy." (Us) When I write, I don't bring up what he's done. I just talk about life in general, what the weather is like, places we go, things we do (like our family ALL gathering here for Thanksgiving) and send little inspirational things now and then. And perhaps a photo occasionally.

I don't try to "preach" to him because I am not a preacher. But I do pray I can teach him, be a teacher that can help him turn his life around.

doubledcattle
Jan 14th 2009, 02:52 PM
I believe it is a much needed ministry. I also believe that God calls those to do so, whether it be going into the jails, or writing letters to ones in jail. Jail is a place for one to go for correction. Many people in jails and prisons will never hear the gospel unless somoene on the outside delivers it to them. I know they have church services and things like that but if you are in a cell with 3 or 4 or 5 non believers that never talk about Christ and may have never heard about him those guys wont' be a witness to each other. If we can send it to them from the outside or do some sort of ministry then I think we should, but as I mentioned it will be from God. Pray about it, if you ask God to show you someone or reveal a name or something like that, you will find it.

My father in law is in prison and I go visit him regularly. I see the people he is in there with and hear stories. Many of the guys need to be saved. Who will do it if we don't?

Joe King
Jan 14th 2009, 07:08 PM
If anyone is interested in writing to an inmate, please google Someone Cares Prison Ministry. You can use a pen name and the mail can go through Someone Cares and they will screen it for you. I have allowed my pen pal to mail me directly to save Someone Cares money and to save time because I do believe he truly is born again.

walked
Jan 16th 2009, 02:51 PM
If anyone is interested in ministering to those Christ charges us to minister to when Gods word says "visit those in prison" "feed the hungry" and "cloth the naked"
Then please don't go to google, but go to India, Indochina, Indonesia, China, Sudan, Ethiopia, or any of the southern former soviet republics and visit (christian's) our brethren there in prison, feed and cloth them, and then don't proclaim those your good works before men or you will lose the Fathers reward for those same good works.
Those are the places (christian's) our brethren are thrown into jail or prison just for being a christian and no other reason, those are the places our christian brethren will not be employed so they can't feed or cloth their families ! (get the picture ?) But, that's to much to ask, to high a price to pay to be obedient to what Christ Jesus charges us to do, so lets just visit the prisoners here where we are all safe, free and comfortable, and lets hand out these tracks to people here where everyone already has the opportunity to know Gods gospel. Lets not risk being put into jail ourselves or murdered for trying minister and comfort our brethren who are really poor, naked, hungry persecuted and imprisoned just for being a christian and trying to trust in Gods word.

Following Christ has a price (prices found in the books of John and Luke and in almost all of the letters of Paul)
Do-gooder's chose to be rewarded in this life by proclaiming their good works before men to receive their reward now, but losing the reward the Father had for them for those same good works.
Many will come saying Jesus is lord or call to Him saying: LORD, LORD. Or say: "yes, I am a christian" But why do they not obey Him, and try and teach others to do the same ?

Our brethren, His brethren are: Messianic Jews and Christians those are who we are charged to feed, cloth and visit during their trials)
Not to say that we should not also show mercy to the unsaved sick, the unsaved poor and unsaved naked nor saying we are not to show mercy to the thieves, degenerates, rapist, plunderers and murderers in our prisons and jails, but just that this is not what is meant when the phrase "visit those in prison" is used in new testament writings of our bible, these are not His brethren nor His sheep.

Jesus own words: If anyone ministers to the least of these 'my brethren', they have done the same to me.
Jesus own words: Do you love me? feed my sheep, Do you love me ? feed my sheep, Do you love me? feed my sheep.
Messianic Jews and Christians are His brethren.
Messianic Jews and Christians are His sheep.

uric3
Jan 16th 2009, 05:43 PM
I'm going to ask a silly question perhaps but before doing so let me state that I think those who preach and teach the gospel to inmates are doing a wonderful work. No doubt about it and I commend them for doing so.

Now as to my question... I think we get the idea for preaching to those in prison from Matt 25:34-40 where it states in the last part of vs 36 "...I was in prison and you came to visit me.'"

However I always took this verse to mean those Christians who got imprisoned for teaching the Gospel such as Paul... obviously he was in captivity for a long time and people was allowed to visit him.

Something similar today would be if someone got caught in China teaching the gospel and was put in prison and then the brethren came to visit him.

Anyway just a thought I had...

ProjectPeter
Jan 16th 2009, 07:26 PM
It isn't just to those put into prison for being a Christian folks. There are many that have become a Christian in prison. Don't forget them. Many prodigal sons who have found their pig pen and have gone back home to the Father... yet their natural time on earth is behind bars. Don't forget them.

walked
Jan 17th 2009, 12:04 PM
Folks, if anyone want to start or continue in a prison ministry, then I say God bless you and God bless that ministry.
There are plenty of scriptures that can be used to validate a merciful ministry to prisoners that does apply to reaching out to unsaved or prodigal sons in prison.
But, "Visiting those in prison" doesn't apply in the case of unsaved or prodigal sons here, when taken in context with the way God presented it in His written word where this phrase is quoted from, it applies to persecuted Christians or Messianic Jews imprisoned because of their faith in God and His word.

Folks, I don't think anyone's post so far has been suggesting that we forget, refuse to minister to, or ignore anyone in prison, no matter where or who is in prison or whether the one in prison is a christian, non christian or prodigal son.
Mercy is mercy no matter who gives it, no matter who receives it or where they receive it or give it, it is still mercy and no one has suggested we limit or pick and chose who we choose to show mercy to or who we choose to minister to.

A few correct post have only pointed out that when the phrase: "visit those in prison" when used in our new testament writings, that it is referring to ("visiting" Christ brethren, our brethren, christians "in prison") and that the phrase: "visit those in prison" shouldn't be used to validate a prison ministry out of context from which the phrase was originally used in new testament writings.
No one has suggested or implied that we should forget, ignore or refuse to minister to anyone in prison.
Nor has there been any suggestion that a merciful prison ministry anywhere is wrong or against Gods word...
Just that we should present (and receive) Gods word the way He presents it, so His word will have its fullest affect on His creation to accomplish His will.

ProjectPeter
Jan 17th 2009, 01:18 PM
As stated very early in the thread... folks can contact the chaplain of most prison institutions and they can put them in contact with folks that could use the correspondance. Chaplains are going to be putting you in contact with other saved individuals and not Chucky Manson etc.

Point... visit those in prison as best as possible for you to do. Most can write a letter of encouragement. Some can write letters teaching and helping them grow in their faith... etc. We aren't talking about Bobby the serial killer or Guido the mob boss or Chester the child molester. :rolleyes:

walked
Jan 17th 2009, 02:04 PM
This has not be stated yet, but its worth mentioning now since no one on this thread who has incorrectly used the phrase "visit those in prison" will recognize in a post here yet that when this phrase was/is used in new testament writings: it is meant/directed at persecuted and imprisoned Christians and/or Messianic Jews who were imprisoned for no other reason than being a Christian or Messianic Jew and trusting Gods word to them...

So, Ill state this now, and leave it to grow or for the birds to try n carry it away: *wink*

I know some wont or cant see the implications down the road of bending or allowing Gods word to be bent to conform to or validate a man's will, opinion or desires, whether that will, opinion or desire is good or wicked makes no difference, I see the implications of bending Gods word... It turns Gods word into mans traditions, It makes Gods word void. The same thing happened to the nation and people of Israel, it blinded them slowly (little by little/phrase by phase/addition by addition) so that finally down the road they couldn't even see their own promised Messiah when He appeared and walked among them, Emanuel-Christ Jesus!

ProjectPeter
Jan 17th 2009, 02:30 PM
This has not be stated yet, but its worth mentioning since no one on this thread who has used the phrase "visit those in prison" will admit that when this phrase was/is used in new testament writings: it is meant/directed at persecuted and imprisoned Christians and Messianic Jews who were imprisoned for no other reason than being a Christian or Messianic Jew and trusting Gods word to them...

I know some wont or cant see the implications down the road of bending or allowing Gods word to be bent to conform to or validate a man's will, opinion or desires, whether that will, opinion or desire is good or wicked makes no difference, I see the implications of bending Gods word... It turns Gods word into mans traditions, It makes Gods word void. The same thing happened to the nation and people of Israel, it blinded them slowly (little by little/phrase by phase/addition by addition) so that finally down the road they couldn't even see their own promised Messiah when He appeared and walked among them, Emanuel-Christ Jesus!Actually... the statement was made BEFORE they were put in prison for being a Christian walked... since you're so bent on technicalities here. Certainly we can say that Jesus was being prophetic and anyone with an eye can see the word "brother" and knows what this means... but hey... watch out for wickedness when visiting your brother in prison! ;) Are you done now? We're not speaking of man made tradition. We are speaking of a very simply injunction in Scripture put out by Jesus Himself. If you want to be technical down to the nth degree then there lies the danger of becoming blinded... by your own technicalities and that is the lesson that I would hope one learned from Israel.

walked
Jan 17th 2009, 02:36 PM
Oh, ok, I guess John the baptist was imprisoned for jay-walking? who was imprisoned before Christ death and resurrection. Just maybe this is scribe errors in the text eh?

But why do you assume this phase was used before followers of Christ (other than John the baptist, who I know you will ignore anyway) were being imprisoned ? This would be the real question.

ProjectPeter
Jan 17th 2009, 02:42 PM
Jesus was talking about after he left... even the end of time. It was a message to all of us then and now walked.