The story of Peter being freed from prison is often used when talking about the power of praying for others. Even scientific studies have shown a correlation between a person being prayed for and improvements in health. There is power in prayer.
There is also power in being freed from prison, especially the prison of our own minds and hearts. I’ve been thinking these last few days about my time with Celebrate Recovery (CR). CR is a re-Christianized version of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which was originally Christian.
In CR, I met wonderfully broken people. Yes, they were wonderfully broken. They had come to the end of themselves and found Jesus. Through Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and a loving community (CR) they began the long road of recovery.
Prayer was part of every story of recovery. From the beginning to the now, prayer was there. The prisons of chemical addiction, emotional addictions, and sexual addictions were being identified and broken.
Did people fall again? Of course. God, though, is pretty strong in the area of lost causes, and many in CR only ever viewed themselves as lost causes. God, therefore, had a lot to work with.
Does CR just automatically “flip-the-switch”? Of course not. It does, however, take a person’s pain and life experiences and mold it into a follower of Jesus Christ who has true empathy for the struggles of others.
One of the “features” of CR is the recovery story. Here, a person shares their story from all the hard, painful, and even humiliating things that became an addiction, to the breakdown of pride that lead them to Christ, which led them on a lifelong journey of recovery.
Sometimes it’s those stories that break through the ego of others. The chains fell off Paul and Silas, and the jail doors came open. Instead of just escaping, they used this example to lead another person and his family to Jesus Christ. Their prison freed another man from his.
The world is full of prisons: politics, racism, prejudice, fear, anger, hatred. We are called to show people that we are no longer bound by the prisons of the world. Of course, the means we need to see that we are in prison and that we need to get out.
※ Prayer ※
Holy Spirit, sharpen our spirit and will that we can leave our prisons through the grace and power of Jesus. Amen.
※ Questions ※
1) What was the first thing you think of when you see “prison”? Why? What has shaped that in your life?
2) Have you ever seen someone leave their “prison”? What was your reaction?
3) Leaving our prison can be instantaneous or it can take a lifetime. What prison are you looking to be free from?