The Zoo Cage Prophet
The walls talk
Last updated 5/12/2017 at 5:15pm
"Hey, Pastor. Can you pray for me? Hey … hey, Pastor! Over here.”
My first cell mate had just been released from the hole and back to a regular yard. I had been alone for about 15 minutes. My inner self was praising God and my outer self was singing out loud.
Since no one was watching, I decided to praise God in dance. But due to the small cell (and my horrible dancing skills) I knew my praise dance was looking very silly. I didn’t care though, I was happy and full of joy, and I was going to praise Him in dance—even if it was silly.
However, I stopped in mid-song and dance when a strange small voice—out of nowhere—called out. “Hey, Pastor. Can you pray for me? Hey … hey, Pastor! Over here.”
With my left hand in mid-air and my right on my hip (yes, I was dancing something that looked like disco mashed up with 80s mod … I told you I couldn’t dance) I stopped and looked around to see who was calling. I wasn’t even sure if the voice was calling for me. How could the voice know I’ve helped pastor (lead) before? For sure I wasn’t pastoring in the hole.
I was sort of convinced the voice was not calling out for me. So I started to sing and dance once again. But right in the middle of doing “the sprinkler” and singing DC Talk’s Jesus Freak, the voice called out again.
“God guy … can you hear me. Come to the hole in the wall. Unplug it.”
The walls in the cell were old. The cells had seen a whole lot of violence and a few modern updates, leaving some deep scars in the walls that literally left one to wonder what kind of violence could have made such deep divots in these concrete walls.
Some scars, however, were industrially made when the cells went through a small remodeling change. Holes about an inch in diameter were left in the walls connecting one cell to another. But I didn’t really know this.
I knew the holes were there but I thought the holes had been filled with some sort of filler. And yes, many were, but some weren’t. The voice was coming from one of the scars on the wall that was about eye level.
I was still a bit skeptical (and a tiny bit afraid), so before going to talk to the wall, I looked up and said, “If this is you Lord, please tell me now … um … because I’m going to look even more silly talking to a hole in a wall and all along it’s been You calling out to me. So please tell me now.”
Okay, it wasn’t the Lord, and I had not become a biblical prophet overnight that could hear God’s voice in a clear, small way. So I approached the wall. I dug my chubby finger into the hole and pulled out a toilet paper plug. The sight of an eye ball freaked me out for a second, but I didn’t let it shake me for too long. How could I? The eye was watching.
“Hey.” the eye said in an excited voice, “They call me ‘Mexico” (not his real name). I noticed you the day you arrived. Your eye was all messed up, man. It looked like someone hit you pretty good. But for some reason, even under all that gauze, I knew you were some sort of a pastor. So? Are you?”
“Well,” I felt a bit weird talking to an eye, in a hole in a wall, named Mexico … but I kept going. “I’m not really a pastor, but I do love God and am deeply in love with Him.”
“Nah. I don’t believe it. I can tell you are some sort of man of the cloth. I can see it in your good eye.” I found it a bit humorous that the eye in the wall could see so much in my one good eye.
“Well, I do help lead the Spanish church body, when called to do so.” I answered.
“I knew it!” The eye was excited and proud that he had “seen” something from day one.
“So how can I help you? I think you asked me to pray for you?”
“Yeah.” he confirmed.
“Well, I will be more than happy to do so. But first, do you believe in God? The One I will be praying to, the God of the Bible. The One who sent His Son to the earth to pay the price of our sins, pay it with His own life.”
“I did … before…” he stopped and took a few seconds to think about his answer.
“Before what?” I asked.
“Um … before I screwed up. I screwed up big time. I don’t even think He wants to hear from me any more. That’s why I need you to go to Him and put in a good word for me.”
I could feel the hurt in the eye’s voice. And I sensed he didn’t want to expand on how he had “screwed up big time.” So I simply asked him to close his eyes (Yes, plural … I assumed there was a pair of eyes on the other side of the wall. What? Could you blame me?)
“Abba Father … ,” I began to pray for Mexico. I wasn’t too sure how or what to pray about, so I just followed the Spirit’s lead. I can’t remember for how long I prayed or all that I said, but somehow it’s what Mexico needed to hear because when I said “Amen” I could hear Mexico crying.
The eye in the wall had turned on the water works. Without any notice, the eye pulled away and a finger pushed a plug into the hole.
About an hour later the voice once again called out from within the hole in the wall. “Pastor!”
“Yeah,” I answered as I made my way off my bunk and to the hole in the wall.
“Do you think God heard the prayer you prayed?”
“I’m sure.” I answered in a sincere and confident tender tone.
“I got rid of it.” the eye said.
“You got rid of what? I asked in curiosity.
“I had been planning to hurt my next cellie. I’ve been waiting all day for the officers to give me one. I was going to kill him and then kill myself. But … ,” he paused. “But … I’m not going to do that anymore. Ever. I flushed the weapon down the toilet. It’s gone.”
“The weapon … you flushed the weapon?” I asked.
“Yeah. Plus the desire to do anything like that is gone, too. After you talked to God for me, I could not stop crying. I sat on my bunk and had my own talk with the Big Guy upstairs too. I think He heard me.”
“I know He heard you. ” I assured him.
“I’m not saying I’m back … you know … as a good Christian. But I believe I have a good start now. A large, deep and heavy load has been lifted off my chest. I can breathe again.” he said that last sentence as he took in a deep breath.
I looked in the hole and noticed the eye was gone. Only a far away small cry echoed through the hole. Mexico was on his bunk crying again.
That same day we both were moved to other cells. Mexico was moved upstairs to the third tier. And I was moved a few cells down from where I was originally at. I didn’t see him, or his eye, again. But every so often I would hear Mexico scream out, “Pastor! Pray for me tonight!”
He knew I would. I’m not sure what happened to Mexico once I left, but I have a gut feeling he is doing just fine.
Mexico was not the last person I spoke to through the holes in the walls. Somehow I became the go-to guy for prayer. I didn’t mind. I actually found it humbling to be able to pray for all the voices and eyes in the walls.
Thinking back to this experience, I wonder how many times God’s hurting children are just right behind the wall—looking for an out. But in our busy lives we don’t stop long enough to hear the “voice.”
May I suggest we reach out to our neighbor (at home, work, school, or prison cell), and maybe—just maybe—your friendship and prayer will be what he/she has been looking for.
God’s dancing machine,
Adrian G. Torres
© 2016 Friends of Adrian. Adrian is an inmate in California.
Adrian’s book The Walls Talk is available on Amazon.com and other dealers.