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Maybe the Best Prisoner Letter We’ve Ever Received

Ray Pritchard pastored in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. Married to Marlene for 38 years, he enjoys being a husband, a father and a grandfather, riding his bike, and playing with Dudley and Gary, beloved basset hounds.

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An Anchor for the Soul
In the last decade we’ve received over 10,000 letters from prisoners who received a free copy of An Anchor for the Soul and wrote to thank you. Nearly all those letter are handwritten, sometimes they are quite lengthy, often they ask for more literature, and sometimes they share how the book has helped them come to Christ. Each letter reminds us that bars and barbed wire may keep prisoners in but they can’t keep God’s Spirit out.

Among all the letters, the following may be the best one in terms of clarity about understanding the message of the book. It comes from a prisoner in Virginia. If you wonder why we have given away over 400,000 copies of this little “gospel book,” this letter will help answer that question. Read it and rejoice with us.

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Dear Mr. Pritchard,

I hope this letter both finds you, and finds you in good health. I got the address from your book,An Anchor for the Soul, so the address is of the year 2000. And we know a lot can happen in 10 years.

As you can see by my address and the little red stamp, I am and inmate at a regional jail in Virginia. My name is “R. S.” and I have a solid piece of time left to do yet. But that matters little. Somehow a copy of your book ended up in my hands. I read it and enjoyed it. I reread it every few months and just finished it for the third time. But this time, it was……different. I’ll try to explain, please bear with me.

An Anchor for the Soul is very easily read with humor to keep me very interested. No “five dollar” words that a lot of Theologists like to throw around and lose people. It’s fun, easy to understand, and uplifting. Your stories are warming, and your illustrations right on target.

I have been a seeker for the last 2 years. Reading through the Bible, reading through spiritual books left and right, going to jail “church,” and doing Bible study courses. But there has always been something not there. A pit or hole dead center in me I couldn’t fill. I believed in God, knew about Jesus, believed the Bible, so what was wrong?

As I was reading chapter 4 “A Man Called Jesus,” it hit me. I knew about Jesus. But I didn’t know Him! You paint a picture of Him that even I can understand. Plus you go on to explain faith and salvation so perfectly, that I finally get it! I had never really trusted in Jesus fully. You kept mentioning an airplane pilot and it hit home. I don’t ever second guess a pilot when I get on a plane, which I have several times. I have faith he will get me where I need to go and in one piece. Now if I can be so unthinkingly faithful of a human, why couldn’t I lay my entire trust in Jesus?!? I picture life as a plane and me as the pilot. I have no clue how to fly, and as I look around I see the wreckage of a failed attempt. I needed a pilot!

So as of today, 8-26-10, not only did I invite Jesus into my life, I sincerely asked Him to fly the plane. I also spent almost an hour in prayer. I mention that because my prayers usually last less than 5 minutes and I struggle with that. I felt, well, clean afterwards.

I already thanked God, and thanked Him for you and your book. But I want to thank you also. I have several times told God that I would like to be able to bring at least one person to Him in my life. I don’t know what your total is sir, but add one more soul to it for me. You have my heartfelt thanks and my hope that you keep increasing that total.

I must share this also before I close. Nothing has made me weep with happiness like your story of Jim Johnsen and his certificate to heaven. It just touches me. Nothing has made me grin like a fool as your story of 1000 points to go to heaven. And nothing has given me such a laugh as “You and me, Jesus, we did it. You died on the cross and I baked the cookies.” Oh my.

Once again, thank you sir, thank you for the wonderful book, and thank God for using you like He has. You have my utter respect and brotherly love.

The ex-fence sitter and new child of God,


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