I spent this past weekend doing dream interpretation in prison with lifetime offenders—murderers, gang members, sexual predators—people that wouldn’t normally be deliberately scheduled on my social calendar. What a privilege, albeit a somewhat scary and challenging one!
Our team spent two 10-hour days aiming to encourage this group of people who definitely could use some inspiration and hope. We took in music, skits, creative teachings, nachos and cookies, and did many hours of dream interpretation and speaking life to hungry hearts.
It was a whirlwind weekend, forever etched in my memory because of the precious faces—some quite softened by the time they had done in a humbling place. It was our team’s pleasure to pour into them—many were desperate for ANYTHING uplifting to grasp onto.
Once word got out about what we were doing, the place quickly packed out and they had to keep turning the prisoners away. Granted, some of the men admitted they came only for the nachos and to ‘see some women’, but even those guys got loved on and got their socks knocked of when truth and love hit their hearts—right when they least expected it.
My team leader at one point asked me to step up and talk for 15 minutes to the 200 men. Normally, I tend to serve in the background, working one-on-one with individuals, and I experienced a moment of discomfort—I felt unprepared for such an assignment. But I stepped up to the plate and talked about breaking off the lenses of disappointment, something I have had to deal with in my own life.
Next, I gave a Mother Blessing—to all of those who needed to hear something positive from a MOM—folks that didn’t hear what they needed to from their mother, for one reason or another. It touched a lot of guys and the feedback afterwards was pretty overwhelming—forgiveness and healing happened, faces softened—you could feel relief in the air as tension eased. Tears of cleansing washed away years of pain and disappointment.
Now, it takes some time and effort to train and practice to interpret dreams and give accurate prophetic words for people, and there is a planning process to be invited into the prisons to speak with offenders.
But the reality is that in everyday life, we are each surrounded by ‘offenders’ who are not technically locked up, but they exist in some sort of prison, also needing encouragement and freedom.
Each of us is gifted—and responsible—in many ways to pay attention to the hurting world around us, and each of us has the power and the ability to make a difference in somebody’s life, every day.
Folks need freedom. They need encouragement, money, help in many forms—a friendly handshake, a look of love, a cheering on, a listening ear.
It is hard work to love on people sometimes, and it takes courage to step outside of our comfort zone. It is often quite inconvenient to make ourselves available to serve someone else.
But when we do, WE are the ones who really get blessed, instead of the other way around! When we give, we receive back more than we think is possible.
Prisoners receive freedom and hope when we set aside our comfort zones and pour into them—and we, in turn, stretch our giving muscles to mature us into giving giants. We get set free from our own routines and mindsets. It feels so good to give, especially to folks who could never repay us.
A huge, stretching opportunity in our path today may be just what WE need to break through our own confines of comfort. See it and accept the assignment, and watch your heart—and your life expand!
Dream Interpretation in Prison