Hi! My name is Grant – let me tell you a little about how ‘Shemayah‘ came to be!
I work with Good News Jail & Prison Ministries, at the Salt Lake Metro County Jail. Growing from that ministry, I currently correspond with about 6 ex-Jail inmates that are now in Prison – everything from Local to Federal Prison, with a couple of years left of sentence to Life without Parole.
It’s a challenge to get Churches involved with Jail/Prison ministry as so much of the work goes largely unnoticed. ‘The best kept secret in ministry‘, we like to call it. Not that we don’t have anything to shout about – I think we have some of the most amazing God glorifying, life changing, Jesus saving stories to share! There is always something incredible happening in God’s kingdom and it’s often closer than we realize!
I decided to try to expand my correspondence and involve my local Church Prayer team praying for ‘my guys’. Like many Churches, we love to pray, but most people were clueless about anything regarding incarceration. I sent out two simple ‘Prayer Request Forms’ to each of my penpals – one to send back and one to give to someone else. I had absolutely no expectations that any would be returned, but wasn’t too surprised when a couple came back. They were forwarded to the Prayer Team and prayed for over the next month. The amazing thing was, the inmates were already including prayers for the people around them!
It dawned on me one day that it was no harder to email to 1 group, 5 people or 20 or 200. What if I could encourage more people to pray? It would be easy to add to and existing study group meeting, a family’s prayer routine or for an individual to step up to boldly intercede. But, I wasn’t sure if the idea was a nudge from God yet – until I started searching for domain names.
It would need a central access point, so I figured a website would be the key, hence the need for a domain name. Except, everything I could think of sounded like a weird Church name or an AA meeting. I remembered I stilled owned the domain name ‘Shemayah’ (which was the name of a Christian band I played about 15 years ago) – what did that mean again? Shemayah – ‘God Listens’. Subtle hint, or what?
That was enough of a kick start for me to run with it, so here we are! I don’t carry any expectations as God’s work does not come with any scale. If we only receive the sporadic reply from one of my original guys and they are held up in prayer to the King – Hallelujah! God is awesome! If it grows to hundreds, even thousand, the response is still the same – Hallelujah! God is awesome!
If you have made it this far through my spiel, I hope you prayerfully consider partnering with this ministry. I truly believe it can make a difference, maybe not one we always directly see, but part of a bigger picture of God’s amazing love for the lost. Matthew 25:35-40 speaks of this:
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’