God's Intimate Relationship with the Incarcerated

Roger Jonker

At World Challenge, we’re always encouraged when we receive news of the amazing work the Holy Spirit does in prisons.  We were blessed tremendously to read the following letter written by an inmate to WC president Gary Wilkerson.  It has been edited and abridged slightly for length: 

I’m currently incarcerated in California’s Valley State Prison.  I’m writing to share a testimony of how the Lord used your father’s book Hungry for More of Jesus as well as your newsletters to minister to me.  I also want to share with you the work He has been doing behind these walls—how He is raising up a generation of men who look to walk as the bride of Christ, who hear the voice of God and obey, and who are hungry for an intimate relationship with Him.

My favorite part of Hungry for More of Jesus is where your father talks about our being called to dine at the King’s table.  It painted a picture of intimacy with the King.  I know it’s no small thing to be invited to the King’s table and asked to break bread with Him.  It’s a deep place of intimacy and communion.

One day as I lay on my bunk reading the book, one of my dormmates handed me a piece of mail.  It was addressed to me from World Challenge.  I was confused about what this was.  When I opened the envelope, I was surprised to see your name and photo in the bottom corner of the newsletter and “Home of David Wilkerson Ministries” written across the top.  At first, I didn’t understand how I got on your mailing list because I never sent a request.  But after a couple of weeks, I learned the Lord used my friend to mail a request to your ministry.  

It was the Lord’s perfect timing that I received your newsletter right when I was coming to the end of reading your father’s book.  I was blessed by [the] message titled “The Great and Final Separation.”  I’m in absolute agreement with the revelation you’ve received about God raising up a generation set apart for Him.  I hope you’re blessed to know the Lord is doing that very work here.  He is showing men here what it means to walk in a true relationship with Him.

It’s been about four years since the Lord first began to show us this revelation.  It started shortly after I was transferred to this facility, when some brothers and I were reading Heidi Baker’s book, Compelled by Love, and doing a Bible study.  During that time, the Lord strongly pointed out to us that the work of love Heidi was performing was solely through relationship with Him.  He was showing us that it’s only through a submissive relationship with Him that He will use us as a conduit of His love and power.

During this time, I noticed a shift in the themes of the messages being preached on the prison yards by the inmates, and in the chapel by both inmates and outside guests.  The focus was on having a relationship with the Lord—a relationship with Him that is defined by what He wants it to be, not by what we think it should be.  He desires a relationship that requires us to come into complete submission to Him.  

During these early stages, the Lord made a strong emphasis that a major part of walking in an intimate relationship with Him requires further submission to Him through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Without the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we will never come into the fullness of the relationship God desires to have with us.  And we will never operate in our full potential in ministry without His anointing.

We thank God for his faithfulness to inmates everywhere who choose to follow him.  We hope to hear more good reports of God’s work in the Valley State Prison and elsewhere.  If we do, we’ll post it here.