Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Prison Ministry

Today I went to my training for a prison ministry. I really like the women who I work with but I find part of it intimidating. I do not get into evangelical praying. It came time for me to pray and I was like, "Oh dear. What do I say?" I was mellifluous and prayed long and loudly. I don't get it. When Orthodox Christians pray, we have some direct prayers. Some are long but I don't think that God gets into long prayers. I felt really silly telling God how great He is and mimicking my fellow attendants by reminding Him of how He parted the Sea and delivered His children from Israel, caused the frog plague on Pharaoh-- the frog plague was cool, etc. and will he please make this successful and bless our guests and bless us, start in on more how great God is, go back into it. It mentally taxing! I really wanted to say, "You keep my car running! You gave us life! Surely this is easier to help us get more money to get this running!" Or. . . simply ask and pray and meditate quietly.

A long time ago a rabbi told me that we pray because even though G-d knows what we need, it's like we are sitting at a table and you need to ask your host for things because he doesn't otherwise know you are hungry. "The fish is delicious! Will you please pass some more to me?" is different from, "Your home is so lovely, you work so hard for this party, you did a great fundraiser last year for the dance ensemble to go to England. . .I just really appreciate. . .and won't you please pass the fish down here?" It sounds like I am making fun of people who pray like this but I am not: for now it is just soooooo uncomfortable. At the next training I will be better.

I get to give a discussion on living as a Christian and keeping the Word in your heart and in your actions and life. As a mother, I pray constantly. The older my kids get, the more faithful I get. I pray in my mind as I cook, I pray when I drive not because I am a bad driver but because there is so much that can go wrong that doesn't. I read my Bible quite often-- both Testaments. I can discuss this pretty easily. The book on this also has tips on what to say. "All the honor of the daughter of the King is within." -Psalm 45:14

We had some political people drop by the house today to ask who we are supporting. I asked about their candidates' support of prison reform and reform on the court system and they said their men would deal with it better than the Republicans which is true.

I mentioned my prison work to several politicians a while back. Would you believe that only the Democrats asked me about it later? It's very frustrating because they actually care about it! This isn't bleeding heart liberal stuff-- I knwo thatmany who are incarcerated should be there, but I think that prisons need to be set up for punishment for the offender but also allowing them to return to their families. Conjugal visits? Yes-- I keep hearing how sexually charged they are and I think that people who have visits with spouses keep the spouses closer and less likely to fool around, and also allow the offenders to get the needed physical touch even if it's just once a month. Of course in the ministry I am not an advocate for the prisons, but my interest has pulled me to this. I believe that voting family members need to connect and form a grass roots effort to get the lawmakers attention and push for reforms. I have spoken to corrections officers who feel the same way, but they have said that they have to keep control at all times so whatever I push for, they need to be able to keep control.

I think that it was Reagan's period when the political parties polarized. Now I think that is changing. I know and respect a local politician who is pro-life and I am proud of his stance. There are a ton of Christian Democrats. Democrats for homeschooling (that need sot be worked on) and Democrats supporting business.

Now that I've rambled, I have to close. I have vespers and I need to study.

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