Prayers for the Formerly Incarcerated
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
The United States comprises five percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Each year, approximately 10 million people are released from county jails and more than 650,000 are released from Federal and State prisons back into their communities.
More than two-thirds of those released will be rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within three years. Upon returning to New York City, newly-released people often struggle with substance abuse, lack of education and employment skills, limited housing options, and mental health issues. They rely heavily on their families for housing and financial support—families for whom economic security is often a day-to-day uncertainty.
As Christians, we are called to pray for the vulnerable within our communities. Join us as we seek to do that on behalf of our formerly incarcerated brothers and sisters. Let us pray:
- that formerly incarcerated men and women would be welcomed back by friends and family with love and grace. Pray that severed relationships would be mended and strengthened.
Father, we pray for a fresh realization of the compassion You extend to us in Jesus that would move us to be conduits of the same love and mercy to our brothers and sisters reentering society. Would they experience rich relationships that allow them to thrive.
- that they would find employment and that employers would be fair and gracious in their treatment of these men and women.
Lord, we know that You created us to work, to cultivate the earth. We pray that You would break down the walls that keep men and women who are returning to their communities from entering into that work. Would you provide them with opportunities.
- that the awareness of the issues surrounding our punitive systems in America would be resolved through your wisdom and guidance, and that we would administer justice through a fair lens to the guilty and the innocent.
God, we take comfort knowing You are a God of justice who upholds us in Your righteous right hand. We ask that You would grant wisdom to our country around racial inequities in arrest and sentencing. Lord, we ask You to bring change to broken systems.
- for organizations like Defy Ventures and Exodus Transitional Community as they provide support to the formerly incarcerated, helping them integrate back into their neighborhoods. Pray that their work would have a lasting impact on individual lives and the wider communities.
Jesus, we praise You for the many people across this city who have answered the call to support our formerly incarcerated neighbors. We ask that You would provide many more to come alongside these men and women to form mutually transformative relationships.