December 14, 2023

Can We Pray and Learn Together?

Hebrews 13:1-3

Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

—  Hebrews 13:3

Each month, I try to write letters to young men who grew up in the neighborhood and are now in prison. I have seen lines of boys become young men, make mistakes, and end up in court with no advocate, sentenced to prison for decades. I am asking you to pray for African American men, particularly young ones, in prison. And I want to invite you to learn about the United States prison system, just as I am trying to learn more about it myself.

Over the past three decades, the U.S. prison population has exploded from 300,000 to 2 million. Twenty-five percent of these prisoners are African American, while only 13 percent of the U.S. population is African American. The work of Bryan Stevenson at Equal Justice Initiative has spotlighted the legacy of racism from slavery to incarceration.

It would be easier to judge and write off those who are in prison. But I urge you to "continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison." What might that look like to do so in your corner of the world?

I know we can do better, and I believe wholeheartedly that God wants better for us.

Lord, you created us full of potential, promise, and beauty. Corporate and individual sin and injustice corrupt what you have created for good. We pray for all who are in prison, and may we work to create institutions that bring justice. Amen.

About the author — Joe Huizenga

Joe Huizenga serves as pastor and executive director of Roseland Christian Ministries in Chicago, Illinois. He and his wife, Cate, have four children.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!