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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Updated on December 5, 2016
Do you know someone who has recently been put into jail? Are you feeling overwhelmed, confused, angry, upset, or depressed? These feelings and emotions are completely normal. Having someone you love go into jail is an awful situation to experience; It’s as if you’ve lost someone but they are still alive. It’s hard to describe it to someone who hasn’t experienced it.
You may notice yourself going through somewhat of a grieving process. Allow yourself to fully experience all emotions and feelings regarding the situation, and seek guidance or counseling if necessary. The person in jail might need you now more than ever. So, allow yourself to start a healing process, and then do what they may need of you. Here are some useful tips below:
Beware, visiting someone in jail is stressful and annoying. Be prepared to do a lot of waiting. Every correctional institution is different but they all have their own rules and guidelines regarding visitation. There are, most likely, specific days of the week and times when visits are allowed. And there will probably be a dress code too.
I have a family member in jail, and I’ve been visiting her for about 8 years now. I can only visit her on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, or Sundays, and the hours are in blocks of 3-4 hours (twice a day). I’m not allowed to wear jeans, tank tops, or jewelry (except an engagement/wedding ring). There are tons of other attire restrictions as well. My average wait-time to get in and see her is about 2 hours. By that time, I’m usually tired, hungry, and thirsty. So, as I said before, be prepared. Hopefully, my family member will be out of jail in 2-3 years so I won’t have to deal with visitation “annoyances” ever again.
If the jail you are going to visit has a website, check it out! You should be able to find all the information you need on there.
Phone Accounts & Money
Your loved one in jail will most likely call you at some point. The calls are initially made “collect” but a phone account can be set-up on either end. I set-up a phone account through my cell phone to save my family member some money, and also because I don’t have a home phone so I can’t receive collect calls. How the phone account usually works is that you will receive a call from your loved one; it will be an automated message. It should allow you to set-up an account or add money to an existing account. In the state that I live in (MA), it allows me to put money on my phone account in increments of $25. So, when my family member calls in, she doesn’t have to worry about paying for the call. The phone account is very useful for people who plan on being in prison for a long period of time; most people who are only in jail for a small amount of time will usually just call collect. But it’s really a matter of preference, convenience, and money availability.
Your loved one may need you to send money. In MA, we can only send money in the form of a cashier’s check or money order; cash and personal checks are not allowed. Also in MA, you are only allowed to send money to someone that you personally visit in jail. So, my family member couldn’t tell me to send money to one of her new friends in jail.
Guidelines and policies regarding phone accounts and money-sending in your state (or even country) may be different than the state I live in. It’s always important to find out how these things operate beforehand so that you don’t get overwhelmed and frustrated.
Again, this is a heart-wrenching and stressful time for you. But it’s even worse for the person inside the prison. He/she needs your support, love, and guidance. They need to be kept on the right-track and they need to stay positive. So, make sure you are an active force in their life. It can get very lonely in jail, especially at the beginning, when they don’t know anyone yet. Encourage your loved one to participate in programs within the jail, such as groups, counseling, school classes, employment, etc. Going suddenly from the outside world into prison can be hard for the body and mind to handle. So it’s important for them to try to maintain some normalcy and regular routines into their new, and hopefully temporary, reality.
Give your loved-one Hope!!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.