Important Suggestion to my fellow Journalers

If these posts are too long for you to complete, I suggest that you print off the prompt that is of current interest to you and then tape it into your journal for future reference. The prompts are such that you can do it in one sitting or you can break each idea down and use them as separate prompts. There is no set rule on how to use these prompts. They can be used as lessons for your auxiliaries too. Hope you enjoy them and may they glorify the Lord in all the ways you use them. God bless your writing experiences.

Important Note:

Most of these prompts will come from my own thoughts, but there may some that I have found from other people and want to share with you. Some of the prompts may be repeats to some of you who are members of the same online groups I am in, but I will include them for the new journalers out there reading this blog. And sometimes prompts are so good they are worth repeating. You may use a prompt over and over again and reply to it differently each time. I will give credit to prompts I find when I know the person who submitted the prompt or gave it to me by other means. If I find a journaling site that has prompts I will include them too. Thank you for your understanding.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Imprisonment, Incarceration, Bondage, Forgiveness

I was not able to sleep from about 2 am to 4 am or so.  During my moments of insomnia I often am given the many prompts you have been able to read here in this blog.  So, during my time being awake during the wee hours of this Easter morning, I began to think of the week before Jesus was crucified and resurrected.  And the prompt I am about to share with you came from those thoughts.

Jesus was arrested and thrown in jail.  He became a what we call today a convict.  He was imprisoned, incarcerated and for the first time in his life was held in bondage.  Write in a journal about the week leading up to what we now call Easter.  Read scripture and rewrite the events in your own words. 

Now, place yourself in those events.  Become a bystander.  Write of the scenes you witness before Jesus is arrested, during his arrest, while he is being crucified, and after his resurrection.  May this be a prompt of enlightenment.  Thank the Lord for the sacrifice of his son and for saving your life. 

Now there is more to this prompting.  What I thought for some more prompts is for your prayer journal.  I suggest you write in your prayer journal prayers or thoughts for the following people or ideas:

prisoners or convicts that you may know personally, such as relatives or friends, or even someone you are in a relationship.

the jailers who "take care", "watch over", and control those behind the jail bars.

the judges and other officials who decide people's fate: their sentencing

the lawyers who either are for or against the person in trouble

all of the people who deal with the people who are in jail throughout the day, such as cooks, doctors, clergy, etc.

There are many reasons people end up in jail.  No matter the crime we must remember they are still people.  We should pray that justice be done.  And that the person in question will find the Lord and ask for forgiveness of their crime.  They still deserve punishment and must suffer the consequences of their crime.  Write about someone's crime and the punishment they were given.  Does it fit the crime?  Do you think it is undeserved?  Should they suffer what they were given?  Write your personal feelings about the whole situation.  And then ask the Lord to help you see why this happened to the person.

We need to pray for the victims of the crimes.  The victims may have been involved in a random crime.  It may have been a crime of passion.  It may have been premeditated.  The crime may have been violent or nonviolent.  The crime may affected you or someone in your family or it may just have affected you emotionally hearing about it.  So, please include your prayers the victim.

We should also include the families of the victims.  They are affected by the crime due to the ties to the victim.  Also remember the families of the convict.  They are definitely affected by the actions of their family member who did the crime.

There are different degrees of crimes.  There are misdemeanors and felonies.  But, to the Lord there are no big sins and little sins.  Sin is sin in the eyes of the Lord.  We tend to look at the convicts with our own degrees of judgment.  Are you guilty of judging someone more harshly than they deserved?  Write how the Lord showed someone mercy when you may not have.  Write of how you would have shown more grace than the Lord allowed to be given to the convict.

Inside of jail there are different "pods" housing the many different types of personalities.  So many people in one small area causes much frustration and misunderstandings.  Many people are hurt because of the different attitudes on the inside.  Some people have to go to the hospital from being beat up.  Pray that these inside crimes will not happen to the person you know personally, unless it is of the will of the Lord. 

Many people go to "general population".  Pray for all of those and the officials to have a safe day.  There are some who go to solitary confinement.  It may be for their own safety and they are under protective custody.  It may because they were harmed or threatened.  Pray they will remain safe during their incarceration.  But some are put in solitary because of the crime they committed and their lives are in jeopardy, such as child molestors.  They are in fear of their lives while they are in jail.  Pray that their lives will not be taken by another convict, because then their are other families that will have to suffer yet more heartache due to the extreme results of the original crime.

Pray for those who get "early release" are truly rehabilitated and that they will not go on to commit more crimes.  Pray that no one else will become a victim of this early released convict.

Pray that when someone you know gets out of jail or prison that he/she will have learned his/her lesson and will never commit that crime or another crime again.  Pray that he/she will find the Lord or if he/she has known the Lord will return to the Lord.

If the person you know is a drug addict pray that he/she will overcome the addiction.  And continue to pray for the person for the rest of his/her life because they will always have the temptation.  Pray that the Lord will help them overcome any temptation.

Now, there are other types of imprisonments beside just being put in jail or prison for a crime committed.
There are people who are imprisoned due to abusive relationships.  They cannot get out of this relationship and suffer from domestic abuse daily.  This is a prison that is not seen by the outside world.  The person may lead a normal life on their job and at church and with their family and friends, but once they enter their home it becomes a prison.  Pray for these people that they will be able to remain safe and somehow get out of the situation.  Pray that they have a safe house to go to whenever harm may be in the future.  Pray they have a good support system in family and friends.  Pray the abuse will cease and that each person involved will get the help they need to overcome the abuse and the consequences of those abusive actions.  Pray the circle will be broken and the younger generation is not affected negatively by it.  Pray the people involved will find the shelter of the Lord.

Another type of imprisonment is those who are prisoned in their own bodies.  There are many who are overweight and cannot do things like they used to.  They either are too heavy to get around normally or they cannot even get out of their house at all.  Pray they will find ways to live a healthy life and make healthy choices.  Pray they will be able to do whatever is necessary to lose their life of imprisonment.

Some people are imprisoned in their homes due to a disability that does not allow them to get out of their house,  They may be confined to a hospital bed, a wheelchair, or just not able to get out of their house unless they have a person take them out for shopping or to church etc.  Pray for these people that they can have good mental health days and be able to accept their disability and have good attitudes about it.  Many become depressed due to the disability making them not be able to live a normal life.  Pray the person will overcome depression. 

Speaking of depression, this mental disability causes many to become in bondage of an invisible kind.  Many are depressed and no one is aware of it.  Pray the person will be able to overcome this mental illness and be able to live a successful and good mental health lifestyle.  Pray they will be able to ask the Lord for help each time they feel a bout of depression may be taking over.  This is a prison that causes a person to live in a black hole and may not be able to ask for their friends and family to help and pray.  Pray you become more aware of this person and see the signs of depression coming and pray that they will be able to overcome it.  Pray the Lord will be there to see them through. 

Being in bondage is another type of prison sentence.  Do you know someone or are you someone who is in bondage?  There are many types of bondage.  Bondage in an abusive relationship.  Bondage to an addiction.  Bondage to financial woes.  Bondage to a ritual.  And so on.  Write in your journal bondages you may be experiencing.  Write about someone you know who may be in bondage.  Write prayers to help the person or yourself overcome the bondage.

Sometimes when a crime has happened to us we feel the need of revenge.  As the Word of God says, vengeance is the Lord's.  Pray you will not act upon your feelings.  Pray that you will let the proper officials take charge and the person that committed the crime will get the sentence he/she deserves.  Pray that you will not commit your own crime in retaliation.  Also pray that you will be able to overcome this need to get revenge.  Even if you do not act upon taking the law in your own hands, you may think of it so much it takes over your entire life.  You need to overcome any feelings of hate etc.  And you need to ask the Lord to help you forgive the person.  Let the judicial system do the judging and sentencing and you do the forgiving.

By forgiving a convict it releases you from the bondage of hate and revengefulness.  If you forgive someone it does not mean the person is released from the consequences of the crime.  Criminals must suffer the consequence of their actions.  God commands us to forgive others as he forgave us.  This is a hard commandment to follow and when you find yourself not being able to forgive it will cause you to have a gap between you and the Lord.  Pray for you to close that gap and accept that the Lord is in control.  Forgive yourself as well that you are feeling these emotions.  Remember that the Lord is a Lord of forgiveness.  And it is shown in the three crosses...

My daughter helped her boyfriend escape from jail.  They were caught.  My daughter was arrested by gunpoint.  She was thrown in jail with other violent criminals.  She was only 18 and had never been in any kind of trouble.  She got mixed up with the wrong kind of person.  And she made a very bad decision.  I was in shock.  How could my daughter allow someone to make her do such a crime?  Well, I started to hate the boy.  I wanted him to suffer for getting my daughter involved.  I wanted to see him suffer literally.  I found the hate overwhelming.  I went to his court hearing wanting him to see how much I hated him for hurting my daughter.  I sat in the front row and stared at him with hate.  But something happened.  My heart began to melt.  I saw him as a troubled child.  He was only a teenager.  He was scared.  It was then that the Lord worked on my heart.  Right there in the courtroom I forgave him. I truly forgave him.  I found myself loving that boy.  He ended up spending over ten years in prison.  My daughter only got a year of weekends in jail and a 5 year probation sentence.  She met a new guy and got married and now have two children.  That life is behind her and she has never gotten in trouble ever again.  When that boy got out of prison I gave him the biggest hug and just found myself loving him as only a Christian person  could.  Sadly though he is back in prison and will never get out again probably.  He almost died and it was heartbreaking.  I pray he will be able to find the Lord and live his life in prison without getting hurt.  I forgave him many years ago (they are in their 30s now).  I do not accept his lifestyle and do not understand why he went back into a life of crime, but I know that loving and forgiving him is so much better than hating him.  He will always have a special place in my heart.  And that is an example of how the Lord is still in miracle making business.  Left up to myself and my own resources I would still be hating him.  But the Lord does not want me to live in that bondage and I am glad that the Lord was able to soften my heart.  Now I can honestly celebrate each Easter as the Lord wants - with a forgiving heart.

Go back to your journal and record in it when the answers have come to your prayer requests.  Write how the Lord has answered them.  See how the Lord had a hand in every situation.  And may you always live a life that is good and acceptable to the Lord so that you may never be involved in a crime that lands you in jail and may you never become a victim of a crime.  By the grace of God we are free.  Salvation and a life eternal is yours.  Ask the Lord to save you and become your Lord of Lord and King of Kings.