Stephen Hawkins, PF’s Operations Manager and Prisons Week trustee tells us about this year’s event.
Q: Why is PF involved in Prisons Week?
Each year, Prisons Week is our opportunity to connect with the whole national church and encourage them to engage with PF’s mission to love those in prison in Christ’s Name. PF partners with organisations doing incredible work with those inside and outside of prison. The UK has a vibrant prison ministry— different organisations working together is a great image of the body of Christ. Prisons Week opens further opportunities for us to pray. It invites the whole church to be intentional about prison work and to go deeper in prayer.
Q: What is this year’s theme and invitation?
This year’s prayers are a lament journey in recognition of the difficult period we have gone through, and many of us are still in. People in prison will be invited to go through that journey of lament and you are also invited to pray and support them through this week. Every prison receives 100 Prisons Week leaflets and many request more. Some do a Prisons Week service on the Sunday.
Sunday services in prisons are often packed with people wanting to know about faith. Prisons Week reflects the desire of those in our prisons to journey with God.
Q: How can people get more involved in Prisons Week?
The Prisons Week leaflet is a great starting point as it will guide you through the week. If you want to go deeper in prayer throughout the whole year, PF’s monthly Prayer Diary is a great addition, along with the Prayer Line prayers which can be accessed through PrayerMate.
Spreading the word about Prisons Week is incredibly helpful for all organisations involved in prison ministry. Please share posts on social media, talk to colleagues or friends, or play the Prisons Week video on Sunday. Every conversation or connection is valuable. If your church is interested in prison ministry, perhaps you could arrange a guest speaker from PF.
Beyond that, Prisons Week offers an opportunity to assess your involvement in prison ministry. This is a chance to reflect: is there something more that you could do? Could you give more of your time? Commit to praying more? Financially support a prison ministry organisation?
During Prisons Week, we are invited to pray for those in prison and to support them as they journey from despair to hope.
Day 1: Grief – we pray for all those in prison experiencing grief and despair. We also think of others who are affected by imprisonment: friends, families and loved ones.
Day 2: Getting help – we pray those in prison would find the support they need and we thank God for those who work to help people in prison.
Day 3: Acceptance – often the first step in recovery and moving forward, we pray for all those in prison who are coming to terms with the reality of their situation.
Day 4: Letting go – we lift up all those in prison who are looking for peace through their own means. We pray they would let go of coping strategies such as drugs and alcohol, and move away from crime.
Day 5: Letting God – we pray for all those in prison who are exploring or contemplating faith.
Day 6: Hope – we pray for all those in prison who have begun to hope, for those who work to cultivate hope in their lives, and that we may continue to hope for all those in prison.
Day 7: Promise – as those in prison begin to hope for a better future, we pray they would be encouraged and assured by God’s promises for them.
For information on Prisons Week, please visit www.prisonsweek.org