Freedom from fear of volunteering in prison

Living Christian Science Today

To share Christian Science with those in correctional institutions and help them witness to the power of Christ-healing is important work. But how does one have the courage to engage in this kind of outreach?

If we feel led to volunteer as a prison chaplain, but are hesitant because of fear, it’s helpful to ask ourselves, “Are these fearful thoughts from God, Mind, or are they an aggressive suggestion that I could lack safety, ability, or time?” Such fears can be eliminated if we prayerfully turn to our Father-Mother God and listen for divine Love’s plan for us to freely give, knowing that God doesn’t take us part of the way when our mission is to help and heal. When we serve Him, our success cannot be thwarted, because God never fails, and good is not overcome of evil.

I had to pray and listen earnestly the first time I volunteered to teach Sunday School to youth in a detention center. I walked in timidly, arm-in-arm with another Christian Science practitioner, because I was afraid I might be in danger. The result of that prayer was a realization that I was actually walking arm-in-arm with God, our Father-Mother—and I taught those imprisoned that they have the freedom to do the same.

One time, when certain guards and volunteers tried to steer youth away from our Christian Science Sunday School program by not informing them of our study times, telling them we were not credible and not allowing them to attend, we prayed to know that this holy work could not be stopped by hate or evil. We realized that to God, Truth, there is no error or evil. Since God is infinite and omnipotent, anything unlike Him is illusory and can have no real power over right activity.

The Bible says of God, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” (Habakkuk 1:13). Because God, Truth, has neither created nor knows a lie, then God doesn’t know a liar, and neither does He know anyone who can believe a lie. This understanding completely overruled those who were interfering with our institutional work. The administration of the facility soon recognized and put a stop to the undermining activity.

Spiritual liberty is a God-given right for all, including both inmates and chaplains—and guards, too. Praying to recognize and protect this right frees us from fear, willfulness, and complacency. As we claim for ourselves the same Mind that was in Christ Jesus, this prayer helps us to hear and follow Christ. When we humbly desire to do good and listen for God’s guidance, we can feel the Christ, Truth, that awakens us to realize we can overcome any evil with good. Then the only logical choice is to courageously rely on this good and go forward in serving God.

In the words of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, “Citizens of the world, accept the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God,’ and be free! This is your divine right” (p. 227).