Hebrews 13:3 (NIV)
Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
As we remember people to pray for we should remember those who are locked up in jails and prisons. If we are honest we can say that those who are imprisoned are “the forgotten” But Jesus has not forgotten them, so neither should we. In fact, he calls us to love, pray, and visit those in prison. We are all created in the image of God and no one is beyond His reach.
Currently, there are about 2.1 million people incarcerated in the United States, and our nation leads all other nations with that statistic. Society has written off those who are imprisoned, They say “do the crime, do the time”. And there’s a lot of truth in that but we still need to love and pray for them. The same God who offers His love and forgiveness to us has offered it to those who are incarcerated as well. Pray that God would change and mold their hearts, and give them a desire to want to live for Him and that they would know and feel His love. Imagine being locked up and feeling hopeless, lonely and that no one cares for you, you might even feel unloved. You’re isolated and away from your family. Those who are locked up need to know that there is a God who loves them, and will forgive them. “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth” – Psalm 145:18. They may not be able to be physically free, but they can be spiritually free, in and through Christ.
I’m a juvenile probation officer and I work at a lock-up facility called Spring Mountain Youth Camp. I get to work with youth in a lock-up facility and I have the privilege of sharing the love of Christ with them. I get to encourage them and share the good news of Jesus with them. From time to time I will lead a Bible study, and I always have a few youths asking me when the next one will be. That lets me know that there is a hunger for God’s word.
God is near to the broken hearted, and those who are locked up, youth and adults alike are broken hearted. Earlier this week Pastor Josh shared a good devotional about seeing people through the lens that God sees them. What a perfect way to do that here! God’s redemption is for us all. Jesus says “It’s not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners”. -Mark 2:17. We and the prisoners alike are sinners, in need of God’s grace.
Heavenly Father I come before you in Jesus name, lifting up those who are incarcerated in jails and in prisons all over our city, from CCDC to Spring Mountain Youth Camp, High Desert, Indian Springs, and every other institution across the state, and our nation. I pray for those who call you Lord, may you use them to be a light to others around them, and may they feel encouraged and remind them of your love for them. For the many who don’t know you, may you draw them to you. May they experience freedom in you and in your son Jesus. Change their hearts, change their ways. I also pray for protection from the dangers that they face from day to day. As many of them might be missing their families and loved ones, I ask that you help them get through the loneliness that they might be feeling and feel any void they might have with your presence and your peace. Lastly, Lord I pray for Christians all over the world who are incarcerated because of their faith, help them to stand strong in the faith. Amen
- Reach out to someone who is incarcerated.
- If you know someone personally who is incarcerated reach out to them by writing them a letter.
- If you know someone who is locked up and your able to, put commissary on their books
- Run, jog, or walk the twentieth mile out of the total of 21.
- Do 29 sit-ups and 29 push-ups.