Here are six prayers that you can send to a prisoner or someone who’s in prison now can use.
Prayers for their Family
Father, we pray for those who are incarcerated, but we also pray for their families that they would receive the care and attention they need, and have their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs met by other family members, friends, church members, or someone else. Please Lord, allow them to keep their hope alive that a family member behind bars is still not forsaken or forgotten by God if they have trusted in Christ; if not, we pray for them to know Your Son, Jesus Christ. May the families find comfort from others who are in similar situations and that they would be praying for one another. Oh Righteous Father of Mercy, I pray for these men and women who are cut off from their families and who are serving time behind bars. As you know, it is very hard being separated from loved ones. I pray these inmates may be able to see themselves as you see them, and that they are a child of theirs and are co-heirs with Christ, just as much as those who are out in the world. We know, if they never get out, we will all meet together someday at the great wedding feast of the Lamb of God. If they are able to be released, please shield them from the judgment of others because they have already paid their debt to society, and they are now free. They shouldn’t be referred to as a criminal, con, or anything but a child of God…just like we are. Many of these men and women face that double jeopardy every day of their life after prison, so help others see them as forgiven and cleansed, and a child of God, and treated with respect and not treated as if they’re still guilty. I pray this in the name that is above all names, the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
Prayer for Peace of Mind
Father God, I pray for those prisoners who are behind bars and that You give those who’ve trusted in You, peace. Please help them to know that You are sovereign over all things and that much good can come from bad (Gen 50:20; John 3:16), and in even these men and women’s darkest hours, You are their true source of light which is found in Jesus Christ. I pray that you give them the peace that Your Word promises for those who believe in Your Son (Rom 5:1) and please help them to know they are no longer condemned (Rom 8:1). With the comfort that You give us, please give to them Lord, so that they might pillow their head tonight in peace, knowing that if you would come tonight, those doors would be open forevermore. I ask this for the glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ, in Whose name I pray, amen.
Protection from Danger
Father God, truly only You know how these men and women feel at this time. We cannot know exactly what they are living through right now. The world seems to be getting more dangerous every day Lord, and maybe for these men and women who might live with that fear. In Your sovereign providence, it pleased You to call out some of these in their darkest hours, and to become new creations in Christ (2nd Cor 5:17); to a new life in Christ. Help see that they can run to You Father, for You are a Rock and a Shield to those Who trust in You. In Your great wisdom God, You sometimes use hard places to soften hearts, and in such darkness, your grace is more amazing. Not many of us are great in the eyes of the world, but You have no respect for persons. You reach out to those who humble themselves Father, so help them submit to You and be set free from their fear by trusting in You. Please Father, protect them on the inside so that they would be able to study Your Word, be a witness to those still sitting in darkness, and submit to authorities which is submitting to God (Rom 13:1-5). God, You alone know the future of these men and women; help them to rest in Your sovereignty. Help them to know they can trust in You. For those who have not trusted in Your Son and received eternal life, please set divine appointments for those who are Christ’s witnesses inside the prisons, and keep them safe from harm while being His voice. May You receive all the glory for these men and women’s lives that’ve trusted in You, and in the mighty name of Jesus Christ I pray, amen.
Hope in the Future
Great God in heaven, thank you for those who have received eternal life in Jesus Christ, and for those who have been born again behind prison bars. Please Father, enable them to see hope that is found only in Jesus Christ. Give them a desire to seek Him, and to long for that eternal home when all of the present, evil and suffering will be history (Rev 21:4). Please send them Your Spirit to point them to Your Word of hope in Your Holy Word, the Bible. Apart from You, and Your Word, we could not know You or Your Son, Jesus Christ, so thank You for granting us Your mercy and giving us Your grace, and for those who You have pardoned, even if the state has not, they are seen as having Jesus’ righteousness (2nd Cor 5:21). Help them to see that You have pardoned them, without parole, and loved them unconditionally. Lord God, allow them to fix their eyes on You, and the hope for a future we can’t even imagine, and that hope is found in Christ, in Whose precious name we pray, amen.
Using Bad for Good
Father, we know You can even use evil for good. All we need to do is to look at the cross, so help these men and women who are incarcerated to know that everything in our life, good and bad, is for our ultimate best (Rom 8:28). Sometimes we don’t always understand how bad can be good. Help these prisoners to see that God is not going to give up on them, because Your Word shows that You forgive their sins and cleanse them from all unrighteousness. If these prisoners are able to see that You are still working in their life Lord, they might have hope and know that You have promised to never leave them or forsake them (Deut 31:6; Heb13:5), even when they or we forsake You. Help them to take You at Your Word, and not use their feelings to guide their beliefs. Perhaps You can use others to help them inside the prison Lord, for nothing is too hard for You. Allow them to see the good that can come from where they’re at now, and even if it looks bleak, good will come from it, and in Jesus’ strong name I pray, amen.
For Such a Time and Place
Great God in Heaven, You alone determine the future and know that which is not yet, so help these men and women to see that You have a purpose for where they are now, and know that You can use anyone for Your glory and for Your purposes, including them. We know that You have commissioned us to make disciples of all nations, and that includes those who are incarcerated. Father, may You use these Christians behind bars to bring others into the kingdom by pointing others to Jesus Christ and trusting Him. They realize that You have allowed them to suffer the consequences for their own actions, yet I realize You may use them to reach others behind bars where we cannot, so please Father, make divine appointments for these Christians in prison, and allow them to cross paths with those whose heart You have prepared for the Word, and in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ I pray, amen.
The Bible teaches us that Jesus expects His church to visit those who are in prison. He said, “I was in prison and you came to me” (Matt 25:36), and this is how He sees it; “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40), but we can’t forget about these inmates families either. They need ministering too. If we minister to prisoners and their families, we do it for Jesus, but more importantly, what you do for the inmate’s families, you have done to the inmates. Ministering to prisoners is needed, but so is ministering to the families. They too are in a hard place, mentally, emotionally, and probably financially. Plus, they often live under “guilt by association,” unfair as that is, so they need all of the care and compassion they can get.
Something more for you to read: How I Was Set Free in Prison
Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Become a faithful prayer warrior lifting up the needs of prisoners and speaking blessings into their lives.
For any prison ministry to be truly effective, it must have a solid foundation of prayer. In prayer we call upon God for resources that He alone can provide in our battle against the spiritual forces of darkness.
If you are part of an in-prison ministry, you know that prisoners have many prayer needs. They desperately want prayer for themselves, their families, and their future reentry back into society. All you have to do is say, “May I pray for you?” Prayer touches the deepest hurts of those who feel so lost, lonely, and unwanted by the world.
Every in-prison ministry team needs prayer warriors lifting up the needs of the prisoners as well as ministry volunteers. But prayer ministry for prisoners does not require going to the prison. Even if you’ve never been inside a prison or jail, you can be a prayer warrior interceding before the throne of God for those who are incarcerated.
You can simply gather at a friend’s house with a few other intercessors and pray for prisoners. If your church has a prison ministry, ask them to start sending you the prayer requests so you can lift them before the Lord.
Even when you don’t know specific needs to pray for, you can seek God’s power and provision for a variety of general needs.
Want to encourage people to pray for prisoners? Download and share this prayer list with others in your church or with anyone you know who feels called to intercessory prayer. Here is a list of common prayer needs of prisoners.
PRAYER NEEDS OF PRISONERS
THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Pray for prisoners and their relationship with God, that they would:
- Experience His love
- Accept Christ as Savior
- Allow God to work in them and accomplish His purpose in their lives
- Earnestly seek God and get involved with chapel services and other Christian programming offered within the prison
Pray for prisoners to grow in godly attributes, that they would:
- Respect the authority of the prison staff
- Be able to control their temper
- Exhibit the fruit of the Spirit
- Experience genuine remorse for the harm they have caused their victims, and that they would seek to make amends as appropriate and possible
THEIR RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR FAMILIES
Pray for prisoners’ relationships with their families, that they will:
- Be committed to keeping in touch with their spouse and children
- Be able to maintain a strong connection with their family, despite being separated
- Experience reconciliation in strained or broken relationships
THEIR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER PRISONERS
Pray for prisoners and their relationships with other prisoners, that they will:
- Make godly friends to support and encourage them
- Stay away from harmful associations that will lead them astray
- Be a friend to the lonely, the discouraged, the lost
Pray for prisoners’ protection, that they would:
- Resist the snares of the evil one, Satan
- Shun drugs and other types of contraband that get into prison
- Be safe from sexual assault and other forms of victimization
- Be healthy and free from serious illness
Pray for prisoners and their future, that they would:
- Take advantage of prison programs to enhance their educational and vocational skills
- Be wise in the use of their God-given talents
- Seek the wisdom and resources they need to adjust to reentering society: job, housing, supportive friends, etc.
THEIR SPIRITUAL MATURITY
Pray that Christian prisoners will:
- Remain strong in their faith
- Find a volunteer mentor to encourage and disciple them
- Have strength and courage to witness to other prisoners
- Resist temptations and remain good role models
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Here are three prayers for those in prison or incarcerated in a local or county jail.
Freedom from Sin
Oh Righteous God, I know of some men who are still in prison who are battling the sinful conditions in which they are living in. Help them to overcome the urge to join the crowd and to recognize that path to hell is broad and wide and many are going but the gate leading to eternal life is narrow and difficult and only a few will find it (Matt 7:13-14). I know that these men are swimming up the stream of culture and acceptance behind the prison walls and it’s a totally different world for them than it is for us. Somehow god, give the encouragement they need from our church and from others but even better, from one another in prison as there are many brothers in Christ there. Help them to learn to come along side one another and support one another in their daily walk with God. I praise You for the many who have been set free behind prison walls, having repented and trusted in Christ, yet many of those outside the prison walls are held captive by the god of this world and don’t even know it because he has blind their minds to see the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ (2nd Cor 4:4). Please remove the scales from the eyes of the blind who don’t yet see that Jesus is King, Lord, and Savoir and in His strong name I pray, amen.
God, if only they knew that the eternal future of those who’ve been saved is greater than anything we can even imagine or compare it to here on earth (Rom 8:18, Rev 22). What hope that would give them. That is the “good” of the good news of Jesus Christ. Since that is the best possible of news Lord, I pray you would send others to these incarcerated brothers and sisters in Christ to equip them on how to share this news with others. God, give these Christian men and women behind bars the courage to speak about the need for repentance and trust in the Savior and to not be ashamed of that gospel (Rom 1:16) and to boldly proclaim Jesus Christ as the one and only way to be saved (Acts 4:12). May You expand Your kingdom O sovereign God and bring many men and women into Your eternal kingdom when the least in this world will become the greatest in the next; the last shall be first. In Jesus Holy Name I pray, amen.
A Ministry Command
God, I had not realized until just a few years ago that we are to go into all the world and not just into the nice neighborhoods. We are to minister to those in hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons. Jesus said that if we do it to the least of these, we might as well have done it to Him (Matt 25:40). God, please forgive me for not doing anything for the least of these which means I didn’t do it to You. I am so sorry. What a sin of omission! Please let me remember those who are in prison (Heb 13:3) which I am commanded to do (Matt 25:36) and remember that none of us are without sin (Rom 3:10-12, 23) and the foot of the cross is level ground and no respecter of persons. I pray that when I have committed to keep in touch with these men or women behind bars that I will keep my promise and remember I’m doing it for Jesus and not for myself. My works are worthless to You O God regarding my salvation (Eph 2:8-9) but my works can bless others and feed the poor, cloth the naked, visit the sick, go to the prisoners, welcome the stranger, feed the hungry and quench the thirst for those whose hope is all dried up (Matt 25:35-39). God help more of us Christians take this to heart and me personally not to take my hand off the plow and not be fit for the kingdom (Luke 9:62) and in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Our church has a prison ministry because we are told by Jesus to minister to the least of these, at least in the eyes of society. That would certainly include prisoners. Jesus promised that “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matt 25:4) and what this means is that you will hear the most joyous news you will ever hear, directly from Jesus’ own lips, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt 25:34). I pray that for you and for me, in Jesus’ name. Amen?
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon