Prayer Needed: How One Prison Ministry is Bringing Hope to Inmates in the U.S.

Ask God to heal the wounded hearts of incarcerated men and women through the Bible-based trauma healing program.

When Dana Ergenbright, a training manager for American Bible Society's Bible-based trauma healing ministry, walked the long corridor of the prison—her footsteps echoing off the hard surfaces—she was struck by its starkness. There was no warmth, no softness, and no signs of hope.

Dana went to the prison at the invitation of a prison chaplain to co-lead a Bible-based trauma healing group for female inmates incarcerated for various crimes. These women all had deep emotional and spiritual wounds from traumatic events in their lives, so when they first joined the Bible-based trauma healing group, they were suspicious and tentative, wondering Can Jesus really heal me?

But as the women heard and discussed Scripture, composed laments, and drew pictures to help them express their pain, God began to heal their hearts! Jesus met them in their pain and gave them hope. They began to smile, and light filled their eyes.

Stories of life transformation like these are why we are partnering with prison chaplains across the United States, bringing the Bible-based trauma healing ministry to even more men and women behind bars.

Bible-based Trauma Healing for Inmates

American Bible Society has partnered with Good News Jail and Prison Ministry, training Good News chaplains to lead healing groups in the jails and prisons in which they minister. Using the Healing the Wounds of Trauma curriculum—which weaves together basic mental health principles and biblical truths—prison chaplains will help participants bring their pain and struggle into the light of God's Word for healing.

This past year, Good News piloted Bible-based trauma healing in jails and prisons in Omaha, Nebraska. They were extremely successful in bringing the healing power of Christ to people who were incarcerated. Now American Bible Society and Good News are expanding the ministry to train more than one hundred prison chaplains and volunteers to become trauma healing group facilitators by the end of 2018. These chaplains and volunteers represent one hundred institutions in twenty-two states, and they collectively annually serve six hundred thousand inmates in the United States.

Leading the Bible-based trauma healing group for the female inmates, Dana saw firsthand the impact God's Word can have on those behind bars. "I met God in a profound way in the faces and lives of these women. He is there, in the starkest of places."

Will you join us praying for incarcerated men and women to experience healing from deep heart wounds through the Bible-based trauma healing ministry?

Let's Pray Together:

  • Incarcerated Men and Women. Pray that God would heal the incarcerated men and women participating in Bible-based trauma healing groups. Ask God to fill their hearts with hope and joy amidst their difficult circumstances. Also pray that nothing would prevent inmates from attending and receiving healing.
  • Training of Prison Chaplains and Volunteers. Pray that chaplains and volunteers will be permitted to run healing groups in the institutions where they serve, and pray their trauma healing training will help them effectively minister to traumatized inmates. Also pray that trainees who complete the six-month process will be well-equipped to train other volunteers to run healing groups so that as many inmates as possible will receive the life-changing message of hope and healing.
  • Program Logistics. Pray that God would give the facilitators, especially in this first year of leading healing groups in prisons, wisdom in planning all the details—including receiving approvals from the prisons, appropriately sizing the healing groups, determining the most effective meeting length times, and finding safe meeting spaces. Also pray for God's favor, that facilitators would be embraced by the institutions, the guards, and the inmates.

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Nena Podbury
Nena Podbury

Nena Podbury is a Prayer Mobilization Associate at American Bible Society. Originally from the Bronx, she served in children’s ministry for 12 years doing Sidewalk Sunday School. Nena is married with two children, Noah and Emilia.

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