Criminal Justice System Prayers

Lord, you suffered at human hands the pain of false arrest, torture, and unjust punishment, and you commanded us to comfort those in prison. Build a fire in your people, Lord, that we may never learn patience with prejudice or make peace with oppression, but that we may burn with zeal for justice, proportion, and equal protections under law for all people. In the Name of him who died condemned.

Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia

God, we pray for all the people in the criminal justice system.

For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Gal.5:14

Forgive our self-righteousness when we judge others and ignore our own sins. ‘Do not speak evil against one another. . .There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor?’ James 4:11-12

We pray for all who are in prisons and jails. ‘I was in prison and you visited me.’ Matt. 25:36

We pray for all victims, for families, for all who are hurt by crimes. ‘If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.’ 1 Cor. 12:26

We confess that we are a part of a system and a society that reflects sexism, racism, poverty, injustice. ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you . . . have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.’ Matt. 23:23

Help us to look at our priorities as we build more prisons and jails instead of rebuilding lives and communities. ‘The Lord . . . executes justice for the oppressed. . . The Lord sets the prisoners free.’ Psalm 146: 5, 7

O Lord, we pray for strength in our commitment and courage in our service. ‘And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice,and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’ Micah 6:8


United Presbyterian Church

God of the past, present, and future, we thank you for the gift of life and the joy of being in community with one another. We grieve the losses suffered by others daily because of violence and crime, especially the disproportionately large losses suffered by people of color. We pray for victims and offenders of crimes and for the communities that bear the scars of crimes. Show us how to usher in your new community of justice and peace, O God. Take away our fear and fill us instead with the confidence of your Spirit’s presence. We pray in Jesus’ name.


Presbyterian Church USA

God, Our Creator,

We acknowledge the ancestors and original owners of this land, a land of wealth and freedom, far horizons, mountains, forest and shining sand.

Maker and spirit of earth and all creation let your love possess our land and may we share in faith and friendship, the gifts unmeasured from your hand.

We pray for all the imprisoned, those on the inside, whose confinement is obvious as well as those on the outside, whose imprisonment is subtler.

We reach out in grace, knowing that human divisions are false, that we are not the innocent praying for the guilty or the right praying for the wrong but people praying for people, the hurt remembering the hurt, the failure reaching out in love to the failure in a single community.

We remember those who seek to change difficult life stories, midwives of hope and agents of grace.

We remember and pray for the victims of crime on the outside, knowing that we do not have the luxury of black and white, the simple answer or the easy question.

We remember and pray for the countless victims on the inside, casualties of uneven playing fields and difficult starts, dreamless futures and nightmare pasts.

We remember the whole criminal justice system and its process, those caught up in it, those on every side and in every moment of it.

We pray a blessing on all those who enter prison.

We pray a blessing on all those who wait on the outside.

We pray a blessing on the world community.

Teach us to deal with each other with compassion.

Keep all of us ever mindful of your law of love so that we may temper justice with mercy, exercise control with compassion.

May our motives and our actions conform to your will and fulfill your purposes all the days of this life so that we may share in the life to come.


Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

Father of Mercy, the secrets of all hearts are known to you alone. You know who is just and you forgive the unjust. You alone are the Almighty Judge.
We are not worthy of judging anyone. Your mercy is enough for sinners. Hear our prayers for those in prison. Give them repentance and let them believe in you.
Give them patience and hope in their sufferings, and bring them home again soon. Comfort their near and dear ones.
Let them trust in Jesus Christ and live with hope. 


Diocese of Tyler

Click on these links for more prayers:

Catholic Relief Services

The Forward Movement of the Episcopalian Church