Home » Fiction & Literature » Elizabeth Ryder Wheaton » Prisons and Prayer, or a Labor of Love

May 26 , 2010

Prisons and Prayer, or a Labor of Love


Dear Reader: Over twenty years have passed since God called and commissioned me to go to those that were bound. Within five years from the time I entered upon the work, I had been enabled to preach the gospel in every state and territory and had held meetings in nearly every state-prison in the United States and in the prisons in Canada and Mexico. My first trip to Europe was made in 1890. I have not only held meetings in prison, but have endeavored to "preach the gospel to every creature"—to those in authority, governors, prison and railroad officials, and trainmen, as well as to those in churches, missions, prisons, hospitals, alms-houses, dives, brothels, saloons and the slums. In all places God has fulfilled His promise to be with me and has given me evidence that my labor was not in vain in Him. When I was made to feel that the Lord required me to write of the victories He had wrought and of the work yet waiting to be done I was amazed and am still, though it is more than ten years since God first told me to write for Him. Early left an orphan, my childhood was spent in the country where I had to walk two miles across the fields and through deep snows in order to get to school, and my life-work has been crippled by my lack of education. How then can I write? Yet the command of the Lord has been upon me and the cry of the needy has rung in my ears. Words cannot describe the cruel wrongs, the awful injustice, the scenes of desolation and degradation that have come to my knowledge. Much has been done, much is being done; and yet, O how much still needs to be done, in behalf of those in prison! Wrongs that are indescribable still cry to God for vengeance in this our own land. Cruelties that are beyond the power of language to describe still exist, and the cry of the oppressed comes up to the ear of Him who has declared "Vengeance is mine, I will repay."
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