Amazing Grace — in a prison

29 May

Amazing Grace — in a prison

by Carl Kerby, Reasons for Hope

This article is short because I’m hoping you’ll take a minute and listen to a very special song at the end.

I really enjoy doing prison ministry and a number of years ago I had a speaking engagement at a prison that I’ll never forget. The chaplain who invited me to speak is now retired, but what a ministry he had over the years.  I greatly respect what Chappy accomplished through his obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Chappy invited me to speak over a three day period to the inmates.  In my first speaking session there was a Muslim man.  When I finished speaking he politely asked some very direct questions and I answered them.  Chappy and I then went out for lunch and came back for the afternoon session.  As we walked into the chapel several men who had been there in the morning approached me, looking very nervous.  They said that the Muslim man who had been tasking questions  was “stirring-up” the other Muslim inmates.

Over the years God has made one thing very clear to me.  The safest place to be on this planet, is in His will!  That’s what I told those men.  I told them I would just trust the Lord. He’d brought me there and He would take care of everything.  Nothing could happen to me that He didn’t allow!

The afternoon session went well.  The group that was “stirred-up” didn’t come back that afternoon, or the next two days!  On my second day of speaking, after the morning session, Chappy came to me and said, “Carl, the guys are so touched by your ministry they want to give you something.  Would you come back early this afternoon  so they can give it to you?”

“Of course!” was my response.  That afternoon, Chappy explained to me that they couldn’t give me anything material, so they had asked him if they could sing for me as a  Thank-You for ministering to them!  What a blessing!  They sang a song and it was so touching.  I asked Chappy if they could record it for me so I could have it as a memory.  He told me that it wouldn’t be possible because it would be against the rules.

Chappy then called an orderly over and he started “thinking out loud.”  “You know, Carl asked if he could have a copy of the singing.  I told him that’s not possible.  But, if a tape was in the recorder and it just so happened to make it’s way to him and I didn’t know about it, that would probably be ok!”

The orderly nodded and walked away.  At the end of that session, I got a copy of the tape.  It’s over an hour of music and at one point the men are just “educating” me on music.  We sat and chatted and they shared how they would just get together and make up songs.  One person would come up with something then others would start singing along.  I was so blessed by this experience.  I think of these men often and pray the Lord is using them where they are.

Make no mistake about it, these men are prisoners being punished for their crimes.  But I’m reminded that my own sin is also a crime, deserving to be punished.  God forgave me so much, just as He has forgiven all who have repented and received the free gift of eternal life that only He can provide.  The same is true for you today.  If you’ve not repented, you’re in a prison cell also.  God wants to open the door and set you free.  I pray you don’t let the sun go down without submitting to our loving Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer Jesus Christ.

Attached is the song I mentioned.  It’s from the inmates, and it’s a 5 minute version of Amazing Grace.  Please listen, even if only for a few minutes.  They blessed me and I’m praying you will be blessed by them also.

Amazing Grace

Carl Kerby

Carl Kerby is an inspiring, motivating and highly respected Christian speaker. With more than 20 years of ministry experience, Carl shares his extensive knowledge and understanding of God’s creation in his presentations, outreach events, books and other resources as the President and founding board member of Reasons for Hope, Inc.