Back To All Devotional

‘Mothers’ – Angie Lovell

‘And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity’ (Colossians 3:14).

As we think of our mothers, each of us will recall different memories and characteristics: Patient, calm, loving, provider, instructor, washer of clothes, keeper of rules, arranger of our day, fair in judgement, level-headed, rarely angered, understanding and in control.

Yet, we do not live in a perfect world. And so, for many people, such words will not fill the memories of their mothers. Often, a mother’s circumstances will dictate what they are able to provide or achieve for their children.

When Mary Kay Beard, the founder of Angel Tree, was in prison, she saw mothers wrapping toiletries they had been given to send to their children. Mary Kay said, ‘She might be a thief like me, or a drug addict, but she has the heart of a mama.’

A prison sentence does not negate the love a mother feels for her children. This Mother’s Day, as we remember and pray for mothers who live in complex circumstances, let’s focus on putting on love (Colossians 3:14) and seeing the care and love that mothers in prison show for their children.

Sadly, around 200 pregnant women enter prisons in England and Wales each year and about 50 babies are born inside. The UK government has implemented a policy to improve the care for pregnant women and mothers in prison. (1) The policy includes individual care plans and increased staff training on supporting vulnerable mothers and pregnant women. Every female prison will have a resident Pregnancy and Mother Specialist, ensuring those who need extra care can get it. The support currently available to women on Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) – specialist centres where mothers can live with children up to eighteen months old receiving dedicated care – will now be formally extended to pregnant women and those separated from young children. The goal is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for both mother and child, allowing them to bond during this crucial stage of development.

The government also has a flagship ‘Female Offender Strategy’ initiative which aims to reduce the number of women – especially those with children – sent to prison. Instead, it promotes ‘robust community sentences’ where appropriate, allowing women to receive treatment for the underlying issues driving their criminal behaviour. It is also developing and rolling out perinatal and mental healthcare pathways to ensure a national and co-ordinated approach for pregnant women and mothers in custody.

As we approach Mother’s Day, let us keep mothers who are in prison in our prayers. Let us ask God that these governmental changes bring fresh hope and new beginnings for mothers in prison and their children.

Let us also remember mothers who are separated or even estranged from their child who is in prison. Ask God to help bridge the divide they face and bring restoration, reconciliation and joy to these strained relationships.

Angie Lovell is a PF Group Leader and Area Co-ordinator.

Download the March Prayer Diary, with a prompt each day for how we can pray for our prisons and our ministries.

Did you know you can receive the monthly devotional and Prayer Diary by email? Use this link to sign up.

“I can honestly say that I never had as much satisfaction when I worked as I do now as a volunteer.” — Arthur, Chaplaincy Support volunteer

Volunteer with PF

Volunteers are the life-blood of our organisation, and what they do in the lives of those in prison and as they pray, is incredibly valuable. If you are looking to use your time to support some of the most marginalised people in our society to transform their lives, then volunteering could be for you.

Find out more