LETTERS OF ENCOURAGEMENT TRAINING
- Be sure each writing team member has a saving faith, one who is born again and has a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Find out their testimony. Interview them so that the inmates hear from someone who truly knows Jesus. If they do not, this is a good time to share the Gospel with them. As they mature in their faith they can later return to this ministry.
- Each team member needs to be continually growing in his or her faith through Bible Study, personal quiet time and prayer.You can only lead people as far as you have grown. This is not a ministry for new believers but someone who is mature in Christ.
PROCEDURES FOR PRAYER AND LETTER WRITING:
- In-Prison team members will return prayer request cards from the prison to the church. Completed prayer requests are placed in the folder to be divided up by the team leader.
- The prayer requests are divided up and bundled with a blank form placed on the top labeled with each team member’s name on it.These prayer requests are private and confidential!
- Please complete the form in the proper order.Initial and date the appropriate space and immediately pass it on to the next name on the form. Please place all completed requests, with completion date back into the ministry leaders folder so he/she knows when it was mailed and completed. They also will know how to preach according to the needs of the imates. **Please make every effort to complete within one week from the Prison date.This may be the few times the inmates feel valued and loved.
- There are stamps, envelopes and paper provided by the church. The church name and address is the return address on the envelope. Your personal information should remain private. This is all done through the church and its team members.
Tips for successful letter writing:
First of all set aside time to
Pray, Pray, Pray!
THE POWER IS IN THE PRAYER.
for each inmate and their request, don’t just write them without praying FOR them.
for your words, that they come from the Holy Spirit and pray for the ministry team.
Allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you
you begin to put pen to paper.
***Important - Please do not write until after you have prayed for their request. Pay attention to what God puts in your mind during prayer.
Do not use fancy words or big theology. Keep it loving and simple using scripture. I recommend you do not use the King James Version of the Bible. Its wording is difficult for inmates to understand. If you were talking to a prostitute on the corner, or a thief or a murderer – how would Jesus relate to them? In love!
Mother Teresa once said:
“I am nothing but a pencil in God’s hand.”
Let God do the writing.
It helps to keep a notebook: listing each prisoner’s name on the top of a blank page so you can keep track of who you have written. Remember, this is confidential, use initials if necessary.
Keep track of the prisoner’s requests including date and the verses that you used to respond.
(Example) John Doe or John D.
Bible Verse given:
Pray for his court hearing.
Trust in the Lord, he is not alone.
Write CLEARLY. Some inmates have difficulty reading and have bad eyesight. These cards most likely are first read by the officers for security. Keep it simple and loving, guiding them through scripture alone. DO NOT GIVE ADVICE!
the name and ID on the envelope.
- Keep your letter brief, yet thoughtful.
- Do not ever use a form letter, write each letter personally.
- Do not lecture, scold or advise, only encourage them to seek the Lord.
- Do not share any of your personal information about your family, address, city or phone number.
- Do not let the inmates contact you personally. Tell them it is against policy.
- ***Do not become emotionally attached to the inmate or let an inmate become attached to you. If you are a male writing to a female, we use a fake woman’s name as the author instead. Same for men. Use only your first name and use the same name each time.
- Close each letter with a “positive attitude” encouraging them to trust God and close using ONLY your first name.
Tips on what to write:
Ask God to help you set time aside each week to serve God in this ministry.
Please do not rush this because of lack of time.
Please commit yourself to learning scripture, pick up a “quick scripture reference” book to help you locate appropriate scripture.
A “Topical Bible” is very helpful or you can look in the back of your Bible for page numbers by topic.
I cannot emphasize enough, you will learn of some of their crimes and sin,
PLEASE DO NOT teach, lecture or counsel
but let’s love them using only God’s Word. We want them to seek the Lord, rhey will find out soon enough in scripture.
We want to encourage them to attend prison church as well begin Bible Studies that may already be happening inside of the prison.
In some prisons, they can request a donated Bible from the Chaplain, Pastor or Director if they don’t have one. Ask the churches to donate Bibles.
Please direct them to read the Bible, but they don’t have to start at the beginning. They will become frustrated if they do. Have them start with John or Mark then move on to Acts in the New Testament. They can begin to share now with other’s what God has done for them in their life.
you have been hand picked
to carry out this important ministry.
By taking this responsibility seriously, we are reflecting our “high view” of God.
These inmates wait daily for a response to their request, many feel rejected and alone.
They are in desperate need of prayer and a friend. Lets not keep them waiting any longer!
Matthew 25: 36, 40
Tells us working with prisoners is really serving Jesus himself…
“You visited me…you did it for me.”
This should motivate us to stay faithful and consistent, to write notes joyfully, and to keep healthy boundaries emotionally.