My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
During a prayer meeting Sunday afternoon, a friend sought prayer for an upcoming discussion on salvation with a recent acquaintance of hers. After the meeting, I sought to help my friend since her acquaintance and I share a common history of Catholicism. I described to my friend how the pivot point for me many years ago was understanding the difference between religion and relationship.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15)
We imperfect humans are constantly contriving systems where we select certain rules to follow, rank everything, and usually end up putting God in some type of box – then we wonder why it ultimately doesn’t satisfy our heart’s desire. And the reason is we try to substitute religion for a relationship with our living God.
I think Jesus illustrated that point when religious experts of His day tried to pin Him down and say which of their 613 laws was the most important. As usual, His response went far beyond what anyone expected.
One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:35-40)
Like any good parent desires relationship with their children, God desires a relationship with each of us, and that’s only possible (on our end) if we accept Him as our heavenly Father by the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, who paid the penalty for our sin debt on the cross.
Educating or reminding inmates of God’s promises and desire for relationship is precisely why we support our wonderful Chaplains Rhonda and Heinrich inside Chester County Prison, growing the kingdom of God and sharing the Good News with “the least of these”. Pray for continued seasons of fruitfulness within the prison walls for both inmates and staff (and their families). Thanks for your ongoing support of this ministry – God bless you!
Grace and Peace,
Prayer Requests from Chaplain Rhonda:
H. Z. – has been in CCP many times; struggling with addiction and dysfunction due to brain injury; longing for a better life and to have her children back, but not sure how to get there; resisting God in favor of Buddhist beliefs
V. G. – sweet young woman dealing with mental health issues; excited to hear about God and desiring to know Him more; struggling with a lot of shame
J. F. – older inmate; wrote “I have no clothing, no shoes or coat, no transportation, nowhere to live, no ID, no access to money, no friends or family”. Pray that I can help her get connected to resources and she can find the help she needs, especially a relationship with God
C. S. – a very frequent resident of CCP (she actually holds the record for the most arrests for females); after years of alcohol addiction, a homosexual lifestyle and no interest in faith in God, she is asking for a Bible and other material. Please pray for these first steps toward faith, that God will meet her and bring her closer to Himself.
Prayers from Onesimus Ministries:
- For the doors of Chester County Prison to soon open to volunteers to minister in person once again.
- For God to inspire leadership to allow religious programming and gatherings among inmates.
- For peace among the inmate population (which also helps make the decisions above).
- For healing and wholeness for those suffering from illness, disease, or mental deficiencies.
- For strong aftercare programs among Chester County churches to support the men and women recently released from prison to further their relationship with the living God, build upon progress made in prison, and take positive steps toward wholeness and reintegration to society.
Want to know more about being a mentor, and discipling a man or woman coming out of prison? Drop us a note at email@example.com.