Prisoners’ Sunday - this year on 10th October - is the national day of prayer and action for prisoners and their dependants as marked by the Catholic Church and across the Christian denominations. It is a day to direct our thoughts and prayers to prisoners, their families and children. Prisoners’ Sunday is the time to reflect on how we as individuals, as a Church and as a community are serving those affected by imprisonment.
Prisoners’ families, prisoners and people with previous convictions often find themselves on the margins of society due to the social stigma associated with imprisonment. They are often forgotten or come lower down on the list of causes to ‘hold a hand out to’. But the gospel of Matthew 25: 36 reminds us of our duties towards them:
I was naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.
The Prison Advice and Care Trust (Pact) is a national charity that provides support to prisoners, people with convictions, and their families. We support people to make a fresh start, and minimise the harm that can be caused by imprisonment to people who have committed offences, to families and to communities.
What we do:
- Build stronger families and safer communities.
- Reduce risk of harm to prisoners and their children.
- Remove barriers and increase awareness in public services.
- Influence commissioning, policy and legislation.
Heavenly Father, today we lift to You those in prison who cannot face tomorrow. We pray that you will place people around them who will speak words of comfort and show acts of kindness that encourages their spirit. Most of all, we ask that when the noise of crashing doors and shouting has faded, Your voice will be heard, bringing hope in the darkness once again. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, You have come so that we may have life to the full. Listen to our prayers for all in prison and their families.Touched by your Spirit, may they find newness of heart and be open to that new life that is found only in You. May they know care and receive support from those around them. May they find new purpose in serving you in their brothers and sisters. Amen.
PRAYER NEEDS OF PRISONERS' FAMILIES
PRAY FOR SPIRITUAL NEEDS OF PRISONERS' FAMILIES, THAT THEY WOULD
- Know that God loves them unconditionally and experience the abiding presence of God
- Become involved in a local church with solid Bible teaching
- Receive support and encouragement from caring Christians
- Become strong in their faith and trust God to guide them
PRAY FOR THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN'S CAREGIVERS, THAT THEY WOULD
- Have wisdom and strength for raising the children of the incarcerated
- Provide a loving and nurturing environment for the children
- Allow the children to participate in Angel Tree programs available to them
- Want the children to attend church and learn about God
PRAY FOR PROTECTION OF PRISONERS' CHILDREN AND FAMILIES, THAT THEY WOULD
- No longer experience chaos, violence, and trauma in their homes
- Shun drugs and alcohol and seek to live healthy, sober lives
- Be protected from gossip, prejudice, stereotyping, and harassment
- Be able to live in safety, peace, and stability no matter what goes on around them
PRAY FOR THE EMOTIONAL NEEDS OF PRISONERS' CHILDREN, THAT THEY WILL
- Experience God's comfort and presence in their loneliness
- Feel secure and loved by their caregivers
- Deal with their anger, hurts, and losses in healthy, appropriate ways
- Not feel guilty about their parents' crimes or incarceration
PRAY FOR RELATIONSHIPS WITHIN FAMILIES, THAT THEY WILL
- Be able to maintain an appropriate level of contact with the one who is incarcerated
- Learn how to be more effective in the way they communicate with each other
- Experience reconciliation in strained or broken relationships
- Begin taking positive steps toward strengthening and rebuilding the family
PRAY FOR THE PHYSICAL NEEDS OF PRISONERS' FAMILIES, THAT THEY WOULD
- Have adequate housing and be able to keep their homes in good repair
- Have nutritious food to eat and adequate clothing
- Be able to obtain the appropriate medical care they need
- Have assistance available from a variety of community resources