Remember the Prisoners
"I was in prison and you visited me..." Yeshua
So often many Messianic/Hebrew Roots believers today are focused on Messianic/Hebrew Roots cruises, conferences or the next DVD teaching series that covers the next 'amazing' revelation to hit the scene. All this searching on how to live their lives and find out where they fit in todays world. So what can the average believer do? Most don't feel qualified to step up into 'professional' ministry and this leaves a hope deferred to those that have a heart to 'do something'. However that something might be right under their noses.
Many overlook those whom society have thrown away and forgotten - those who are incarcerated. Those who are in the country jails, state and federal prisons; these who are a 'captive audience'. Some were believers but lost their way and came back into the faith. Many found the truth and who left the traditions of men that is so present in many protestant denominations today. Then there are those who had zero religious background but came into the faith and now walk as the Messiah walked, observing Torah with Yeshua in their hearts as best they can.
Many of these believers are not looking for a theologian or some famous teacher to visit them (though that is nice when they do). They are looking for normal Messianic/Hebrew Roots people to visit and just host a time where these believers can meet and pray together. "But can't they meet together and do that?"
No. With that said I think I need to explain something most people do not know about jail & or prison rules.
Most believers cannot gather together to study and pray as a group unless there is an outside volunteer. In many correctional facilities its against the rules for inmates to group together with more than 4 people regardless of the activity. Its only when a volunteer comes in that these believers can meet and pray together. Sadly there are almost zero Messianic volunteers that come in.
So how many visits do Catholic and Protestant denomination volunteers make?
Many come in once a week versus the Messianics who 'might' get a volunteer or special speaker perhaps once every year or two (and thats IF there are a good number of Messianic believers within that facility). Fact remains many correctional facilities have never had a volunteer or special speaker. If you thought finding a Messianic/Hebrew Roots assembly was hard on the outside, its even tougher in the jails and prison facilities. Yet despite these odds the Messianic faith is growing amongst these believers.
“So how can I volunteer?” Contact your local county jail, state or federal prison facility and find out.
“What do I have to do when we meet?” Simply open in prayer, go over the torah portions, do simple bible study, midrash, play some 119 Ministry or other Messianic DVD/video teachings. After that, maybe a short discussion, take some prayer requests and end in prayer.
“How long will the meeting be?” It depends on the facility. In our experience it can be anywhere from 1-2 hours.
All facilities have an orientation period and go over the rules associated when going over your visit. With that said, please take this into consideration and pray about it. I would also ask that you read the following article from a Messianic believer who has been incarcerated for many years….
Remembering the Prisoners
Hebrews 13:3 says “Remember prisoners, as bound with them; those that are evil-treated, as being yourselves also in the body.”
Yeshua says as part of His discourse in Matthew 25:36-40, “I was in prison and you visited me...”
Over my years in prison I’ve noticed these verses have motivated several ministries to bring the good news of the gospel to men and women in prison. However, in contrast, I have not seen a ministry consistently devoted to come into a prison to teach men and women what happen after entering into covenant relationship with YHWH through Yeshua. One that specifically teaches what it means to honor the authority of YHWH by walking in obedience to His commandments.
I say this because of what is said in Matthew 28:19-29...
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you.”
At present, I understand this to mean that once a person has repented and responded to the good news of the gospel, that person now needs to learn how to adapt his or her lifestyle to operating in obedience to the authority of YHWH by doing what He has commanded us to do and honoring that always.
Over the past nine years of being part of the Messianic Community in prison, I have encountered at least three Hebrew Roots, Torah observant ministries that brought in messages that truly encouraged, challenged, and blessed my walk in Messiah. Sadly, it’s been more than a year since any form of Messianic and or Hebrew Roots ministry has come to fellowship with us and to minister to us the truth of God’s word.
The Messianic Community in prison is indeed grateful to the ministries that have come to visit us and bless with their gift of love and fellowship. My heart is writing this in what I see going on in the lives of men in prison. Wounded hearts, broken relationships, confusion, fears and doubts. We, as men in the Messianic Community, even though we are able to minister to each other, we are not always able to connect with each other whenever and however we need to. Point being, we need the assistance of outside ministries to reach those who need the good news of the gospel and to learn obedience to YHWH's commandments of ministering to men and women in prison can be done by arranging a time to come into a prison, representing your home assembly and or ministry, and or conducting a program. Men and women in prison need to hear that they have not "out-sinned" the grace of a merciful and loving God who desires to bring them healing, restoration, and deliverance in every area of their lives.
May the blessing of YHWH flow down upon you all, all the days of your lives. Remembering the Prisoners by D.I.
I hope you take the time to pray for those in prison and perhaps do something more than that.