Disrupting the small Christian community in Jerusalem, King Herod killed James and had Peter arrested and imprisoned under heavy guard. The church prayed fervently for Peter. While Peter slept chained between two guards, an angel of the Lord awoke him. Peter’s chains fell from his wrists as the angel hastened him from prison to safety.
Jesus often expressed concern for prisoners and captives. In the synagogue in Nazareth, he read from the scroll “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me? He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19). He said this scripture had been fulfilled in his listeners’ presence. (Luke 4:21)
In the parable of the sheep and goats, Jesus emphasized a sign of faithfulness is our visiting the imprisoned. (Matthew 25:31-46) How we treat the marginalized and powerless of society matters. In Jesus’ time and in our time, prisoners are certainly among the least of society.
Just as the church prayed for Peter in prison, we should keep prisoners in our prayers and work for their humane treatment.
God of the marginalized, help us to remember and pray for those in prison. Amen. — JRG