Humble Pie

Posted: 18 April 2015 in On the Pilgrim's Road, Prisons
Tags: ,

praying prisoners

Standing up in the prison chapel I felt embarrassed and a bit humbled. You know, when you go “inside”, you are tempted to feel good about yourself – you doing something for them. And in a practical way you are. But a mist of moral superiority can settle on one’s head, and it needs to be blown away. And I got a small gust when I was last in.

Our team were in to help lead the service with music and service prayers. Rev Dave (a Chaplain) announced that at the end of the formal service there would be “power prayer” with laying on of hands. Five of us up front. Two from our team (including me), and three from amongst the prisoners. Oh really? That was new.

When the service ended and the gentle background music started, a queue began to form. The queue was forming – to be prayed for by their fellow inmates, fellow prisoners. Sure, I had men come to me, but there was no doubt who was more in demand. Was it my face, sometimes likened to Peter Capaldi having an “Alastair Campbell moment”? Or perhaps the queuing prisoners felt that prayers from fellow offenders would be more relevant, more empathetic, more insightful than mine?

Just standing alongside prisoners in the same prayer team is a lesson in itself. Brothers-in-Christ, with common purpose. Then to find them more in demand than me was a reminder that who is of most use in the Kingdom of God in any one moment can look very different from the usual secular perspective.



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