Keith Morse was in the midst of a six-year solitary confinement sentence at Angola Prison in Louisiana as a result of stabbing a fellow inmate. Keith found himself in Angola Prison serving a life sentence on charges of first-degree murder.
It was while in solitary confinement that Keith first learned about God and accepted Him into his life. This jump started the rest of Keith’s life, which he has spent in ministry serving God.
Keith Morse joined Noah and Bjorn for this week’s podcast and shared he how found God while serving his 27 years in prison and how it changed his life.
God Came to Keith When He Was at His Lowest Point
“My relationship with God was cultivated and nurtured in a 6x9 cell where it was just me and Him. I was completely broken”--Keith Morse
In 1994 Keith was sentenced to life in prison at Angola Prison on charges of first-degree murder. This was an extremely painful experience for Keith, beyond the typical physical distress that accompanies a jail sentence.
Keith’s dad wasn’t a part of his life growing up, as he was sentenced to ten years in jail. The first time Keith met his dad was when he was seven, and he met him in Angola Prison.
Growing up Keith always told himself that he was going to be different and wouldn’t end up in the same position as his dad.
However, Keith found himself in almost the exact same position that his dad was. Keith’s son met him for the first time when he was three and Keith was in jail at Angola Prison. On the podcast he talks about how difficult it was for him to come to terms with this.
Angola Prison had a zero-violence policy with strict penalties for breaking this. As a result of this policy, Keith was sentenced to six years in solitary confinement for stabbing a fellow inmate.
Keith says that solitary confinement was both the best and the worst time of his life. It was here that he met God as a result of chaplains that would come every other week.
Keith also learned that a relationship with God is not a bargaining situation. He prayed to God to release him from the pain of solitary confinement. This didn’t happen Keith, but Keith found himself still pursuing God and learned that he truly did want a relationship with God, regardless of his situation.
In the episode Keith talks about what spending six years of his life in solitary confinement at Angola Prison and developing his faith there was like.
After Getting out of Solitary Confinement, Keith First Served God Through a Fatherhood Ministry
“Even in my absence, I wanted to develop a relationship with my son”--Keith Morse
When Keith got out of solitary confinement, he knew that he wanted to do something to further the kingdom of God.
As a result of his relationship with his dad and the relationship he had with his son, fatherhood was his passion. Despite being in jail, Keith was determined to develop a relationship with his son and help others do the same.
Something he noticed in prison was that even though people were there from all different backgrounds, a common denominator between the men was they wanted better for their kids and didn’t want them to make the mistakes they did.
Keith says that God put the idea in his heart to attend seminary and start a ministry where men could come together and talk about their strengths and weaknesses as fathers with a Biblical application. On the podcast Keith talks about the effect that attending seminary had on his life and his relationship with God.
Out of this idea, Malachi Dad was born. In this ministry, men are taught how to be Godly fathers and how to spiritually train their children, regardless of their situation.
Malachi Dad started in Angola Prison with 40 men and is now in over 250 prisons across the world.
Keith Further Developed His Ministry Through Sports
“We wanted to start a ministry team and create a new culture that looked different compared to all the other teams"--Keith Morse
Keith talks about the importance sports had in Angola Prison and the influence it held. Because of this, he knew if he wanted to get more people involved in his ministry and connect with more people, it had to be through sports.
However, Keith didn’t want to just jump into the sports scene - he wanted to change the culture of it in the process. He wanted to establish a sports team based on character, discipline and God.
Keith and a few men who went to seminary with him worked hard to form a softball team filled with skilled players that was attractive to other athletes in prison. However, in order to implement the culture he was aiming for, there were rules to join the team.
In order to be a part of the team, someone had to go through Malachi Dad’s year-long class on fatherhood. There were also punishments for swearing, such as doing 15 pushups.
Keith says the team was made up of both believers and non-believers, but that the culture slowly started to change.
At first Keith was the only who would hold people on the team accountable for breaking the rules, but over time teammates started holding others accountable too. This bled into the other teams.
By the time Keith was released from prison, the culture of sports was completely changed, and everyone wanted to be a part of what was going on.
On the podcast Keith talks about a young man that he still keeps in contact with and how he saw his life change as a result of the softball team.
What is God Teaching You?
Keith has such an inspiring story that we can learn so much from. It would have been easy for him to grow extremely bitter about his situation and shut out the very idea of forming a relationship with God.
However, this isn’t what Keith did. In fact, he took the situation he was in and gave himself over to God, changing the course of his life in the process.
Something Keith had to learn was that a relationship with God isn’t going to happen on our own terms. He prayed and prayed to God to be released from solitary confinement. However, when this didn’t happen, Keith didn’t turn his back on God.
Our relationship with God is not a bargaining situation. God doesn’t owe us anything, and we shouldn’t come to Him on our terms and demand something in return.
Our life is dictated by God’s terms and His plan for our life. A relationship with Him is a blessing to us and not something that we should use as a personal genie.
It is only when we accept a relationship with God with whatever situation we are in that we can truly form an impactful relationship with Him.
God can come to us at times when we might not expect it or when we’re at our lowest. This is what happened for Keith.
If we listen to God’s calling, accept a relationship with Him without terms and give ourselves over to Him and His kingdom, this is when we will truly get to know Him and experience the blessings of a relationship with God in our life.
Have you completely given yourself to God? Have you accepted a relationship with God without terms?
Do you keep your heart open to God, even in your lowest times?
To hear the conversation that Noah and Bjorn had with Keith Morse about his time in prison, how God changed the course of his life, all the programs he runs to serve God and much more, check out “The Sweat Room: Sports and Faith” episode 52.
“The Sweat Room: Sports and Faith” is a podcast based out of Hamburg, New York, that was started in May of 2020 to discuss faith and its intersection with sports. Noah Corsten and Bjorn Webb co-host the podcast, interviewing both past and current athletes and coaches about how faith plays a role in their life. “The Sweat Room” is a part of Watermark Wesleyan Church’s Sports & Fitness Ministry. The podcast can be found on the website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and wherever you stream your podcasts.