I have been incredibly blessed over the past few years by the opportunity to minister to female inmates. When God called me into a ministry behind locked doors I admit I was a bit afraid. I had no idea what to expect or how these ladies would react to me. I never could have anticipated the blessings that would come into my life because of these ladies and this ministry.
For a while now God has been speaking to my heart about expanding the ministry. Of course when the Holy Spirit begins to put something in your heart, the enemy comes along with a dozen reasons why it’s not a good idea. I have to admit he had some very compelling arguments.
One of the reasons I have held off on doing this is due to the fact that I am being invited to speak in more places. I’m often speaking in different states which makes it more difficult to go to jail and minister. So, I began to ask myself if I should just resign from jail ministry altogether? That question was met with a resounding, “NO!”
I have seen God do too many miracles, and touch too many lives to walk away from a calling so sacred. I have come to love these ladies I minister to. Seeing the hopelessness in their eyes, shrouded by a tough exterior designed only to hide the pain and desperation inside them haunts me. I think about how God rescued me, and I know He can and is willing to do the same for them.
Many of those ladies have a major calling on their lives, and the enemy has tried everything he can to destroy them. How will they know what God has in store for them if no one is willing to go into the desolate places to reach them? Some of them will walk out of those doors and go right back to the pit they came out of. They may come back to jail and end up in the church services all over again. Some of them will walk out those doors and in to eternity because of a relapse.
Others will come out and walk in freedom through the blood of Jesus Christ. Others may be led into ministry and become teachers or evangelists. Some will become jail ministers themselves and share how God rescued them from the prison of sin. There is no limiting the power of God, and the wonderful thing about God is He always uses the most unlikely people to do the most extraordinary things!
So, as I continued to contemplate what to do concerning the jail ministry, God began to give me a vision of a group of ladies who will go out into many different jails. Guided by the Holy Spirit, I will begin to train and encourage ladies to speak to these inmates and to believe God for miracles. God showed me His vision for “Story of Grace Jail Ministry,” a while back and just recently He has been confirming over and over again the plan He has for this outreach.
Ladies, this is where you come in. I am looking for saved, Spirit-filled women who have a desire to minister. I need ladies who have compassionate and patient hearts. Ladies who are bold enough to speak the Truth but who do so in a loving manner are a necessity! I am looking for ladies who believe in miracles!
As I have continued to pray about this, God has begun to send ladies to me. Some have just approached me and asked how to get involved in jail ministry. Others have approached me and asked for training, and still others have expressed a desire to do something for God because they feel they have something to give. Other ladies have come to me because they feel unfulfilled in their current calling, and they desire to minister but do not know how to step out of the boat so to speak.
Maybe you fit one of these categories. Perhaps God is calling you to use your own story to reach someone lost and desperate. I won’t say it is easy. It requires discipline. People will say negative things to you and tell you it’s a waste of time. Others will constantly tell you that these ladies are not serious and they will never make it once they leave the jail. These naysayers have no idea what you will be seeing happen behind prisons doors! You will see miracles!
But, there will be many days when you feel discouraged, and you will wonder if you really are making a difference. There will be days when you just can’t make it, or you need a break. This is why I feel this collaborative ministry is so important. We need encouragers, prayer warriors, and people who are willing to fill in the gap when we can’t be there. There’s nothing that I hate more than having my jail ladies sitting there wondering if I’m going to come that day, and not being able to be there for them. I need help, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. When I am traveling to minister, I simply cannot be in two places at one time.
It’s a little scary to put your God-given vision out for the world to see, but I believe it is necessary to move forward at this time. I envision a team of ladies under the umbrella of “Story of Grace Jail Ministry.” You will be going into various jails after you have received training, taken all necessary jail classes, and when you feel comfortable in doing so. I have three ladies who will be joining me after the first of the year. Will you be joining us?
You may be near or far. We can do live training classes online if necessary. There are ladies sitting in jails all over this nation who need Jesus. Will you be the hands and feet of Jesus? Pray and ask God what He would have you do. I’m believing God will go before us, and continue to give us favor. I believe prisons doors will open wide to welcome ladies who have a heart to minister to the lost and broken.
Seek God. Pray and search your heart. Please contact me to sign up for the informational class in January. It’s not a commitment, just a class to gain more information. Blessings await you!
36“I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”
40“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.