14 Short Stories of Progress and Healing Inside California Prison Walls

True Stories - Inspiration and Healings from Inside California Prisons

“Wonderful healings are continually taking place… at all of the facilities”.

These are the words of one of our Christian Science Chaplains who ministers to several prisons and jails. But think deeper about this: spiritual healing is much more than a changed physical or bodily condition. It’s the evidence of spiritual transformation taking place—that is where the divine nature (of God) displaces the selfishness, fear and darkness that inhabits the mortal consciousness producing illness and constant internal and external strife. And because of transformation, healing, redemption and harmony-restored are the consequence.

Just think of it…the healing work being done in our prisons and jails impacts not only the inmates or those working in the prisons and jails, but also the prison system itself. So yes, this is a BIG deal.

The chaplain goes on to say: “But what touches me the most is the opportunity to present the Christ, the Comforter, to the receptive heart, as the seed has been sown and we’ll rejoice in the harvest”.

When an inmate serving time in Southern California heard the name of our website (lightinprison.org) he liked the name so much he felt inspired to write down an acronym for the word “light”. So he wrote the following on a small piece of paper and gave it to our chaplain. LIGHT: Life is God’s harmonious thoughts.

Wow. We couldn’t have said it any better. Because in five short words he pretty much sums up where our Christian Science Chaplains and workers get their inspiration from in order to do the work they do.

You’ve probably heard the phrase that “people get religion on the inside”. And it’s true. Sometimes inmates come to talk with our chaplains, or attend a lecture because they’re lonely. And on the flipside, many inmates do read the Bible and Science and Health or the Christian Science Monitor or other Christian Science literature for comfort and inspiration. But do they stay with it once released? Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. (But regardless, the seed is sown).

When inmates are released they go back to the county where they were sentenced. And no, our chaplains don’t inquire as to someone’s release date or location of their release.

But that doesn’t stop the inmates from sharing information with the chaplains.

Here’s what one chaplain said: “As we finished our one-on-one visit (the inmate) opened his copy of Science and Health and showed me a copy of an “ad” from a newspaper regarding a Christian Science lecture (in this town), which he and his family were planning on attending. He said he was looking forward to getting involved in a Church and learning more each and every day, step by step to a bright tomorrow…….All must be well!”

This same chaplain also said, “I meet with another inmate who was being released during the week and he also had the same ad from the same newspaper with him, and said that he was planning on being there for the lecture. This is the first time I have experienced inmates cutting out a C.S. Lecture “ad” from a newspaper…very inspiring and a wonderful expression and demonstration of hope and faith”.

Keep reading. Because we think you’ll like the stories that follow—stories of spiritual victories won. We hope they touch you heart and bring a little “light” to your day.

And if you’d like to post comments just scroll to the bottom of this column.

Thanks for reading,

David signature

David Fowler
Editor, LightinPrison.org

This is pretty amazing…

One of our chaplains asked an inmate if he would rewrite a Psalm according to his own understanding and interpretation. The man choose the 23rd Psalm. And he gave us his permission to share it with you. It’s a modern day version of this most loved Psalm definitely written from the heart…

Psalm 23 

The Lord is the shepherd of His people–

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He wakes me up each day according to His purpose and will for me–

He leads me in love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control!

He restores my Soul each day to endure my trials and tribulations.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake. 

Each day I wake, I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  I will not fear evil or man’s schemes, for You are with me and I know, trust and believe with the upmost faith in You and your promise, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”  Father, your everlasting promise stands forever to protect your children who abide in you.

Father, your rod and staff they comfort me and lead me not into temptation–Each day You prepare a table by me in the presence of evil man/my enemies…Your precious word anoints my whole Christ-like body till my cup runs over.

Surely your goodness and tender mercy shall follow and protect me all the days of your purpose for my life.  I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Amen!

— Signed “B”

Short stories/good endings

Every month we receive stories from our volunteer Christian Science Chaplains ministering in our State Prisons, County Jails and Youth Detention Centers. We love reading these short stories of spiritual transformation and resulting healing, and we hope you do too…

  • A chaplain reported that one of the women she visits in a women’s prison said that this month she has been healed in Christian Science of monthly pain and hemorrhaging. She reported that this result has been consistent since she has been studying Christian Science.
  • In one of the pods in this particular prison there were about a half dozen or more men that had come to get the citations for the week’s lesson. (There were so many requests for literature that the chaplain had run out!) So as the inmates were talking about how Jesus taught us to love our neighbor—even our enemy—suddenly one of the inmates turned to another and said, “That’s why I like you, because you don’t like me.” 
  • During a weekly visit with an inmate, the chaplain heard a man apologizing for shielding his eye from the overhead light. He explained that his eye was hurting, and sensitive to the light. The chaplain asked if he were taking any medication for it. He said he was. The chaplain explained that she could offer Christian Science treatment, but only if that was the only treatment he was using.  But then the conversation moved on to other ideas. However, the next week the chaplain met with this man again. This time he said his eye had been healed through prayer.  Here’s how he described it: “My eye was really hurting, and I couldn’t go to sleep.  I told the deputy on duty about it.  Then I decided to pray. I thought that it doesn’t make sense that my eye should feel this way.  It’s backwards that light would hurt and dark be comfortable, because light symbolizes God, who is all good, and darkness is the opposite.  So why am I hiding in the darkness, and avoiding light? There’s no need to do this. I decided to stop thinking about my eye and rest. I fell asleep and slept comfortably. The next morning, the nurse brought me some medicated drops to use on my eye.  I thought I would try them. But when I did, my eye became red, painful, and sensitive to light, again.  I remembered praying the night before, and how the pain went away.  So I stopped using the drops and reviewed the way I’d prayed before.  Within a few hours, my eye was just fine, with no more pain.”
  • One inmate shared with the group that he had a horrific toothache; and that he was praying very hard for God to take away the pain. He said he was up all night in pain. The other inmates were all aware of his discomfort. But after praying he said the pain subsided. He has read the testimonies in the Christian Science Sentinel and has become very interested in just how he came to be healed.
  • A chaplain reported that after a number of years of meeting with an inmate and seeing him grow spiritually by reading the Bible and the Christian Science Textbook, Science and Health, by Mary Baker Eddy, he said that he no longer takes any of the medication that the prison had prescribed for him.  He now says he feels wonderful and has no more problems with depression now that he sees the Truth about himself and his relationship with God.
  • One inmate had been experiencing stomach problems for quite a while. The chaplain had given him the book, Science and Health some time ago and reminded him of the importance of turning to it whenever he faced a challenge. So he did. The chaplain told him to read the first page of the first chapter in the book as well as the definition of man which is on page 475. When he went to the doctor again, who had originally diagnosed him with ulcers, the doctor told the inmate that the ulcers were now gone. And the pain that the inmate had been experiencing was also gone. The inmate said, “God can do all things and I never allowed myself to believe otherwise.”
  • An inmate who has recently been reading and studying Science and Health, was contacted, after 20 years of being in prison, by an organization that helps wrongfully sentenced inmates get released from prison. This was something that he never expected and was, of course, very grateful for this wonderful example of a need met.
  • A greater section of the inmates who were studying the Christian Science Bible Lessons, were given lighter sentences and were transferred to other facilities for different programs: training in suitable work related skills, including behavior skills. This prompted a new group of inmates to begin studying the CS Bible Lessons every day.
  • There has been some great progress from one of the EOP inmates who was cleared to mix with general population and come to the services in the general population chapel.  His attention span which was supposed to be about 5-10 minutes is now the full hour, and he reads and shares what he’s finding in the weekly Bible Lesson and other CS writings. 
  • One very “challenging” inmate used to ask contrary questions of the other inmates studying the Bible Lessons. This has now stopped and he expresses greater joy and understanding. The intellectualism faded and sincerity and more humility has been evident. He said, “Even when I was on the outside and had every human possession one would want, I had not felt the kind of genuine joy I feel now. There is a lightness and the depression I have struggled with since I entered prison is gone. I feel I have purpose and am gaining spiritual understanding. I am very grateful!” And he now readily agrees with Biblical teachings.
  • An inmate who the chaplain had been studying Christian Science with for about a year is now sharing a cell with his younger brother.  One day, the inmate was trying to read the Bible, but the younger brother was very agitated, and it was distracting. The older brother prayed silently for his younger brother, thinking about the “fruit of the Spirit,” as described in the Bible by the Apostle Paul (Gal 5:22.)  He particularly thought about peace, and how it is God’s gift to all His children.  As he reasoned and prayed this way, the younger brother became calm. He then picked up his Bible, and began to read.  After about 10 minutes, the younger brother commented (about himself), “Huh…I wonder where all that (negative) energy went that I had a while ago?” The older brother remarked, “You just experienced a Christian Science healing.”
  • One inmate got his healing – He told the chaplain, “No more earache!”
  • An inmate requested treatment for a toothache he was praying about.  Prayer was given. The next week he said there was no more pain in the tooth. 
  • One inmate who had been attending services early in the year, was transferred to a mental facility. However, he has returned and is finding great help in our Bible Lesson study sessions.  He is grateful that (with his spiritual understanding) he is now able to walk without a walker whereas before the doctors said he was going to have to have an operation to just be able to walk with the walker.  Now they have told him the operation is no longer needed.  He is on fire with his love for God and how he is progressing. 

Feel free to share these stories of healing with your friends and church community!


Header photo by powelli

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10 thoughts on “14 Short Stories of Progress and Healing Inside California Prison Walls

  1. George Birdsong Reply

    These are wonderful testimonies of the healing and redeeming power of Christian Science. loved the 23 Psalm rewritten from the heart. thanks for sharing.

  2. Kane Carol Reply

    Thank you so much for posting all these wonderful healings! I hope it is okay to share some of them with two gentleman to whom I write on a regular basis as part of our church’s institutional ministry. They are incarcerated a long distance away from me and, therefore, my only communication is via a monthly letter. I think they will be very uplifted by the experiences of these inmates and encouraged to continue studying the weekly Bible Lessons.

    • David Fowler Post author

      Thanks Carol…please share these stories with our blessings. –David

  3. Stuart Reply


    Very heartfelt newsletter … I felt the inmates pain and their healing.

    The comfort and hope that your organization is creating for the inmates is glorious!


  4. Evelyn Reply

    These healings address one of the most important issues of our day – overcoming the recidivism rate that keeps sending these individuals into a system they can’t get out of.
    Yet, God’s children are upright and god-like. Whatever shows an individual his/her God-given integrity and uprightness has to bless everyone.

  5. Clementine Suiffet Reply

    I really appreciate all these examples of how prayer is transforming people’s lives. What stood out to me was an inmate’s rewording of the 23rd Psalm. One phrase got me thinking about a personal transformation: “He leads me in love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.” All these qualities are examples of a life renewed, transformed.

    I had a character transformation where a change in attitude resulted in the healing of a physical heart condition and of panic attacks. The heart palpitations were frightening. Sometimes I felt I was going to die. The panic attacks would cause me to stop what I was doing. If I was driving, I had to pull over. If I was shopping, I had to leave the store. During this time, I learned that the physical problem wasn’t the real need. The real need was to renew my attitude in life.

    I had a problem with being impatient. Temper tantrums ended up distancing myself from the ones I loved. A transformation was being called for and I didn’t know it at the time. I prayed with a Christian Science practitioner and ugly traits were coming to the surface. It took time to renew my ways. Gradually, I learned to be more patient, to love what I was doing or where I was or who I was with. An appreciation for life was the beginning of my transformation.

    I learned to love myself for who I really was – the way God made me to be as His worthy, loved child, full of ability to bless those around me. I felt God’s infinite patience with me. I learned to stop being absorbed in me, my problems, and focus on living for others. Long story short, the heart palpitations and panic attacks were no longer impressing me. They became insignificant. Whenever the symptoms came on, I took a very strong stand, mentally and physically, knowing that they could not define who I really was – complete and free as God’s child.

    Long story short, the physical problem is gone. I lead a physically active life doing what I love doing -working as a Christian Science nurse which requires many physical duties, including lifting and moving skills. The real lifting going on is not physical. It is a constant moving of my thought to a higher level– one that loves each person the way God made him/her -perfectly able, whole, free.

  6. Kendra Lee Reply

    I love reading about the help prisoners are receiving. It is so wonderful. They are finding
    out the true Light that is available to them even in that dark place. Thank you chaplains.
    Lee S.

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