At the start of the year for our Sunday Service I brought in Laura. An amazing woman who shared her own story with the women. A story of her 17yr long heroin addiction, hurts and pains that sent her life on a spiral downwards-until she met the man who changed it all! The beautiful man who transformed and healed all that had been before and is continuing to support, love and restore her each day.
We then invited the women to stand and pray with us if they wanted to start a journey in relationship with this man. Around 40 women stood, we then asked them to continue this journey by joining our Monday night group.
The first Monday we had 16 women come. In prison the evening is association, meaning the time to make a phone call, wash clothes-or yourself! There is an appointed time for everything in prison, so to leave your routine and come to chapel is a big deal. I was especially encouraged as 11 women were from the wing-these women are usually unlikely to come to chapel.
I asked each woman to say her name and why she had come. After a couple of honest answers;
‘I don’t know, just thought I should’ “Felt like Laura was telling my story so should come”
Then one woman from the wing said;
“I just keep hearin about this man, feel like I never hear nuffin bad about him-only good. Innit tho, have any of you’s ever heard anyfin bad said about this guy Jesus? I avn’t.. so I wanna know ‘im. I’m here cz I wanna know Jesus”
Beautiful. I felt like I wanted to cry as then one by one they passed on “Ditto. I wanna know Jesus”. So we continued the session, my friend Nick Shahlavi (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXqWVQKN3jo) shared his testimony and the women knew even more the truths of this amazing man Jesus. We prayed with the women and there’s too much to write! There was one women who said she constantly felt she wanted to die. She had attempted suicide multiple times and so as well as practically making sure she is support through prison, we prayed with her at the end and gave her this to pray & speak over herself;
Yesterday I was back in and we had 8 women come to the group. It is very normal for the groups to drop as women have other commitments/get moved out/ loose interest! Usually end up with a small core group. Much as I hope these 8 will remain, experience has shown me it may well drop again. I know God has plans for these 8 women though and fully expect Him to show up in the session. Yesterday was no different!
We read about the woman at the well (John4) and I showed this monologue http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q49BbfgJbto
The women responded to how this broken woman found love from this man Jesus. Each week I will be showing them stories of who Jesus is,to help them learn and know about this man. They were right! He really is the man you never hear bad about! They had a lovely response to this story in John 4, to the point where one of the women started to cry and say how much she regretted turning her back on Jesus. She explained that she had known him before but feels she “..picked him up and put him down when I wanted, but it doesn’t work like that”. We spoke about how Jesus has open arms to everyone who comes back to him.
At the end of the session I asked if any of the women would like to pray outloud, this lady who had been crying said she would like to pray..it went something like this..
“Hi God, It’s me (name), you might remember me. I used to chat to you a lot but I stopped and I feel bad about it. I want to say hi again and thank you. Please help me and all the women here to know your love and have your holy spirit. Thank you Jesus”
Simple and gorgeous, I believe Jesus hears & LOVES the simplest and most heartfelt prayers more than I do when I hear them! Her prayer came from deep within her and she will continue to grow, along with the other women, to know more about Jesus.
Most of these women will not close their eyes when we pray as they don’t trust anyone enough to close their eyes (often obviously meaning little sleep), but they want to know this man. I pray they learn to trust Him and through their relationship with Him they know forgiveness and grow in peace, joy, kindness etc..
Please join me in praying for these women and I will keep you updated on these Monday evening groups! xx