Several years ago, before I answered God’s call to ministry, I prayed the prayer of Jabez. This is found in I Chronicles 4:10 and reads:
"And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
Recently, as I was traveling to one of the prisons to make pastoral visits, it struck me how He has answered that prayer. Instead of having influence for the Lord only at home, Bible study and in the church, I now have a “territory” that covers most of the state of Wisconsin! In addition to the high school Bible studies conducted in Milwaukee, I preach in and/or make pastoral visits to DOC institutions from Racine in the southeast to Green Bay in the northeast, to Stanley in the northwest and to Prairie du Chien in the southwest, with many points in between. I counted 24 facilities to date and growing!
Have there been results? With volunteering in High school ministry in the early 1980s, it took about twenty years to receive that kind of feedback from the students now matured, raising their own families and serving their churches. Thus, it’s probably a bit early in that realm to know.
However, in the prison ministry arena there have been some truly encouraging signs! Two convicts were led to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. A third inmate who was an avowed agnostic when we met is now reading through the entire Bible, believing in God as the Creator and worker of miracles in the life of the nation of Israel. Also, he is clearly being changed by the Holy Word in a way that makes me believe that he WILL accept Jesus in the months to come, as he gets into New Testament study! Finally, many others are using new tools to dive deeper in the Word, meditate on it and apply it to their lives. To God be the glory!