Will the accused pleased stand the judge said. Jack stood up; he showed no expression as the guilty verdict was read. Peter Clarke a retired school teacher who sat at the back of the court room shook his head in sympathy. Jack was on his way back to prison to serve twenty years for armed robbery and aggravated assault, Jack seemed okay on the surface. He was a tough guy who knew about life on the streets. His mind went back to the day his mother was placed in a mental institution. His father was already in prison serving time for armed robbery. He promised himself he would never follow in his fatherís footsteps, but he did. He knew what it was like to grow up without a parent or guardian, no love, no supervision. There in laid his greatest fear, he was concern about the welfare of his children, his two boys. His heart ached for them. Their mother had died from a drug overdose a year ago. Although they were living with an aunt, she was also a drug user.
Two weeks later as Peter sat in his living room. The door bell rang; his wife answered and welcomed his friend of many years Mark Johnson, a Christian writer. Peter was delighted to see Mark. He immediately started telling Mark how much he enjoyed and was encouraged by his and other articles posted on Markís Christian website. As they chatted Mark sensed that his friend was burdened. He inquired. Peter decided to share what was heavy on his heart. He told Mark about Jack, who was the nephew of a deceased Christian woman who had shown him great kindness. Peter shared how her godly influence and advice put him on the right path after his motherís death. Peter was just twelve years old when his mother died. Peter felt indebted to her. Over the years he looked on as some of her relatives lives were devastated by drugs, crime and immoral living. He thought he should mind his own business and just pray for them. However, recently as he had been spending more time in pray, the Holy Spirit placed a strong desire in his heart to assist others. He wants to reach out to Jack and find a way to help his two sons, but he felt timid.
Mark touched his friendís shoulder and prayed with him. Peter was immediately freed from a timid spirit. Before he ended his visit Mark told Peter about prison fellowship and the many church groups and organizations that were assisting in the care of children of inmates and encouraged him to get involved. Peter decided he would visit Jack the next day.
Jack sat in his prison cell thinking of what Peter Clarke told him when he visited him two days ago. He had agreed to give legal guardianship of his children to Peter and his wife. But what Peter told him about Godís love seemed like a fairytale. Jack believed that God existed because this world seemed too well-thought out and planned to him. No way, he told himself could all this come together by a big bang. He struggled with thoughts of God loving him. He tried to resist giving in to this new desire to know God. He had listened attentively as Peter shared about Godís love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. That night he wrestled with memories of his past, the many wrong things he did. He hung in his head in shame as he remembered the women he abused and the victims of his many crimes. The demon spirits of doubt, fear and condemnation plagued his mind. Questions like could God really love and forgive me, can a gangster really change, would others accept me, would other gang members think he had gone soft in prison. Twenty years in this place he sighed. He felt hopeless. Thoughts of suicide bombarded his mind. Recently a prisoner killed himself. The darkness around him became even darker. His soul was in jeopardy.
At the Clarkeís residence, it was 11:30 p.m. Peter could not sleep. He felt restless. He sensed the Holy Spirit impressing him to pray for Jack. He shook his wife gently and asked her to agree with him in prayer for Jack. Together they touched and agreed concerning Jackís salvation according to Matthew 18:19. They rebuked in the name of Jesus as the Holy Spirit revealed to them the evil spirits that were oppressing Jack and seeking to prevent him from making a decision to follow Christ.
As they prayed, Jack suddenly experienced soberness of mind. He felt at peace, something he never experienced before. What Jack could not see was the evil spirits that fled from him as the angels of God gathered around him to minister to him the peace of God as the Clarkes prayed. It was now 1:30 a.m. in the morning many were asleep on earth. But in heaven there was great rejoicing as Jack accepted Godís forgiveness, embraced his love and submitted his life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Glory to God! Jack is free!