Friday, November 20, 2009

How to Preach in Prison


John Piper recently preached at Angola State Prison in Louisianna. His post on the event gives good insights not only about ministry to prisons but how one should preach to those who will live the rest of their lives behind bars.

Warden Cain says: I am as nice as they let me be and as mean as they make me be. Given the job he is given to do, it is a good motto.

I saw the Warden’s “nice” as we sat for half an hour with G.B., a prisoner on Death Row whose death by lethal injection the Warden will oversee in January. There are over 80 on death row, some now for over 14 years as appeals go on. The Warden asked me to share the gospel with G.B. Never have I felt a greater urgency to say the good news plainly and plead from my heart. The thief on the cross is a hero on Death Row.

The Warden answered all G.B.’s questions about what the last day would be like and who from his family and the press could be there. He gave G.B. unusual privileges for these last seven weeks. He was manifestly compassionate while stating the facts with precision. I took G.B.’s picture with my phone and said I would pray for him. (Perhaps you would too.)

I preached with all my heart to those who could fit in the chapel, and to the rest by closed circuit television. G.B. (and three others on Death Row) told me they’d be watching. I pulled no punches:

For 90% of you the next stop is not home and family, but heaven or hell. O what glorious news we have in that situation. And believe me it is not the prosperity of Gospel. Jesus came and died and rose again not mainly to be useful, but to be precious. And that he can be in Angola as well as Atlanta. Perhaps even more.

Read the entire post HERE.

1 comment:

deidre said...

Given the state of moral depravity that exists in the world we wake up in, outside prison walls, is it "loving" to deny that spiritual reality to our "loved ones" let alone the strangers, we pass in our daily travels?