Two 120-day devotionals are being distributed to over 100,000 prison inmates in what has been described as one of Prison Fellowship’s biggest outreach efforts in its 45-year history.
The effort, which began July 1, was started as another way Prison Fellowship can spread the gospel to transform the lives and hearts of prisoners. Prison Fellowship is a Christian organization aimed at reaching and serving “all those affected by crime and incarceration, and to see lives and communities restored in and out of prison – one transformed life at a time.” It is the largest prisoner outreach organization in the U.S.
“The Lord loves people, and He loves people in prison,” Dan Kingery, executive vice president of field programs with Prison Fellowship, said. “We encounter the Lord in a number of ways, but significantly through the written Word, and so this gave us a chance to provide something for the people inside that would give them a path to follow.”
The group announced its partnership with Moody Bible Institute in June. Through the partnership, the organizations has begun sending two distinct 120-day devotionals – one for men and one for women – into the hands of the over 100,000 inmates. The devotionals are based on Moody Bible Institute’s Today in the Word daily devotional list, and they include “testimonials, a Bible study through the four gospels, and discussion questions.” In addition, both the men’s and women’s editions feature articles on how to know Jesus and teaching about how to read the Bible and pray – all written by faculty of the Moody Bible Institute and Moody Theological Seminary.
“We saw this really great opportunity to encourage people to engage in the Word of God on a daily basis,” Kingery said.
These devotionals pair with a previous effort done by the organization. In 11 months, Prison Fellowship distributed over “120,000 Life Recovery Bibles to prisons across America.” The organization explains that those who previously received these Bibles will now have the new devotionals to go with them.
Prison Fellowship has also engaged in other acts of outreach and support. The organization provides Inside Journal, a quarterly newspaper, to prisoners that “offers the hope of the Gospel, relatable stories of other prisoners with transformed lives, and practical advice about making the most of a prison sentence.” Prison Fellowship Academy offers a biblically based program aimed at helping prisoners see a “holistic life transformation.” The group also advocates for “justice that restores” within the legal system, promoting community engagement with the judicial process as well as seeking accountability for the responsible party while still providing justice and validation to the affected individual or group.
“I think the misunderstanding is that prisons are some other place with some other people,” Kingery said, “but they’re a community of people, and they have the same needs that you and I do.”
Indeed – Prison Fellowship’s website reaffirms this as a reason for engaging in these acts:
“Men and women behind bars, victims of crime, families torn apart by incarceration – all are loved by God and worthy of our attention. There is always hope. Together, we strive to make prisons safer and more rehabilitative, advance criminal justice reforms, and help all those affected by crime to heal and flourish.”
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