Mothers’ Union Devotion Wednesday 14th October 2020

Heavenly Father, we remember all prisoners isolated from their families, especially those who never receive a visit. We pray for the work of our members who serve in various ways within the prison system. Monday 12th October, Families Worldwide.

This week (11th-17th October) is the annual week of prayer for those in prison which has been running for forty-five years. Prisons Week aims to encourage prayer and awareness of the needs of prisoners and their families, victims of offenders, prison staff and all those who care. It is a project dear to the hearts of Mothers’ Union. Indeed, Mothers’ Union have a representative on the Board of Reference that guides the work and prayers produced for this week. Within our own diocese, of course, we have MU members who work as volunteers within our local prisons.

On the Prisons Week website are the stark numbers which tell us that there are currently 81,536 people in prison in England and Wales and there are 95,228 children with a parent currently in prison. During lockdown, all visits to prisons were stopped leaving both those in prison and their children isolated for months. If such a suspension of visits had happened due to internal issues in the prison, I suspect many of us would never have thought much about how the prisoners and their families were coping. We, however, have been given an insight into just how dreadful being locked away from family and friend can be.

The conditions in prisons in the UK have indeed improved from the dreadful scenes experienced by prison reformers such as Elizabeth Fry. Our experience over the past 7 months has shown us that, no matter how many ‘luxuries’ we have, the hardest thing to live without is the company of those we love, particularly our children, grandchildren or indeed our great-grandchildren.

Not many of us have the calling to work directly in the prison buildings themselves, but we all have the calling to offer up to God our prayers for the prisoners and their families who find themselves separated. Indeed, not just the prisoners but also the prison staff who spend long periods of time away from their families whilst undertaking their duties. We also offer our prayers for the victims of crime and their families, particularly for those families where violent crime has resulted in the loss of a loved one.

Prison Week Prayer

Lord, you offer freedom to all people.
We pray for those in prison.
Break the bonds of fear and isolation that exist.
Support with your love prisoners and their families and friends,
prison staff and all who care.
Heal those who have been wounded by the activities
of others, especially the victims of crime.
Help us to forgive one another.
To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly together with Christ
in His strength and in His Spirit, now and every day. Amen.

With all my love and prayers,

Revd Sandra