How to Pray for Those in Prison
At age 27, Don D. was sent to prison to serve a three-year term at the Wynn Unit in Huntsville, Texas for the sale and possession of illegal drugs. His mother, Clara Ruth, prayed earnestly that some day he would stop serving the devil and start serving God. It took some time for that prayer to be answered, but because she prayed according to His will, God has answered her prayer.
Today at age 51, after being saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and delivered from drug addiction, Don’s testimony is, “I’m going to serve God with the same intensity that I served the devil. I I’m going to take more with me to heaven than I took with me to hell.” And He’s doing just that. Not a day goes by witness to someone about Jesus, particularly his old buddies from the past.
Every chance he gets, he travel with a ministry back into to help Win souls.
The number of prisoners under the jurisdiction of federal and state correctional authorities more than doubled in the ten-year period from 1983 to 1993. At year-end 1994, it reached a record high with a growth rate of 8.6 percent over the previous year. Prisoners serving a drug-related sentence increased from 8 percent of the state and federal population in 1980 to 26 percent in 1993.1
We live in a society in which nearly every family is either directly or indirectly affected by the American penal system. Most likely, you either know or are related to someone like Don who is or has been in prison. If you do not know someone right now, chances are, one day you will know someone who will serve time.
Society tends to cast these people away as no good—unable to be rehabilitated—but this is not God’s attitude.
To God, no one is a castaway. To Him, each person is an individual of destiny brimming with potential. For those in prison, however, that potential will not be reached unless someone intervenes and that intervention cannot take place unless someone prays. Don’s life took a different turn because Clara Ruth prayed and expected God to do something. There is hope for anyone you may know who is in prison, too, but you need to know how to pray accurately.
The Bible is very explicit about how to pray correctly and get results when you pray.
First, you must realize that this is more than a moral or criminal problem; it is a spiritual problem. In addition to being held in a state or federal prison, a person is bound in a spiritual prison. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavely places” (Ephesians 6:12)2. Left unhindered, these evil spirits have free reign to keep a person bound and doomed to making wrong choices.
In order to set someone in prison free to make the right choices, you must first deal with the evil spirits. As a believer, you have been given the power to do this. In Luke 10:19, Jesus said, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” He also said, “If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a stron man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house” (Matthew 12:28-29). The strong man is the evil spirit which has influenced this person to make destructive decisions.
In order to enter the strong man’s house and spoil the goods (influence he has over someone), the first thing you must do is bind the strong man by taking your God-given authority over him.
Say, “You spirit operating in the life of (name of
person) trying to keep him out of the kingdom of God, I bind you on (today’s date) and render you helpless in your efforts to destroy his life and keep him from making Jesus the Lord of his life. I cast you down and take your authority over him from you.” (Note: Please use feminine pronoun in all prayers when appropriate.)
Please note that Jesus gave you the authority to bind the devil. Some people pray inaccurately by saying something like, “Oh, God, bind the devil.” You will notice in Matthew 18:18 that Jesus did not instruct us to go through God when binding the devil. He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” So you must speak directly to the evil spirit.
Once you have bound the strong man, you do not need to pray this prayer again. If the evil spirit has been bound, he’s bound!
Next, write down the following statement of faith: “Devil, I bound you according to Matthew 18:18, Matthew 12:28-29 and Luke 10:19 on theday ______ of _____, 19___, in the Name of Jesus’ and you are bound!
Therefore, you are desisting in your maneuvers against _______ and he is going to make Jesus the Lord of his life and you cannot stop him.”
Place this prayer where you will see it often. Every time you see it, say it out loud. Your spiritual weapon in prayer is the Word of God. As you continually speak the Word, you will spoil the strong man’s house.
Now that the evil spirit is taken care of, it is time for intervention. Jesus said in Matthew
9:38, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” You can pray this way, “Father, You’re the Lord of the harvest and I pray that You send someone across the path of _________, to speak the Word of God boldly
and with grace so he may understand it and come to know Jesus as his personal Savior”
Write down the date you prayed this prayer and every time you see it, thank God for the answer. The date you prayed is the day you believed you received your answer according to Mark 11:24. “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
God knows who it will take to reach each person. He knows who will be able to break through the tough exterior and touch his heart with the compassion of the Lord. Trust Him to do it. He is faithful to keep His promise to you (Hebrews 11:11). Every time the thought comes to your mind, resist the tendency to worry and just thank God for doing it. Pray something like this: “Father,, I’ve bound the strong man. I’m holding him off so You can do Your part. You know who ________ will listen to. You know what that laborer must say to reach his heart, so I’m trusting You. I expect him to come into the kingdom of God now and I thank You for seeing to it.
I also thank You for giving your angels charge over________ and keeping him safe at all times. I plead the blood of Jesus for his protection against every evil spirit, every evil person and every evil plan of the devil. No weapon formed against him shall prosper according to Your Word. I praise You, Lord, that he has favor with all officials and those in authority over him, as well as with fellow inmates.
And I thank You, Father, that as a born-again believer, ________ will joyfully study Your Word and grow strong in Your wisdom and revelation knowledge.
Fill any vacant place within him with Your Word. I thank You that he chooses to leave behind those things which aren’t of You.
_________ walks in the kingdom of God which is righteousness, peace and joy in the. Holy Spirit! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
This stage in prayer is very important. Trusting God to answer your prayer and giving Him thanks go hand in hand.
Notice Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” An attitude of thanksgiving will keep you from worrying. No matter what happens in the meantime or how long it takes, if you keep thanking God for the answer, you will not abandon your faith stand.
Now, while you are expecting God to answer your prayer, you can be the answer to someone else’s prayers. Become a laborer yourself. Like Don D., be willing to witness and set the spiritual captives free by being filled with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
Consider supporting a local jail or prison ministry. Do not allow fear to hold you back. Get involved. Become a laborer and sow some seed into the lives of others for the salvation of the person you are believing God to change.
Remember, to pray accurately for people in prison:
1) bind the devil,
2) continue to make your faith confession, 3) ask God to send laborers into their paths, 4) thank God for answering your prayer, and then
5) become a laborer yourself.
- Prison population: U.S. Dept. of Justice Sourcebook 1994, Bureau of Justice Statistics
- All scriptures quoted are from the New King James Version Bible.
Kenneth Copeland Ministries Fort Worth, Texas 76192-0001