This month’s Champions for the Brokenhearted, we’re highlighting God’s heart for the prisoner and sharing with you some of the incredible work that has been done to bring hope to those behind bars.
Nick has a passion for prison ministry that was ignited years ago when he visited a maximum-security prison in Colombia. He was moved by a powerful encounter with a man facing a life sentence, who despite his circumstances, urged Nick to tell everyone about the freedom he found in Jesus Christ. As someone who was born without arms and legs, Nick could relate to the feeling of being trapped in a life-altering physical condition. His life has been a testimony for so many incarcerated men and women, bringing hope that their lives surrendered to Jesus Christ also have meaning and purpose.
For this month’s interview, Nick sat down with Jay Harvey, Director of the Life Without Limbs Prison Ministry, as well as an author, speaker, and pastor. After giving his life to Christ and overcoming an alcohol addiction, Jay found his calling to bring the hope of the gospel to those facing time behind bars. With decades of experience serving the incarcerated, Jay discusses how to work among the brokenhearted without becoming overburdened by the need. He expresses the importance of not operating out of his own strength, and relying on the Holy Spirit to take the emotional burden. What he has come to recognize is that everyone is just looking for hope. They want to know that their lives mean something and that they have a purpose.
That is why the Life Without Limbs Prison Ministry exists. So many men and women have discovered true hope and freedom despite their circumstances. Once they find Christ, they see that the real prison was spiritual. They understand the scripture that says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The discipleship curriculum, Free In My Faith, and Staying Free, were written based on responses received from inmates. As their true identity is uncovered, they are able to see that there is real hope, and that they too are invited into the abundant life. The LWL prison ministry calls men and women behind bars to be leaders and to find the purpose God created them for in Jesus. After going through the discipleship program, some go on to be facilitators for other inmates. Anyone can go into prisons and preach the gospel, but to be discipled by someone who truly understands their situation brings breakthrough on another level. The ministry is planting churches in prisons, led by the inmates themselves.
In 2022, Life Without Limbs produced their first short film, Luther, a story of a man’s journey finding Christ behind bars. The true story is a powerful illustration of the redeeming love of God and how He can turn our greatest pain into purpose. The film is shown in prisons across the nation and has brought hope to many searching for truth.
There is power in our testimony, because what God does for one, He can do for another. Testimonies like Confessions of a Felon are just a few examples of how the power of God is demonstrated in weakness.
Imperative in breaking down walls of division in prison ministry is cultivating a heart of humility and honor. Over the years, Jay and Nick have come to expect that they are not the only ones with something to offer. They have witnessed many men and women in prison who are walking in their giftings and being used by the Lord. Many of them have become the hands and feet to other inmates and their families. One such example comes from Darvous Clay, a former inmate who now helps lead Free In My Faith.
God loves the prisoner, and so do we. As members of the Body of Christ, we have the opportunity to make a huge impact in the lives of those who are reintegrating into society after being incarcerated. By offering a helping hand and a supportive community, we can help them navigate the challenges of finding work, securing residence, and adjusting to life outside of prison. If you feel called to serve in the prison ministry, we encourage you to reach out to your church or visit our Champions for the Prisoner webpage to learn how you can get involved. Together, we can be champions for the prisoner and bring the hope of Jesus Christ to those behind bars.