Most UK Christians are probably far removed from the prison scene, many never having visited inmates in one of HM’s Pleasures. So it is helpful that Prison HOPE has recently published a resource called Forty Stories of Hope, which shares 40 testimonies from prisoners about how their lives have been transformed by faith in Christ. Some of these stories are of prisoners who have now been released; others are of those who remain in prison today. The resource places the stories alongside readings, reflections, and Bible studies on the book of Mark, highlighting the ultimate story of hope: the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Prison HOPE is a partnership of Christian churches, prison ministries, former prisoners and their families, encouraging Christians to PRAY for prisons and to support organisations working in prisons, including through volunteering. It is part of the HOPE initiative, which has built a network of churches and organisations in the UK, including the Evangelical Alliance, focusing on social transformation. In the foreword to the book, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby writes: “There is no one, no life, no story that is beyond God’s power to love and transform into renewal. Reconciliation is at the heart of it: reconciliation with ourselves, in the face of shame and guilt about the past; reconciliation within families, friends and relationships; and most importantly, reconciliation with a loving God in the person of Jesus Christ. Many of the prisoners who have shared their stories in this book have discovered life-changing truth.” The book is designed to help Christians to PRAY for prisoners. Many churches will be using the resource as a study guide during Lent 2018, and many prison ministries will be doing the same. Pastor Agu Irukwu, Senior Pastor at Jesus House, writes of the resource: “The beauty of the Christian faith is that the unmerited grace of God is given freely to all who believe. As a result, men and women, no matter their personal circumstances, can have a personal relationship with God through his son Jesus Christ. These real-life stories show that beauty.” Copies of the resource can be ordered through the Prison HOPE website.
Source: Evangelical Alliance; Prison HOPE
Bible Study: Romans 6:5-10
DECEMBER PRAISE God He offers freedom for those in chains.
PRAY for people in prison to be moved by God’s Spirit and seek the One who gives freedom.
PRAY for prison staff that they too may have opportunities to find the Saviour.