When The Offering Overflows
Updated: Jul 4
“The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.” Joel 2:24
Several years ago, my mom received a word that she would be involved in prison ministry. I remember her telling me about it with zero passion sparked in her heart. And just like God, the word came back to her a few months ago by the person who spoke it over her originally. But this time our ears perked up when I heard the confirmation for myself. Then, in December, when we were preparing a follow up meeting with some of our sisters from a recent prophetic group we’d led together, I had a vision of shackled hands holding a book open that contained a handwritten note on the inside cover. I was telling my mom about it and we came up with the idea that we’d ask the women to donate books they had about Jesus or the Christian walk and write a blessing or prayer inside of them for the inmates at the county jail. At this time, we had no contacts with local law enforcement, nor did we know if there was even a library inside the jail… we were just fueled by faith! With our feet tracking forward on this new pathway, we shared the vision and asked for hearts to join us in this venture to shine a light in a dark and hopeless place in our city. As we began to connect a few of the God dots, it occurred to me that He very well could have positioned all of us together at this exact moment in time, because He is desiring to reach captives in this specific hour and location. Soon after, the outpouring of love and book donations began to pile up in my living room.
On a personal level, I was unable to fall asleep for many nights as the weight of these imprisoned souls began to lay heavy upon my heart. I started to cry out for them and make a place within me that God would strengthen and then deposit something divine that soon would be birthed into the world for His glory. At first, I was feeling guilty that I had not prayed for the inmates or had a compassionate heart that was aware of this specific people group. But the Holy Spirit showed me it wasn’t true. Since we moved to Georgia five years ago, I’ve had multiple hearings at the courthouse every year and before each one of those meetings, I would circle it in my car and pray for God’s mercy and justice in the days and weeks leading up to the hearings. Though it was never directly on my radar, the county jail is right next to the courthouse and was always included in the loop of my drive-by soul petitions. The Lord began to speak to me about the proximity of places and people who surround the epicenter where His Spirit breaks out. He highlighted that places where He has moved in power in the past, He is still moving close by in a new way and through different circumstances. I saw that through the open courthouse doors, there was one at the very end of a corridor that had bars across it. I didn’t know it at the time, but the access He granted me in the courthouse was also a key to the door across the street for a future ministry. Praise Him!
Through prayer, I was beginning to see faces and hear stories of those being held a few miles from my house. In the meantime, through the networking of saints, we managed to connect with the deputy in charge of the volunteers at the county jail, and she scheduled a time for us to come by and drop off the donated books. The Sunday before our scheduled meeting, our pastor started the service with a photo of inmates kneeling in prayer at a state prison. The temperature of my heart began to rise as he went on to testify of a movement of God currently happening in prisons around the country. I knew I had to tell our pastors about our upcoming local assignment and the Holy Spirit wasted no time in arranging for a quick partnership at the end of the message. They gave us 20 brand new books straight off the merchandise table without question or hesitation. My faith was on fire to watch God advance and increase this offering for those He jealously loves. I wish I could detail and mention every person who has given their heart away to this mission that seemingly popped up out of nowhere and took off at the speed of holy light. If anything has been made clear to me, it’s that God is in full pursuit of hearts in captivity.
Even as I held my pen to write words of encouragement in each book, I began to tremble at the overwhelming presence of God’s love rushing in on those who will read His words and be touched by His grace and forgiveness in the midst of their despair. What a privilege it is to be face-down on the threshing floor when He fills the room with His abundance. And what an honor it is to be drenched as He cascades His new wine and oil over readied vessels who are going where He leads.
My prayer for us is that God finds us doing exactly what He's asked us to do and in these hours where the hearts of humanity groan and wail, that we'd not only observe, but respond. May we go and be His light.