Have you ever asked someone to pray for you?
I met with one of our Malachi Dads instructors, Dan Lane, recently. He had just completed a 12-week Malachi Dads course at Spalding County Correctional Institute. I wanted to meet to get feedback and say thanks. Dan was beaming, “Spencer, you’ll never believe what happened during last night’s class.” I sat up straight in my chair. “The men asked me to teach them how to pray.” For years, Dan’s been reading the same prayer every morning. He happened to have copies on him that day while he was teaching. He pulled out the paper and gave it to the men. He talked them through prayer, what it means, why we do it, how we can do it. He spoke of the importance of praying for one’s family each morning. “If my child can come to me and ask me to pray for them and I can honestly reply, ‘My child, I already have,’ how profound is that?” I couldn’t agree more, Dan. Malachi Dads is teaching men to train up their sons and daughters to be godly men and women. Dan emphasizes that men need to teach their daughters how to value themselves, how to build self-worth and confidence in an age of Instagram and mass insecurity. Children with an incarcerated parent are more likely to abuse drugs, be arrested, miss school, and be subjected to physical and sexual violence and predation. I recently read an interview of a man released from prison after two years: “It’s not us that suffer, it’s our families on the outside. And they’re the innocent ones.” Dan is molding men to be servants of God, stewards of their gifts, protectors of their families. We owe Dan a debt of gratitude. I asked Dan what it was like to teach, what the experience meant to him. He paused, adjusted his glasses, and looked me in the eyes. “This class fulfilled ‘why I’m on the planet type questions’ for me. I never see myself not doing this. You can see a softening in these men over the 12 weeks. A spark is lit inside them.” As Dan so wisely says, “God will let you go your way, which way do you want it to be?” Steeped in sin, miserable with the so-called “pleasures” of this world? Or do you want to live differently, have a purpose, find meaning and peace? These are the sorts of questions that one confronts when working with the incarcerated. These are the types of conversations that are changing the lives of people in the most desperate and desolate situations imaginable. Dan, thank you. You are building God’s kingdom. We need your support to help fund programs like Malachi Dads. These life-changing programs are surprisingly cheap – all we have to do is purchase books for each student. Dan didn’t charge us a cent for travel or his time. To support HeartBound programming, please consider making a recurring monthly donation by visiting www.givebutter.com/HeartBound. A $10 monthly donation allows us to buy 12-books in a year, 12 books that have the potential to change 12 lives, 12 families. Together, we can help restore men and women to our communities as changed individuals. If one mother or father returns home from prison and changes their family for the better, then we have done our job. Thank you and have a blessed day.