Beauty for Ashes

Last year, LifeWay provided a women’s maximum security prison with Priscilla Shirer’s One in a Million Bible study for women enrolled in a program called Beauty for Ashes.

To be a part of the study, a woman must apply to the program and interview. She does not need to be a Christian, but she must be willing to give up TV for six months and do the required lessons, read the Bible, and journal about the teaching topics.

Beauty for Ashes asks for your prayers to continue to be the light of Jesus in a dark place. In this particular wing of the prison, the participants have been granted permission to hold hands as they pray and to hug if there are tears of joy or sadness. This is a mighty privilege and is never allowed in the rest of the prison.

Some of the women in the program are incarcerated for life, with no chance of parole. But the program also has women that are candidates for parole and it aims to lower the re-incarceration percentage. The women are allowed to decorate the classroom walls with Scripture, which is a privilege not extended to the other inmates in the rest of the prison. 

bfa_rentry_ladiese07dd8Photo used with permission from the BFA program

Here are some thoughts from the participants in the program:

M:  I learned not to be afraid or be anxious. God has a plan for me. He wants me to be still as I stand waiting for Him. I need to be silent as I watch for my next assignment. The most I got was not to complain. God loves me. I learned that when I am in a wilderness time, I should expect a miracle that glorifies God. I should not demand miracles. I read Exodus along with this. I know better than to complain while God is at work with me. Complaining gets me nowhere.

S:  It’s really been an eye-opening experience this week because I had to leave my “Egypt” (my old town and my family) and go to “Canaan”… because God has better for me. He doesn’t want me to be bound again. He set me free and he wants me to stay free. I’m excited about how God is going to use me in a powerful way.

L:  I am enjoying One in a Million so much!  It is really impressing on me how much God really does love me, which used to be a very abstract idea. With each week, I learn more and more about God and how He has been in my life, unnoticed by me, until now.  

C:  I believe I need to evaluate relationships I am in or near right now. It’s difficult being in prison because many things are beyond my control, like roommates.  I see no point in glorifying the old drug days, wallowing in the pits of things I can’t change in the “real” world from here, or complaining about the number of classes and their homework. This is a constant right now and is draining. In embracing my journey with God, I’m not supposed to be or get comfortable, especially in here.  Prison is temporary as is this earthly life. I’m learning I have to endure situations to learn for myself what is important. To ask God for strength and perseverance instead of a quick fix. And believe me—there is repeated daily prayer on this, from sunrise to sunset.

Please join us in praying for the women in the Beauty for Ashes program.


  1. says

    Wow! Just, WOW! I literally had chills while reading this and thinking about the trickle up affect of this kind of program. Heaven rejoices, and I am sure our Good Shepherd is rejoicing as He finds His sheep in this otherwise dark place. Thank you for sharing the study with them and for sharing the story, too!

  2. says

    What an amazing blessing and a priviledge to pray for these ladies and this ministry!
    It can become so very easy to take for granted our opportuinites for Bible study, this is a needed reminder that there are others who would give up privileges just to study God’s Word.

  3. Nanette R says

    This is so amazing and I am thankful for the miracles that have already taken place with the prison allowing the scripture on the walls and the study to take place and the physical touch among the participants. I am praying for these women and am thanking Jesus for being the One who sets prisoners free! Thanks for sharing about this.

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