From Prison to Palace

An Amazing Fact: The anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to overthrow the state.IMAGE-DESCRIPTION-HERE But after spending 27 years in confinement, he was released—and later voted in as the first black head of state in South Africa. Mandela once said, “In my country, we go to prison first and then become president.”

“Only four months to go,” Matthew thought as he sat on his prison bunk. He was already planning what he would do as soon as he was released. First, he’d get a little money somehow. Then he’d get high.

But God was making different plans! Before his sentence was up, Matthew would experience a life transformation—and your compassionate gifts for Amazing Facts evangelism helped make it possible. Incarceration is a huge problem in the USA. More than 2 million inmates are locked up right now—that’s about how many people live in Houston! The number of people in jail and prison has shot up 500 percent over the past 40 years.

Yet God sees every prisoner, understands their need, and wants to save every one of them. The truth is, we’ve all been “imprisoned … under sin’s power” (Galatians 3:22), locked up by the devil’s deceptive chains. Unless Jesus sets us free, we’re destined to receive the just penalty for breaking God’s law: eternal death. When you give to Amazing Facts’ work, you bring good news to countless individuals in captivity—whether they’re locked up in jail or bound by sin. You answer God’s call to “bring out prisoners from prison, those who sit in darkness” (Isaiah 42:7).

“Let the groaning of the prisoner come before You” (Psalm 79:11). God hears the cries of the incarcerated. Would you join me in the powerful work of opening the prison doors of sin and transforming lives for eternity? That’s what you did for Matthew …


Matthew was an adventurous and curious child. He enjoyed sports and got good grades in school. But there was one thing he couldn’t understand: his family’s faith. Raised in a Catholic home, his family attended church only on holidays. A few times a year, Matthew visited his grandparents in another state. He loved seeing them, and they often spoke about God, but what they said just didn’t make sense to him either.

When Matthew was nine, he discovered another thing he couldn’t understand: his parents’ divorce. His father mostly disappeared from his life, and Matthew soon began acting out and stealing. When Matthew turned 20, he began using drugs. “I wasn’t whole,” he explains. “A part of me was always looking for approval.” Over the next 26 years, his drug use grew. “I was arrested over 100 times,” he writes. “I went to prison five times and accumulated over thirty felonies.” When not incarcerated, Matthew was often homeless and unable to keep a job. With no work and no family, Matthew lived only for the next high. “My whole life was consumed with the need for instant gratification,” he shares. He even overdosed twice in a single day. “People told me, ‘You’ll never change.’ I believed it.”

Isn’t that what many of us think about prisoners? “They’re a hopeless lot.” It’s true that most have committed crimes and should be in prison. Even so, God says, “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them” (Hebrews 13:3). Did you know that Jesus identified Himself with the incarcerated? He said, “I was in prison and you came to Me” (Matthew 25:36).

Would you visit Jesus in prison? Would you send Christian literature, letters of encour- agement, and Bible lessons to those behind bars? When you minister to the imprisoned, physically and spiritually, you are doing the work of Christ. Your gifts really do transform lives!


In September 2022, Matthew was in prison with four months left on his sentence. “Getting high consumed my mind,” he writes, but in the meantime, he distracted himself with a tablet computer provided by the prison.IMAGE-DESCRIPTION-HERE

When he noticed an icon labeled “Amazing Facts,” he immediately clicked on it. He wasn’t interested in religion, but he loved learning new things. Scrolling through a list of videos—life-changing resources you provided—he found Cosmic Conflict: The Origin of Evil. “No mention of God there,” he thought. Within just a few minutes, Matthew was captivated. “At that point, I knew it was about God, but I was drawn to it anyway. I couldn’t stop watching,” he writes. 

Halfway through the video that you made possible, I illustrated the importance of free will. Holding a robotic dog, I showed how the machine could be made to wag its tail. “I can make it appear to love me,” I explained, “but it’s only carrying out pre-programmed instructions.” Then I picked up a real puppy, who began licking my chin. “But this little guy has chosen to give me his affection. Real love can’t be forced,” I explained. “It must be voluntarily given.” As Matthew watched that illustration, his “mind shifted gears. I felt a presence that is beyond words, and everything I didn’t understand about God started to make sense,” he writes. “The feeling was breathtaking.”

As the video ended, I led a prayer of repentance and commitment, and Matthew accepted Jesus as his Savior. Overcome with peace, he fell asleep. That’s what happened to Peter when imprisoned by Herod! The peace of heaven surrounded him.


Not everyone deserves to be in prison. Think about Bible heroes like John, Jeremiah, and Paul. They were thrown into dungeons because of their faith. Yet, through a dramatic turn of events, some heroes went from prison to a palace. Joseph became a prince in Egypt. Daniel held a high position in the government of Babylon. Esther was a foreign captive yet became the queen of Persia.

You can lead more people from the prison of sin to the palace of God’s kingdom today! You can cooperate with God in setting captives free to become witnesses for Christ.

Through multiple avenues, you can bring light into dark dungeons. Let me share just a few doors you can open for those chained by sin …

  • You can place Amazing Facts on several apps, like Pando, used by many prisons in the United States as a safe way for inmates to watch our
  • You can send thousands of Amazing Facts Study Guides to prisoners (and even prison staff) seeking truth.
  • You can stock prison libraries with thousands of life-changing resources from Amazing Facts.
  • You can send thousands of personal letters from Amazing Facts to prisoners asking Bible questions and seeking prayer.


God is in the business of saving people IMAGE-DESCRIPTION-HERE from prison. I’d like to invite you to join in heaven’s work of leading people from sin to living for Christ—yes, even those outside of jail. You can help many more souls like Matthew experience a new life. He writes with joy in his heart, “After 26 years of destroying my life, I found a reason to live.”

I’m asking you to prayerfully consider giving the gift of freedom to more people like Matthew. Will you offer them an eternal life beyond bars? Your loving gift of $50 will lead nearly 40 prisoners onto the path of a saving relationship with Jesus. Your life-transforming gift of $25 will bring almost 1,000 hope-filled programs to captives on the Pando App. But whatever size gift God places on your heart to give this month, I know He will multiply the impact it has in captives’ lives when they find precious Bible truth through Amazing Facts evangelism programs.

As a token of my deep gratitude for your gift this month, I want to send you my book Broken Chains, which uncovers the incredible story of the salvation of the demoniac, who was chained up by sin but saved by the power and grace of Jesus Christ. I believe you and those you share it will cherish it! And please write your prayer request on the back of the enclosed reply form when you send your gift. We are committed to praying for your concerns during our staff worship time, carrying your burden to the throne of grace.

Matthew was released from prison and is now active in his local church. “Thank you so much for making that video,” he writes. “God is truly working through you.” Amen! Friend, will you join me in doing a great work for thousands of others who want to find eternal freedom in Christ?

Opening prison doors,

Pastor Doug Batchelor

President, Amazing Facts International

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