God Opens Prison Doors… and Prisoners’ Hearts

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Don and Debbie saw God open prison doors and prisoners’ hearts at the 33rd Street prison in Orlando, Florida. With Don’s permission, I’ve adapted his original account (see The Magician’s 5 Miracles on Cru.org).

God Opens Prison Doors

Gathered in the parking lot with the prison chaplain and with others who came to minister at 33rd Street Prison, Don and the group prayed that God would be with them and would be glorified.

Entering the check in facility, the guards took their car keys and driver’s licenses, as expected. Don explained he had some magic props to do a show, for those inmates interested, and some Christian books in a box.

The friends with Don had warned him that they were never allowed to bring in Gospel tracts, let alone books or any other items. They were astonished when the guards said okay and gestured for them to proceed. Don began to tally the miracles in his head. This was number one.

They passed through several sealed isolation chambers. Heavy barred doors slid shut with a tremendous thud and solidly latched behind them. Then the next immense door unlatched in front of them, sliding open for them to pass. In each chamber, guards observed every move through bulletproof glass windows. Don said of these chambers, “I must admit it was a frightening feeling and I was in constant prayer that God would use this in a way that would be pleasing to Him.”

They came to a common, but unoccupied, room in the men’s juvenile area. Soon, 21 young men, clad in prison overalls, entered the room with 4 guards and the prison chaplain. Don described the young men, “Some of them seemed like just boys, but all of them seemed hardened well beyond their years. The expressions on their faces appeared untrusting and cynical. I am sure some came as a diversion just for something to pass the time and others were curious.”

God Opens Prisoners’ Hearts

The guards gave the signal to go ahead with the program. Don could sense the men were not interested in what he had to say, but the atmosphere lightened up as Don had several volunteer for his magic tricks. Soon they were almost able to forget where they were and were laughing and having fun. Don called this miracle number two.

Next, Don performed illusions illustrating the truth of Jesus’ Resurrection and His claims to be the Messiah. Don related what happened next: “Even the guards could sense something amazing was happening here. A hush covered the room as all attention was focused on the gift given through Jesus’ sacrifice. That day the Holy Spirit moved 10 of those 21 young men to pray to receive Christ as their Savior. Praise the Lord! Miracle number three.”

Don decided to trust God for another miracle. From the front of the room, he respectfully asked the guards if the group could give each young man a copy of Josh McDowell’s More Than A Carpenter that covered more about Christ’s claims to deity. The guards hesitated, but one guard looked through a copy of the book and said he thought it would be all right. God performed miracle number four.

As each prisoner came up to receive his book, one picked up two books and asked if he could have one for a friend. Two guards immediately and loudly replied, “No! There won’t be enough for the entire juvenile division, so only those who attended the program can have a book.”

Don 940Don asked how many men were in the juvenile division of the prison. He felt goose bumps on his arms when the guard said 80. Don explained, “God for some reason had told me to put two boxes of books in the car that day… exactly 80 books!”

Don retrieved the other box from the car and every young man in the juvenile division received a More Than A Carpenter book. This was the fifth miracle.

Don concluded, “God doesn’t ask us to do the impossible. He asks us to be obedient and completely dependent on Him.  He will demonstrate his power in signs and wonders that bring us and others closer to Him.”

We know you enjoyed meeting Don and Debbie, our friends from work. They’re a special couple with a unique ministry. Learn more about Don’s ministry. 

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