Prayer videos used by inmates in Alaska
A group of men in Alaska devote themselves to pray for the world from an unlikely place: prison.
“Through doing time in prison, these men can actually impact nations,” says David Bales, Prayercast supporter and Bible study leader at a correctional facility in Alaska. Through his involvement in the prison, he has witnessed firsthand the transformative power of prayer in the lives of inmates and their communities.
In December 2019, Bales introduced Prayercast videos to the inmates during a prison ministry event. Since then, groups of inmates have been using the videos to guide their prayers for the nations as they meet to pray together each evening.
“When you get your eyes on the way God sees the world and off yourself, you start to realize that other people are way worse off than you are,” says Bales. “That actually boosts [the inmates’] spirits.
Every Friday, 15–30 men gather for a time of teaching and small group discussion. These weekly gatherings are organized by an international prison ministry called Kairos, but led by inmates. Outside of the Friday gatherings, these men meet to pray every night, using Prayercast videos as their guide.
Around March of this year, a smaller group of men in the minimum/transitional sector of the prison decided to gather and pray through Prayercast videos as well. There are now two groups of inmates in the facility dedicated to the mission of prayer for the nations.
The effect of growing in prayer goes beyond the prison walls and extends into the lives of individuals even after their release. One such example is the story of a man named Mike.
Prayercast played such a crucial role in Mike’s journey that even after serving his time in prison, he made every effort to get more Prayercast videos. When Mike didn’t have internet access in his transitional housing facility, he reached out to Bales in hopes to get DVDs to continue his daily prayer for the nations with the other men in his facility.
“He couldn't keep going without Prayercast,” says Bales. “He had an urgency to take it with him and continue that trend.”
Through the incarceration of men like Mike, God is allowing the unreached to be reached. Bales explains how many of the villages are nearly impossible to travel to, except by plane. He views Alaskan prison ministry as the backdoor to the rural villages. “The Lord leads them to me, and I’m able to reach them in prison,” he says.
If it weren’t for prison, these men might never have experienced the transformative power of Jesus Christ.
The situation in Alaska is complex, with numerous rural villages facing significant challenges. Substance abuse and poverty are prevalent in these communities. Several dynamics, such as political and religious denominations, have hindered the spread of the gospel to remote Alaskan villages. However, the regular pattern of praying has brought a glimmer of hope and encouragement to inmates, allowing them to intercede for their communities and the world beyond.
“The inmates marvel that they can actually be doing something that has an impact, even though they are stuck [in prison]. Through prayer, they are not stuck there, and that gives them joy.”
The good news is spreading within the prison walls, and the inmates are taking charge and ministering to their fellow prisoners. Let's pray for an unstoppable wave of inmates reaching inmates and for the development of ministries across the state prison system.
At one Kairos gathering, inmates read through a devotional written by Prayercast Director Chris Ruge. Download the devotional here. By using the resources provided by Prayercast, you can encourage your own congregation or community to engage in prayer for global issues and specific needs. Together, we can make a lasting difference through prayer.