Learn how your prayers can encourage former prisoners as they struggle with the many challenges of reentry.
The challenge of successful, crime-free reentry is enormous. Lack of a place to live and the temptation of old friends are immediate issues that newly-released prisoners face. Praying Christians help provide an important and necessary supportive route back into the community.
Every reentry ministry needs prayer warriors behind the scenes lifting up the needs of ex-prisoners and their families. Your prayers can open doors to a better life and close doors that lead back to the old life. Through prayer, you can push back the powers of darkness that hold people captive and release the power of God to set men and women free.
Prayer ministry can be done anywhere—in your living room, in a Sunday School classroom, at the gym, on a neighborhood prayer walk, sitting on a park bench, on your phone, or via the Internet. Simply get together with a few other Christian friends and begin calling upon the Lord to strengthen and guide ex-prisoners as they struggle to rebuild their lives.
God works through the prayers of His people. So if your church is involved in outreach to ex-prisoners, ask the workers to send you their prayer requests and progress reports. Contact your local Prison Fellowship staff at 800-251-7411 to learn more about reentry needs in your community and to connect with others involved in reentry ministry.
Even when you don't know specific needs to pray for, you can call on God's power and provision for a variety of general needs. Download and share this prayer list with others in your church or with anyone who feels called to intercessory prayer. Here is a list of common prayer needs of ex-prisoners.
PRAYER NEEDS OF EX-PRISONERS
PRAY FOR EX-PRISONERS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, THAT THEY WOULD
- Spend time daily in prayer and Bible study
- Experience the abiding power and presence of the Holy Spirit
- Allow God to work in them and accomplish His purpose in their lives
- Become regular in church attendance and seek fellowship with other Christians
PRAY FOR EX-PRISONERS TO GROW IN GODLY ATTRIBUTES, THAT THEY WOULD
- Respect the authority of the courts, the police, and their local parole officer
- Be able to control their temper and exhibit a spirit of forgiveness
- Remain strong in their faith and become more Christ-like every day
- Experience genuine remorse for the harm they have caused their family and community and seek to make amends, if possible
PRAY FOR EX-PRISONERS' RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR FAMILIES, THAT THEY WILL
- Be committed to restoring damaged relationships with their spouse and children, if at all possible
- Experience reconciliation in strained or broken relationships
- Have patience and understanding with family members who are not ready to trust them again
- Have discernment and wisdom to avoid relationships with family members who may still be involved in addictive behaviors or a criminal lifestyle
PRAY FOR EX-PRISONERS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIPS WITHIN THE CHURCH, THAT THEY WILL
- Make godly friends to support and encourage them
- Forgive church members who are afraid of them or prejudiced against them
- Be willing to show themselves faithful in small things before expecting bigger things
- Find a Christian mentor and establish a relationship of trust and accountability
PRAY FOR EX-PRISONERS' PROTECTION, THAT THEY WOULD
- Recognize temptation and resist the tricks and snares of the evil one, Satan
- Shun drugs and alcohol and seek to live a healthy, sober life
- Be safe from gossip, stereotyping, false accusations, and harassment
- Find safe housing during their transition back into society
PRAY FOR EX-PRISONERS AND THEIR PHYSICAL NEEDS, THAT THEY WOULD
- Be able to obtain appropriate medical care and medications they need
- Be healthy and free from serious illness or disability
- Have adequate food and clothing
- Be able to access a wide variety of community resources so their daily needs are met
PRAY FOR EX-PRISONERS AND THEIR FINANCIAL NEEDS, THAT THEY WOULD
- Be given opportunity to enhance their educational and vocational skills
- Be aware of their God-given talents and seek to use them wisely
- Be able to find a job that pays enough to meet their financial needs
- Become a productive and contributing member of society