Chingford worship duo, Eyes Like Elijah, have landed themselves in prison – but thankfully it is just their CD that is doing time at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
Band member Mark Abrahams had been interested in synthesiser music for years, and had previously been in bands, but hadn’t really progressed beyond the confines of the back bedroom, in terms of playing live, since starting to write worship music. He happened to meet one of the elders at a local church in east London, who put him in contact with the JustWorship.org live event at Walthamstow, and a live appearance at a worship event was arranged.
After the initial excitement, Mark soon realised that a lot of hard work was going to be needed to turn many of the band’s half-finished songs into finalised tracks, but with perseverance and prayers the songs were completed, and the live appearance was soon followed by other performances and an offer of playing to inmates at a prison.
Although these plans were thwarted by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the duo weren’t deterred. “We’re all called to be disciples and spread the Word,” noted Mark, “and at times that may well involve approaching the task in a different way to what had originally been planned.”
Perhaps God always had a bigger plan, as instead of playing to a few inmates inside prison, the duo recorded and pressed 3,000 copies of their worship CD.
The next hurdle was finding a way of getting the CDs into prison. Mark recalls spending a morning researching the names of prison chaplains and trying to track them down and eventually making contact. “Sometimes they would be really enthusiastic, but would only be interested in taking one copy.
The Bible teaches us not to despise small beginnings… I guess you just have to have faith that the remaining 2,999 CDs will find a home!” was Mark’s view.
But we serve a God who opens prison doors, and eventually Eyes like Elijah got the opening they were praying for when prison charity Junction 42 agreed to distribute all the CDs using their network of contacts within prisons. “I had been reading the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18) around that time,” recalls Mark, keeping the matter in constant prayers. “It really does feel a bit like a prison break-in – a spiritual break-in.” Junction 42’s approach was particularly appealing, as they provided other items to inmates, such as toiletries, etc, alongside the CDs.
The duo also felt it was very liberating not having to worry about sales. “You can’t serve God and money,” noted Mark, “so we had budgeted from the outset to enable this CD to be funded as a free gift to prison ministries.”
The album can also be listened to via the band’s website,
“We had to make it available via the Internet,” they said. “We didn’t think anyone would want to go to prison just to hear it!”
The band are keen to carry on with this initiative, and would be keen to hear from anyone who can help with prison ministry work.
The band can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Mark Abrahams