UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON
flights of steps to his gallery. The hallway is about four feet wide with a steel railing between the inmate and falling to the bottom of the prison about 40 feet below. Your friend or loved one is told to walk down to the number on a cell door that will become his new home away from home.
The door of his cell opens with such a loud noise that it makes his heart jump as the guard yells at him to step into his cell. He barely makes it in when the door slams electrically behind him. Once he is in his cell, he can see a small hallway called the catwalk which is about four feet wide with the concrete wall and barred windows on one side and his cell’s open wall with steel bars on the other.
Well, here he is, in prison. Sitting on his bed, he looks around at his new cell. A bed, a locker, a desk, and a chair make up the furniture. Right next to his desk is a toilet and a sink made out of stainless steel with no toilet seat, just a bare metal bowl. The room is only six by eight feet and everything is old and worn down. There are two steel barred, open walls. There is one in the back and the one in the front with a steel barred door that slides up against the steel barred wall when opened. The other two walls are brick and painted. As the new prisoner, puts together his bed, he notices that the sheets are old and have stains on them, stains that he really doesn’t want to know from what. For a new Christian inmate, the best thing to do at this point is to pray and thank God that he made it this far. Opening his Bible and starting to read the Word of God can bring a peace over him because it’s the only thing familiar to him in his new environment. Everything will be all right he tells himself. He reminds himself that he is a child of God and God, His Heavenly Father is in control. It will help him to find comfort so that in the midst of all the noise, yelling, cursing, and hatred, the Christian prisoner can dose off thinking about how wonderful it is to be in the family of God despite his current circumstance.
Suddenly, the cell door slams open and the inmate hears something, so he gets out of his cell. He sees everyone on the cell block getting out of their cells. Then the door slams shut with a very loud thud. It is chow time and everyone files down the stairs to go and eat. The tables are square and small with the steel seats hooked to the steel tables. There is hardly any elbow room between the prisoners. Everyone is talking. Some may try to strike up a conversation with your friend or relative, but it is difficult to talk to anyone because the topic of conversation is usually not one in which a child of God wants to participate. A new Christian inmate begins to think, how is he going to make it in prison as a Christian?
During the first stage of prison, most of your friend or loved one’s time is spent in his cell. This time is called “quarantine”. The Department of Corrections uses this time to classify all of the new prisoners and place them in the correct security levels. Three times a day, the new prisoner gets to eat for only fifteen minutes each time. He gets to use the shower for only ten minutes once a day. And finally, he gets to go to the yard for an hour. Since the new inmate has to spend so much time in his cell during this stage, this is a good time for him to study and commune with God. It takes a lot of concentration, however, because there are many distractions during this time. Inmates in the next cell may yell over to him to talk or play a game. Sometimes, one can become so bored that apathy sets in and he doesn’t feel like doing anything. Sitting in such a small cell with all the surrounding noise, makes it hard for one to concentrate on reading the Bible and praying. Sometimes, it is best to just lay back and close one’s eyes and meditate on the things he has recently studied.
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