I am back on the road with Solid Rock Ministries, taking the Gospel of Jesus into the prisons. Through Song, Praise, Testimonies, and Teachings we raise up disciples who will know the truth that will set them free.
We have just finished our tour at Hillsborough Prison (Women’s Unit), Riverview FL. The prison is a work prison where a lot of the prisoners go out in groups and do whatever needs to be done around the community. The prison has many Christian teaching programs, and they sure make a huge difference; even the guards were respectful.
It was my first time ministering in a women’s prison, so I was not quite sure what to expect. If it had not been for the blue sack dresses, and the blue pants and V-neck T shirts, I would have thought that I was at the wrong place. Every one of the ladies had a smiling face and was very pleasant to all of us. They were all ages, but the majority of them were under the age of 35.Most all of them looked young and very attractive, a totally different picture than I had in my mind before I entered the prison. I know I am getting older now because when I looked at their faces, some of them seemed to me, to be no more than kids.
In a way, it seemed like we lucked in, because before we arrived there was a lot of praying going on. Due to budget cuts, the prison was to close at the end of the month. No one wanted this to happen; yes it sounds strange, but because of the works that were going on in that prison, even the people of the community were fighting to keep it open.
Well, Tony Loeffler, the leader of the tour, who has given his life to Jesus Christ for the work of prison ministry, had the band set up and started to play at 6:oo pm. It was all uphill from there; the Spirit of God filled that chapel so fast it was truly amazing. The ladies were up clapping and dancing, shouting praises to the Lord! That little chapel was rocking! There was freedom to worship filling the air. What a blessing it was to see those ladies being freed in the Spirit, knowing some of them are doing life sentences, or what the prisoners call “lifers”.
The next day we were back doing praise and worship at 1:00pm. At 1:30 the teaching started. Melissa got up to share how an abortion had sent her life into a turmoil of shame and grief, and how she did just about anything to block what she had done out of her mind. Then she talked about Jesus, how He had come into her life and set her free from all that shame and guilt. She is now happily married, with four boys. God has even let her know that her little girl is waiting for her. She has seen her face and knows her name. It is certainly a moving testimony.
Then, with twenty minutes left, I was asked to share. The first thing I did was pray and turned my will over to the Holy Spirit. He sure did not let me down. The whole time I was speaking, I could feel the presence of the living God. Through His power it was like I could reach out and touch their souls. What a humbling experience. Praise God! After about 15 minutes I put out a call for prayer, the altar was so full, the whole prayer team had to come up and help. To my amazement, everyone I prayed with was slain in the Spirit. God was moving in a powerful way; it was truly a revival!
Needless to say, that night there was standing room only. Just about half the prison population came out for the concert, it was the largest turn out they ever had. When Larry Howard was playing, “Lord Cover Me”, one lady dropped to her knees, burst into tears and started praying in an unknown language; it was powerful. That night, approx. 20 ladies gave their hearts to Jesus. What a wonderful time of rejoicing it was. Jesus still lives! Amen. Rev. Brent Bishop