Prayer for the Formerly Incarcerated

Black and white cross

In our Prayer Guide, the month of May is when we recognize and pray for the formerly incarcerated community.


Inspired by Psalm 103:7-12

Lord, your righteousness is incomprehensible. You have told us what is right, and yet you are so patient with us when we do what is wrong. You do not hold our sins against us. You are kind and compassionate, slow to anger. Your graciousness is amazing.

Lord, we are not gracious like you. We often focus on our own meager good works instead of reveling in Jesus’ perfection. We judge others based on their deeds and their pasts, rather than seeking to be merciful, like you are merciful with us. God, we so often do this with those who have broken the law and been imprisoned. We label them instead of seeing them as broken people in need of your mercy—just like us. Forgive us, Lord. Teach us to see others how you see them—with compassion. Teach us to be kind to others the way you have been kind to us.

God, we thank you for saving us. You were not disgusted by our sin. Instead, you washed us clean. You died to redeem us. And you remember our sins no more. You have wiped away our blemishes and covered us in Jesus’ righteousness. We cannot repay you for this. We can only be grateful.

God, we long to be merciful like you. Make us into vessels that overflow with your mercy. Jesus, we pray for the formerly incarcerated brothers and sisters who are served by HFNY’s affiliates at Back on My Feet, Defy Ventures, Exodus Transitional CommunityPrison Fellowship, Community Connections for Youth, and Youth for Christ. We pray that these people would be defined not by their deeds, but by Christ’s deeds. We pray that you would give us eyes to see them as you see them.