The Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM) works to facilitate the intent of Orthodox Christians to “do good works” within the penitentiary system. The cumbersome and inconsistent rules surrounding who and what can enter a prison makes direct action nearly impossible. For this reason, we have OCPM trained clergy and lay volunteers ready and willing to work on behalf of the Orthodox community that supports their cause.
There are many ways, however, that good works and awareness surrounding prison ministry can take place that don’t involve entering a prison or jail. An impressive grassroots effort for Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday accomplished by Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma is an example of the type of outside efforts that are inspired by our Lord.
During coffee hour, a PowerPoint presentation (which can be found below) was offered outlining the various components of OCPM which include: church outreach and training, aftercare program, correspondence, and sending of orthodox materials. The presentation also offered prayers and Orthodox considerations surrounding issues of ministering to prisoners. The organizers even went as far as laminating a bookmark size printing of the “Prayer For Those In Prison” for all to take with them.
To conclude the presentation, “prison food” was then served to the community which included oatmeal, toast, and oranges. Each meal was given without a smile or care in order to simulate the daily life of an innocent or guilty inmate.
The response was overwhelming both in the support and also, and more importantly, in the perspectives of the many who were present at the coffee hour that Sunday. Whether against a nameless prisoner or your next door neighbor, we must all work to be “less judging and more forgiving” as Tian Mee, one the main organizers of the event, put it.
PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN JAIL OR PRISON
These prayers can be said for all who are in prison or for a specific person.
Almighty God, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, come to the aid of those in prison (or Name) and grant them (him or her) Your peace in the midst of this difficult time in their (his or her) life. I believe Lord, that all of the trials of life are under Your care and that all things work for the good of those who love You. Take away from those in prison (Name) all fear, anxiety and distress. Help them (him or her) to face and endure their (his or her) incarceration with faith, courage and wisdom. Grant that this trial may bring them (him or her) closer to You for You are our rock and our refuge, our comfort and our hope, our delight and our joy. I trust in Your love and compassion. Blessed is Your name: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.