Sons, return to your father

Cheryl Harewood,

Added 18 February 2013


As they shared their songs, poems and testimonies, it was evident that the 19 incarcerated young men standing before me at Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds were passionate about their love for the Lord. Following a time of worship, led by Minister Andrew Brathwaite, they were invited to share. With that, one inmate got to his feet to sing the words of Kurt Carr’s song I Almost Let Go. The lyrics spoke for themselves as he belted out, I felt like I just couldn’t take life any more. My problems had me bound. Depression weighed me down. But God held me close, so I wouldn’t let go. His mercy kept me, so I wouldn’t let go. . . . And I am here today because God kept me. I’m alive today only because of His grace. . . . God kept me. . . . He kept me, so I wouldn’t let go. Soon after his song came to an end, three other inmates rose from their seats to share their own handwritten poems, and so the monthly Healing For The Soul Ministries service at Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds gave these men yet another opportunity to share and minister one to the other. By the time Minister Dianne Crandon of Sugar Hill Christian Mission Church and founder of Women Of Faith Ministries stood up to deliver her sermon, these young men were ready to hear the preached word. Crandon took her message from Luke 15, as she spoke of the Prodigal Son’s return to his father. She explained that while the young son had left the safety and security of his father’s house to live promiscuously, his father was happy to welcome him back when he came to his senses and returned home. She stressed that likewise, “Jesus is always willing to take back those who forsake Him, as long as they are willing to return.” Crandon noted: “There is danger in leaving God’s protection for the adversary. The Devil’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy, but God gives us life and life more abundantly.” She further stressed that apart from Christ we are all spiritually dead. Crandon pointed out the Prodigal Son came to his senses and returned home – perhaps with the scent of the pigs he was feeding still on his clothes – but the father did not hesitate to embrace him. “This young man came to his senses and it is my hope today that you too would let the Word of God come to your senses, for God is the source of your life,” she told the inmates. “The son wanted to return to his father after he saw his sinful condition. And even after telling the father he was not worthy, the father requested that he be clothed. We too need to be clothed in Christ’s righteousness. “We have an Eternal Father and when we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. He will not judge us as man judges. We can come to Jesus just as we are and God will deliver us.” “Are you willing to place your life in the hands of an unchangeable God?” she asked the young men. She asked them to let God become their source of life by totally surrendering their lives to Him and allow Him to clothe them in His righteousness. As a team member sang Just As I Am Without One Plea, young men walked the aisle for prayer and to commit their lives to God.

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