Inmates face struggles to apply faith in prison

By July 8, 2024

USA (MNN) — Many prison ministries are focused on sharing the Gospel in prisons and introducing men and women to Jesus Christ. This is critical, life-saving work! But it’s only the first step.

Doug Cupery, director of church mobilization at Crossroads Prison Ministries, says, “There are some in prison who can run circles around you and me with their Scripture.

“One of the challenges I’ve noticed through my 20 years of volunteering inside prisons is when, yes, they understand the Scripture — but how do you apply that in [their] lives?”

(Image courtesy of Crossroads Prison Ministries)

In one sense, it’s a challenge every Christian must grapple with no matter where they are. Applying Scripture is how we practically live out our faith and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

For an inmate, however, the questions of application are unique to their situation.

Cupery says, for example, “How do I apply that [Scripture] with my cellmate? How do I apply with those that I’m in the chow hall with? How do I apply that when I’m out on the yard or in the day room interacting with others? How do I use that when I’m corresponding or talking to my children or my spouse or my parents?”

Biblical application is also crucial for imprisoned men and women as they prepare for release.

“Ninety-five percent of those we incarcerate will be coming home,” says Cupery. “So how do I apply that when I come home to the community that I’m going to live in?”

(Photo courtesy of Crossroads Prison Ministries)

Crossroads’s Bible study program leads individuals in prison through faith discipleship. A Christian mentor corresponds with a prisoner through letters. Together, the mentor and student go through the Crossroads Bible study, answer questions, share thoughts on the text, and discuss the application.

“When we focus our lives on Jesus and His light, in turn, we are to be the light so that others see Jesus through us. So how do we help those who are incarcerated to be that person?”

Cupery says, “We actually have to pause, reflect, and rely on the Holy Spirit for the right words that you can put down on paper knowing that those words will be the right words that are read by that person when they receive that letter.”

Learn more about becoming a Crossroads mentor here.

Please also pray for the men and women in prison coming to new faith, re-dedicating their lives to Christ, or seeking to grow spiritually. Ask the Lord to give them wisdom and joy as they faithfully apply Scripture to their daily context.




Header photo courtesy of James L.W./Unsplash.

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