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The praiseworthy deeds of the Lord – Peter Holloway

I was recently listening to someone talk about all the marvellous ways in which their charity was helping people in prison. As they spoke, I was struck by some of the similarities to Prison Fellowship’s (PF’s) work. But there were also elements that did not sound like a PF volunteer speaking, and I could not immediately work out why.

And then it suddenly occurred to me: PF is distinctive in many ways. One of these is that our Volunteers are much more likely to talk about what God has done through PF, rather than to boast about what they have personally achieved.

Psalm 78 contrasts the wonderful blessings of God with our lack of gratefulness, our weaknesses and tendency to fall. In verse four, the writer says that we will tell the next generation of the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done. In each of the last 45 years in PF, we have been able to tell the same story of the praiseworthy deeds of God and pass on that history to the new generations of Volunteers who are joining us.

During the last year, we have seen the number of people in prison writing through Letter Link reach record levels, the number of learners taking part in Sycamore Tree double, and a staggering 100 prisons wishing to use Angel Tree to provide presents to the children of parents in prison.

Our new Bible Studies and Prayer Line programmes continue to bless many, and we have been blessed further through being asked to start a new Pastoral Care work supporting Chaplains.

My heart is full of joy when I think of all that God is doing through PF’s amazing Volunteers. 

In the first chapter of John’s Gospel, we read of how, when Andrew found Jesus, the first thing he did was to find his brother Simon-Peter and bring him to Jesus. As the New Year begins, may I encourage you to prayerfully think about who you know might tell of the praiseworthy deeds that God has done and be like Andrew and call others to join God’s work?

John’s Gospel goes on to describe how Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him about Jesus. But his initial reaction was to mock Philip and ask if anything good could come from Nazareth. Then, after only one moment with Jesus, Nathanael changed his mind!

As people whose mission it is to love those in prison in Christ’s Name, we have the extraordinary opportunity this year to be a channel of God’s love to the adults and children who are in prison. But, having already seen for ourselves what God is doing there, we can declare His deeds and draw others to join this extraordinary mission.

Peter Holloway is the Chief Executive of Prison Fellowship England and Wales.

This article was first published in our quarterly magazine in:sight. You can sign up to receive our free magazine by post or via email by visiting

“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

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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.

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