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 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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O Divine Prisoner of the sanctuary, Who for love of us and for our
not only enclosed Yourself within the narrow confines of human
and then hid Yourself under the veils of the Sacramental Species, but also continually live in the tabernacle! Hear our
which rises to You from within these walls and which longs to express to You our affection, our sorrow, and the great need we have of You in our tribulations, above all, in the loss of freedom which so distresses us.
For some of us, there is probably a voice in the depths of
which says we are not guilty; that only a tragic judicial
has led us to this prison. In this case, we
draw comfort from remembering that You, the most August of all victims, were also condemned despite Your innocence.
Or perhaps, instead, we must lower our eyes to conceal our blush of shame, and beat our breast. But, even so, we also have the remedy of throwing ourselves into Your arms, certain that You understand all errors, forgive all sins, and generously restore Your
to him who turns to You in repentance.
And finally, there are those among us who have succumbed to
so often through the course of our earthly lives that even the best among men mistrust us, and we ourselves hardly know how to set out on the new road of regeneration. But despite all this, in the most hidden corner of our
a voice of trust and comfort whispers Your words, promising us the help of Your light and Your
if we want to return to what is good.
May we, 0 Lord, never forget that the day of trial is an opportune
for purifying the spirit, practicing the highest virtues, and acquiring the greatest merits. Let not our afflicted hearts be affected by that disgust which dries up everything, or by that distrust which leaves no room for brotherly sentiments and which prepared the road for bad counsel. May we always remember that, in depriving us of the freedom of our bodies, no one has been able to deprive us of freedom of the soul, which during the long hours of our solitude can rise to You to know You better and love You more each day.
Grant, 0 Divine Saviour, help and resignation to the dear ones who mourn our absence. Grant peace and quiet to this world which has rejected us but which we love and to which we promise our co-operation as
citizens for the future.
Grant that our sorrows may be a salutary example to many souls and that they may thus be protected against the dangers of following our path. But above all, grant us the
of believing firmly in You, of filially hoping in You, and of loving You: Who, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, live and reign forever and ever.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, make us love Thee more and more! Our Lady of Hope, pray for us! Saint Dismas, the
Thief, pray for us!
More Pope Pius XII Prayers