The Power of Persevering Prayer

"When Dave the vicar gripped me it was better than any heroin hit." That is the remarkable confession of Roy Wiggett, a prisoner at Lewes prison in the south of England, the site of a spiritual revival that has spread to prisons across Britain. It is a wonderful testimony of the power of faithful, persevering prayer. The story begins like a page out of the book of Joshua. Local volunteers from Prison Fellowship in England had long desired to minister in tough Lewes prison. But they had been refused the opportunity by, of all people, the prison chaplain. The volunteers were undeterred. Following the example of Joshua's army, they decided to walk around the outside of the penitentiary, praying for the spiritual walls to come down. For 10 long years they persevered, walking and praying, trusting God to do a work in the prison. Then, two years ago, their prayers were answered when a new chaplain, David Lowe, was appointed to Lewes. David is a gifted evangelist who immediately set to work preaching in the prison. He also invited Prison Fellowship to work alongside him. The results have been nothing short of astounding: More than 500 inmates?as well as prison officers and the relatives of inmates have made professions of faith in Christ. One prisoner was incarcerated for assaulting his wife. On a supervised visit to the prison, the wife met the chaplain at the gate. He escorted her to the prison chapel where she was to meet her husband. Upon entering the chapel the woman remarked how peaceful it was. David replied: "Yes, and would you like that peace for yourself?" The woman replied: "I've never had peace in my life." David then had the privilege of leading not only the woman, but also her husband to faith in Christ. The changed lives of many of the prisoners have utterly transformed the atmosphere at Lewes prison. As the London Telegraph reports: "In the last 12 months fights between inmates have dropped dramatically. Half the prisoners ‘touched by the spirit' have written to apologise to their victims." What's more, converted prisoners transferred from Lewes have spread the revival to other prisons. According to the Telegraph: "Chaplains at 10 other prisons say they are experiencing the same revival." What lesson can we draw from the extraordinary revival we're seeing in British prisons? No matter how grim things look in our culture, we must never despair. We must not lose heart but continue to persevere in faithful prayer, for our God delights in moving in the unlikeliest of ways. He will accomplish great things when we least expect it. And there is nothing greater than to see transformed lives, like that of Roy, the former heroin addict, who says: "I'm facing 12 years for what I have done. But it will be all right. God will be with me." God be with you, Roy. And let's pray, with faith and perseverance, that the winds of revival blowing through England's prisons will reach our shores as well.  


Chuck Colson


  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Sign up for the Daily Commentary