Musings from a Christian Prison Volunteer


I've told you about Don before. Tall, thin now, as he has been ravaged 
by disease. His arms are distorted by huge knots where various veins 
have been needled for dialysis. He's not a handsome guy, but he can
a 'glow' about him. Sometimes he only stays for half of our two-hour 
Yokefellows session. When I see him with his Bible open, flipping the 
pages slowly, I usually call on him. Sometimes he encourages. Sometimes

he has spoken as a prophet with calls for repentance and predictions of

revival. Lately he has been more subdued, and last night he removed the

happy face that glows, confessed his deep hurt, not only physical, but 
mental, spiritual.

"I come to meetings and I put on this happy face and this smile, but I 
don't let you know how I'm hurting. I called home and found my daughter

has been expelled for using marijuana. I've talked to her, prayed for 
her, scolded her, pleaded. But I'm not there. I'm in prison. Sixteen 
years I've been in. I'm no authority figure for her. She needs a strong


"I've spoken to you and read scripture. But now I just need your love 
and your prayers, because I'm hurting, more than just physical."

Except for the prison time, we volunteers could have made some of the 
same pleas. All around the circle, volunteers and prisoners alike, were

hurting people. So we stood and gathered around Don. He took both my 
hands. He gripped them hard, very hard, never letting up the whole time

we prayed for him and for others. Various ones prayed, and a number 
requested prayer. I motioned to Barry, an older man who has never come 
into our group, to come over. We have seen him pacing up and down the 
hallway, listening. He had told us of his burdens, his pain at other 
times: a deceased wife, children who need him. He has obvious emotional

problems. We prayed for Barry.

Standing just behind me was Meredith. He is a large man with an Afro. 
His voice is so soft it seems to be muffled, coming from some distant 
inside! Our volunteer Leta was watching him as we prayed for Don. She 
quietly asked him if he 'had a word'. He said yes and she nudged me. We

were awed as Meredith laid his hand on Don and prayed. A long, intense,

and beautiful prayer. This man who was always silent, whose longest 
speech was usually "Hi!"  and soft at that, was now eloquent, tender, 
quoting Scripture appropriately.

Please don't misunderstand. Sometimes our sessions are boring. Nothing 
seems to be happening. People walk in and out. And beyond the chapel 
doors are the 1,170 who never join us. Some are sick. Some dying. Some 
don't care, preferring to watch TV, play cards, or sleep.

But we left last night saying "Thank You, Lord."



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