Prison Ministry Report 1

Have you ever wondered what it was like to work with inmates at a corrections facility? Does the thought scare you? When God said He wanted me to do a prison ministry. I thought of everything bad that could happen and felt woefully inadequate. The Gideon’s International organization I was a part of began a Bible Study in the local corrections facility. I joined the prison ministry team a year later. God led me to write my healing testimony in Hope for Complete Healing, which I provide on this website. I gave this book to all the girls who came to our Bible Study to offer hope to these precious inmates.

Over the course of the next year, God was working on eliminating the strongholds in my life through a hostile layoff. So, I added the many strongholds God removed from my life to my testimony book. I have seen a miraculous change in my life and in the lives of the inmates.

The corrections facility has recently allowed volunteers back in after two years. In those two years, I published two books, Fighting Unseen Battles and Breaking Mental Strongholds. It is so good to be back to leading Bible Studies with these hurting women. We have completed four sessions so far this year. I will summarize each session to give you an idea of how we do our prison ministry.

The first week we had eight women, and only one girl knew nothing about the Bible or Christianity. We got to know the girls, what they like to do, and where they were in their relationship with God. Sandy is my co-teacher, and she taught that night out of Hebrews 12 about God’s discipline and His love. The inmates were eager to share their thoughts.

The second week, we had two girls come. Anytime two girls come, I know God wants to minister intently into their lives. One woman returned, Destiny, who knew nothing about Christianity, and a new girl, Kate, who grew up in the Amish community but left at 21 years old. They said others had signed up but were not on the list. I taught that week about how Jesus is the only one who gives us life and keeps us on the path of life. His spirit gives us understanding because the spirit of God knows the thoughts of God and will reveal them to us.

I began with Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” They already knew what the destructive path is, so I focused on the path of life, how to find it, and how to stay on the path of life. I had to explain what the Bible was, the difference between the old and new Testaments, an overview of the books of the Bible, who wrote it, etc. Destiny had a lot of questions. Kate said that no one ever explained the Bible to her, and she said she wanted to receive Jesus into her heart so she can be on the path of life. We went through the last page of the Gideon Bible and asked if she believed each scripture listed and she said yes, then she prayed to receive the Lord as her savior. How exciting! They sent her upstate to the women’s state penitentiary the next week. That was the only time we saw her. Please pray for Kate. Destiny did not know what sin was or understand who Jesus was, so she was not ready to receive Him. Please pray for Destiny.

One lesson I learned was to always pray for God’s protection from demonic forces. When you minister in a demonic stronghold, you must cover yourself with the blood of Christ and His protection, then when you leave, ask for all evil spirit attachments to be removed. We forgot to do that because we were so happy that Kate came to know the Lord as her Savior. The next morning, I could not wake up, I felt so tired. I went to my sister’s house, and she discerned I was being oppressed by demons, so she prayed over me, and they left. Then my feet and legs cramped, which I have associated with a demonic attack on my body. She prayed again, and it left. I called my friend Sandy, and she said she had the same experience.

In the third week, we had three girls, two new girls, and one from the first week returned. Destiny was not there. Some girls went home on probation or were sent to state prison. The girls that came said they knew Jesus as their savior. But one girl seemed to have a mental illness, which is not unusual because of drug use. Ashley was in a Texas state prison for several years and found the Lord there. When she got out, she got involved with the wrong people again. Now she is in our Bible Study and has rededicated her life back to God. Sandy taught about God’s love and the Beatitudes and how Jesus is teaching us how to live our lives. God touched each girl in a special way.

Teaching inmates is very rewarding. It is helpful to prepare lessons applicable to the needs of the inmates. Depending on the leading of the Holy Spirit is critical because each inmate has different needs. Next, be flexible because inmates come and go, and you may need to review or change the direction of what you planned based on the need of those who attended. Check out this post: Free from Anger–County Jail Testimony and Teaching to see how I ministered to an inmate who was extremely angry and wanted to kill her mother.

If you like these updates, I will continue to write about my experiences teaching at the county jail.

All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, please share this link with your friends and family; The information is copyright protected. Please do not reproduce any part of the posts or my book without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom and this website.

If you find this website helpful, you will benefit from the latest book. You can order Breaking Mental Strongholds on Amazon. Also, check out my book called Fighting Unseen Battles on Amazon. I would love to hear what you think. To learn more about my book, read: How to Fight Unseen Battles.

Contact me at, and ask for a PDF of Eight Life-changing Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. I will also send you the Lord’s Prayer Model to pray effectively. Please leave your name, so I know you are a real person making the request.


The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1John 3:8b). What are the works or schemes of the devil?

  • Deception, so we remain self-focused and unforgiving (John 8:44 and 2Cor. 2:10-11).
  • Temptation, so we sin and stay under God’s wrath (Col. 3:5-9).
  • He inflicts us with illness (Acts 19:12 ).
  • Entrapment to do his will and not God’s will (2Timothy 2:26).
  • Oppression (Matthew 8:16).

To not get caught in the devils schemes, Ephesians 6:11-12 states, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” What does a warrior do? A warrior trains and is prepared to fight.

I have been doing a series on the armor of God, but this is Easter weekend, and I want to remind you that Jesus has destroyed the works of the devil in your life. I like the following passage because it reminds me how to be victorious. Hebrews 12:1-2 states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus Christ is alive and is seated at the right hand of God. He gives us the spiritual authority to fight against the demonic spirit world and their work of deception and temptations. The following are four truths explaining why we have dominion over demons through Jesus Christ:

1.  Jesus has dominion over the demonic realm. This truth is found in Matthew 28:18, “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’” Every spiritual entity yields to Jesus. And 1Peter 3:22 states, “Who [Jesus] has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected [submitted] to him.”1 Because Jesus triumphed over the demonic ranks, so can we. Colossians 2:15 states, “He [God] disarmed the rulers and authorities [the demon ranks] and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him [Jesus].”Therefore, Romans 8:37b, “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

2.  We have the same authority as Jesus when we daily submit to His leadership: This truth is found in Colossians 2:9–10, “For in him [Jesus] the whole fullness of deity dwells in bodily form, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” Because Jesus lives in our hearts, we are “filled in Him”, and we have His deity and authority because He becomes our life as explained in Colossians 3:4a, When Christ who is my life appears.” And Galatians 2:20 states, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.” And 1Corinthians 2:16b states, “We have the mind of Christ.” If Jesus Christ has all authority, and He is our life, and we are one spirit with Him, then we too have His spiritual authority. The Bible says we have power over demons and evil spirits.2 Still, we do not have control over another person’s will to choose. This truth transformed my unhealthy belief and the resulting offenses I held against God for unanswered prayer. I prayed for people who were making wrong choices, and my prayers went unanswered because they have a free will.

3.  We have authority in Jesus’ name. This truth is found in John 14:14, “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” Also, Psalm 124:8 says, “Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” God will answer our prayers when we follow the parameters found in John 15:7–16; 1John 3:21–24; and 1John 5:14–15, summarized below:

  • We must abide in Jesus and live through Him, and His Word abides in us (John 15: 7)
  • We bear fruit (John 15:16)
  • Our heart does not condemn us because we please Him and love others (1John 3:21-24)
  • Our requests are submitted to His will (1John 5:14)

God’s sovereignty is difficult to understand because the thoughts and ways of God are above our understanding.3 Also, doubt and habitual sin block our prayers, so God may not respond to your prayer requests.4

4. We have the keys to the kingdom. Matthew 16:19 states, “I [Jesus] will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Also see Matthew 18:18.) When you have keys, you have the authority to lock or unlock your house or wherever the key fits. In the spirit realm, the kingdom’s keys allow you to bind (lock) or loose (unlock). The Greek meaning for “bind” is to tie or knit, and “loose” means undo or release. Jesus does not give specific examples. The Bible also uses the terms put on, which can be interchanged with “bind,” and put off for “loose.” Ephesians 4:22-24 states, “To put off [loose] your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on [bind] the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” In prayer, you must first loose or put off your old self consisting of wrong thoughts and false beliefs so you can bind or put on your new self that conforms to the truth of God and be holy.

ONLY as we submit to the Lordship of Christ Jesus do we have dominion over the demonic world. James 4:7 states, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” For example, as long as I worried about something, I was controlled and consumed by it. Satan was able to control my mind through that worry and keep me self-focused and in despair. He tempts me to imagine all the terrible things that will never happen, so I become angry. I let Satan steal my joy and peace. As soon as I submitted my concerns to God and put them in my “God Cares” box, then I could keep my mind on the things of God, and Satan could not torment me again. Satan cannot read your mind, but he does hear what you say. So RESOLVE to do what HEBREWS 13:15 says, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” Modern King James says, “Confessing His name.” King James says, “Giving thanks to His name.


Because you have the life of Christ in you through the Holy Spirit, you have His divine power and authority. So, when you keep your mind on Christ through continual prayer and praise and by faith apply His truth, you will remain in victory over every scheme of the devil. You will suffer defeat when you let your mind dwell on the troubles and allurements of the world. So, daily submit your mind to God’s control and abide with Him through prayer and praise. Be watchful for pride because it blocks Christ’s power in your life for victory over demonic activity.

Reflections and Applications:

Why do you think submission to God’s authority is the key to keeping our victory?

Why do we need to keep our minds on heavenly things and not earthly things?

Section Footnotes:

1.  Demons in subjection to Jesus: Heb. 2:7–8.
2.  Authority over demons or evil spirits: Mat. 10:8; Mk. 6:7,13, 16:17; Lk. 9:1–2.
3. God’s thoughts are greater than ours: Is. 55:8–9.
4.  Doubt and sin block prayers: Ps. 66:18; Is. 59:1–2; Jm. 1:6–7.




Spiritual Warfare 1: HOW TO DISCERN THE TRUTH


All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, please share the links with your friends and family, The information is copyright protected, and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom. 

If you find this website helpful, you will benefit from the latest book. You can order Breaking Mental Strongholds on Amazon.

Also, check out my book called Fighting Unseen Battles on Amazon. I would love to hear what you think. To learn more about my book, read: How to Fight Unseen Battles.

Contact me at, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, salvation for non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name, so I know you are a real person making the request.