As OJPM chaplains, we head to our various ministry posts each week knowing that the Holy Spirit will be with us as we share the gospel message with those sitting before us. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20). I like to say that most of the time, we show up and see God move as we get to watch and share.
While pastors are speakers, we as chaplains are listeners. We listen to each story then weave in responses, along with God’s Word and the presence of the Holy Spirit. On a recent Tuesday at Cleveland County jail, I had a 24-year-old inmate come in; a four year undercover heroin addict.
Michael had been praying the night before that he would get a chance to see a chaplain, when low and behold his opportunity came. Michael has six-year-old twins (a boy and a girl) and he was overwhelmed in finding a way to get out of his terribly addicted life. Through discussion, prayer and a sea of tears, Michael asked Jesus to come into his heart, forgive him for his transgressions, heal his addictions and that he would follow Him the rest of his life.
That same evening, I was reminded of a non-contact visit (behind glass) I had promised a man at my church. The new year had gotten so busy and I had just forgotten about this young man. I called on him and as I looked back over my shoulder I could tell it was very busy in the main visitation hall.
It was 6:00 P.M. when I wrapped up and by then the main foyer was totally quiet. While leaving I noticed there was only one person in the room, a woman who looked pretty anxious. I stepped over, introduced myself, and asked her if there was anything I could pray for her about.
She politely said, “Why yes, pray for my son, he is here in jail.” I asked her what her son’s name was, and she said, “Michael.” The name Michael resonated with me for some reason and I opened my Bible to my prayer book where I keep prayer requests of each inmate I see.
I asked her, “Ma’am, is your son 24 years old?” She said, “Yes sir.” I asked, “If he was a severe heroin addict?” Again, she said, “Yes.” I asked, “If he had twins who were six years old?” She said, “Why, yes he does.”
As she indicated there was no hope for him, that he was as low as he could ever get in his life, I was able to let her know, that her son asked Jesus to come into his heart on that very morning.
Oh my, the tears that filled that foyer were incredible. She thanked me over and over and told me she was about to speak to him on the jail’s video monitoring system. I can only imagine the tears from both that ensued in their visit.
What a joyous prayer we shared with each other!
As I also like to say, “You can’t make this stuff up.” I am so very proud to be a member of the OJPM chaplain team.