Grace and Peace to you.
They came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.
— Matthew 26.50
O Christ in prison, God in human chains, hear our prayer.
We ask your forgiveness, healing and peace for all who are imprisoned, whether justly or unjustly. Though they are treated inhumanely may they know their humanity. In their confinement may they know their freedom in you. In their shame may they know your love. Among hard and angry people, may they keep their hearts. Though they are judged, may they know their belovedness. Give them hope and courage. Grant them the miracle that they not treat others as they are treated. May they experience the loving presence of Christ among them. Heal the wounds that have caused them to transgress. For all that is hurtful that they have done, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Guide all who defend and prosecute them, that they may do so with justice and respect. Grant your grace to all who guard them. Give them wisdom and respect, that they not abuse their power, for they hold under their authority the beloved of God. May they, and we, remember that it is you who guards us all.
We ask your forgiveness for presuming to judge or bind another. Grant us humility, forgiveness and compassion. May we who hire others to guard our prisons remember that it is we who turn the key. We confess that we desire to put away those who disturb us rather than to reach out to them in love. Forgive us for judging, and help us to repent of our sin. May we learn to order our society on justice, not revenge. May we remember that all are your children, even those who have done harm, that all are your beloved, even those who do not know love. Help us to see them with the eyes of Christ, who is among them.
We pray for those unjustly accused, for those imprisoned for acts of conscience, for victims of prejudice and persecution. Watch over them in love and grant them justice, that we may hear the cry of their hearts. For you cry out to us in the voice of those whom we reject.
We pray for the families and loved ones of all who are incarcerated. May the bonds of love survive their separation. Give them comfort, strength and hope. As they extend their love to those behind bars, so you reach out to them. Accompany them in love, and help them be as faithful to their beloved ones as you are to us.
O God, by your grace help us transform the nations, societies and systems that rely on oppression, abuse, enslavement and imprisonment to sustain their power. May your justice prevail; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
O Christ, accused, imprisoned and scorned, we thank you that in compassion you share our deepest sufferings and shame. In peace may we be present with you, who are present to all. Remember us when you come into your kingdom. Amen.
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes