Prayers for those in prison

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.

prayers for those in prison

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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Those in prison need strong prayers at a time when they are often incapable of praying for themselves.  This prayer for those in prison using Scripture can be prayed by family members, congregations, prison outreach groups and intercessors.

Prayer for Those in Prison Using Scripture

Dear Heavenly Father, we pray your love and mercy for those who are in prison that your love might reach them through whatever means you choose to use.  We can’t imagine the dark, sorrowful, desperate paths that have lead up to this period of the life for those in prison, yet we know that even darkness is not dark to you.  (Psalm 139:12)

You see our brothers and sisters in prison as your beloved child.  You knew them before they were born, you saw them in the secret place in their mother’s womb.  (Psalm 139:13, 15, 16)  The angels rejoiced at their birth, and your guardian angels stood by, waiting and hoping for a chance to be called by their prayers of need to aid them in their hour of decision. (Matthew 18:10)

Father, we know that deep healing needs to take place in their lives for the scars they bear from a life that wasn’t kind or fair, a mental disease that wasn’t manageable or treated properly, a temper that never knew the bounds of discipline, an addiction that never let go before it consumed them, a group of friends who were wiling companions on the path to destruction, a loved one who was abusive and violent, a life situation so desperate that it would break the best o f us, a heart so calloused that it could no longer see others with respect.

When we look at the history of our friends in prison, we sometimes feel overwhelmed by their challenges and the barriers to their inner freedom.  Yet you are the one who says, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”  (John 8:32) So we boldly pray that Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life will be given access to their imprisoned heart, soul and mind.  (John 14:6)

It says of Jesus, “A bent reed he will not break off.”  (Isaiah 42:3)    You, Oh Lord, did not come to condemn those who already feel rightly condemned, but rather you came that they might have life and have it more abundantly.  (John 3:17,  John 10:10)

It also says in your word, “Therefore, there is now on condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”  (Romans 8:1,2 New International Version)

You say, “Behold I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5 King James Version)   And you say, “If anyone is in Christ Jesus he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!”  (( 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)  You say, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they will be as white as snow.”  (Isaiah 1:18 KJV)

You are our loving Savior who on the cross and in mortal pain yourself said to the dying thief being executed justly for his many sins, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43 NIV)   All the thief had to do was to look with pained eyes toward you, the suffering savior and ask with faith that defied the utterly impossible circumstances, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  (Luke 23:42 NIV)

You also say in your word in Psalm 107:  “Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High.  So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help.  Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.  He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains.  Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for me, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron.”  (Psalm 107; 10-16 NIV)

Our brothers and sisters in prison are behind literal bars of iron, but they are also behind bars of inner bondage to the things that have brought them to commit crimes against others.  We pray about the forces of evil that seek to continue to hold and eventually destroy these dear ones.  We claim, “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (John 4:4 NIV)

We bind Satan and all of his evil plans, worked both through our dear ones and in them.  We declare  the evil one as the thief, robber, liar and murderer who is the father of all transgression.  (John 8:44)   We bind Satan, we cast him and his demons out, and we loose the power o f the Holy spirit in the dear ones he has so long help captive to his evil desires. (Matthew 18:18)

We pray for your protecting grace for our brothers and sisters in prison from  harassment, threats of violence and from the evil influence of fellow inmates.  We pray your protection  around their bodies, minds, souls and spirits.  (Psalm 91)

We now declare them the children of God that they were born and the children of God that they are becoming through the shed power and blood of our strong Savior, Jesus Christ.  We speak freedom, health, healing, wholeness, forgiveness, repentance, reconciliation, restoration, peace, truth and hope into their lives.  We pray that instead of ashes their lives might be a garland of praise.  (Isaiah 61:3) We pray for a blinding conversion experience as experienced by St. Paul on the road to Damascus.  (Acts 9:1-22)

We travail in prayer, begging for your mercy, begging that this prison time will be an opportunity for you to reach our dear ones with your healing power.

We pray for the family members of those in prison, for the husbands, wives, parents, sons and daughters and grandparents.  Encourage and strengthen them.  Provide for their needs. Hear their prayers and comfort them daily.

We know that the road to recovery for our brothers and sisters in prison will not be an easy one, so we pray your special grace and help for this journey.  Help them to find those who truly love them with the love of the Lord who will be mentors, friends and prayer partners on their journey of healing and wholeness.  We pray especially for prison chaplains, social workers, caring family members, fellow inmates who are Christians and for Christian groups such as Kairos and other prison fellowships that minister to those who are incarcerated.  May they bear your strong love to many.

May healing begin today and continue on step by step all of the days of their lives.  We pray in the strong and powerful blood of Jesus Christ, our Risen Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Other Helpful Ideas

Prayer for adult children with problems

Standing in the gap in prayer

How to pray Scriptures

Travailing in  prayer

Losing hope prayer: using personal prayer to restore hope

Copyright Karen Barber 2014.  All rights reserved.

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.

prayers for those in prison

Prisoner Evangelism

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

Prayer for Prison Inmates

The following prayers were written in response to letters from prisoners requesting prayers to be used by them in special circumstances. They may be prayed in agreement with a prayer partner or intercessor.
Prayer for an Inmate’s
Protection and Future
Father, I pray that I may become useful and helpful and kind to those around me, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving others , as You, Father, in Christ forgave me my sins.
It is my desire to be an imitator of You, Lord. With the Holy Spirit as my Helper, I will , as a well-beloved child . I purpose to walk in love , as Christ loves me. As I attend to Your Word, I depend on Your Holy Spirit to teach me to live a life of victory in Christ Jesus my Lord.
In the name of Jesus, I am Your child. I am dwelling in the secret place of the Most High and abiding under the shadow of the Almighty. I say of You, Lord, that You are my Refuge and Fortress: my God; in You will I trust. You cover me with Your feathers, and under Your wings shall I trust: Your truth is my shield and buckler.
Because You are my Lord, my Refuge and Habitation, no evil shall befall me — no accident will overtake me — neither shall any plague or calamity come near me. You give Your angels charge over me, to keep me in all of my ways .
Thank You for hearing my prayer. You are with me in trouble; You deliver me and satisfy me with long life and show me Your salvation.
In Jesus’ name, amen.


Prayer for an Incarcerated
Parent and His/Her Children
Listen, God, I’m calling at the top of my lungs: “Be good to me! Answer me!”
When my heart whispered, “Seek God,” my whole being replied, “I’m seeking Him!” Don’t hide from me now.
I didn’t know it before, but I know now that You’ve always been right here for me; don’t turn Your back on me now. Don’t throw me out and don’t abandon me; You’ve always kept the door open.
Thank You for sending ministers to tell me about You and Your love for me.
My children say they hate me; they feel abandoned and alone. Even though their father/mother walked away from them, I ask You, Father, to take them in.
Lord of the harvest, I ask You to send laborers of the harvest and wise counselors to my children, who have been hurt by my actions.
Father, I have sinned against You, against my children, and against myself. I repent of the sins that have so easily beset me and ask You to forgive me.
Father, Your Word assures me that You forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Thank You for forgiving me. I pray that my children will be willing to forgive me so that we may be a family again.
In the name of Jesus, I cast the care of my children on You and rest in the assurance that You will perfect that which concerns me. I put on the garment of praise and delight myself in You. Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may walk and live in Your truth.
In Jesus’ name, amen.


Prayer for an Inmate To Pray
for His/Her Family and Caregiver
Father, I have sinned against You, against my children, and against myself. I repent of the sins that have so easily beset me and ask for Your forgiveness.
Father, Your Word assures me that You forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Thank You for forgiving me. I pray that my children will be willing to forgive me so that we may be a family again.
Thank You for the one who has assumed responsibility for my children while I am away. I pray that You will strengthen him/her and fill him/her with Your Spirit Who gives him/her great wisdom, ability, and skill in rearing the children You gave to me. I repent for failing to assume my responsibility to my children, and I ask You to reward the one who is taking care of them.
His/her mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of his/her heart shall be understanding. I thank You that he/she is in Christ Jesus, Who has been made unto him/her wisdom from You — his/her righteousness, holiness, and redemption. He/she is filled with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that he/she may live a life worthy of You and may please You in every way, bearing fruit in every good work.
Father, I am responsible for my own actions, and I recognize that what I have done has hurt my entire family. Forgive me for dishonoring You, my family, my friends, and my children. Give me the grace to pay my debt and do my assigned work as unto You. Help me to develop diligence and patience, giving myself to prayer, study, and meditation in Your Word.
Lord, there is violence within these walls, but I look to You. Hide me in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of others. Keep me

Scripture References:
Ephesians 4:32 AMP Psalm 91:9-11 AMP
Ephesians 5:1,2 AMP Psalm 91:15,16
Psalm 91:1,2,4

Psalm 27:7-10 MESSAGE Isaiah 61:3

Matthew 9:38 Psalm 37:4
1 John 1:9 Psalm 86:11 AMP
1 Peter 5:7 Hebrews 12:1
Psalm 138:8

1 John 1:9 Colossians 1:9,10 AMP

Psalm 49:3 Colossians 3:23,24
1 Corinthians 1:30 Psalm 31:20

© 2014 Word Ministries, Inc.

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