Posted by: minnow | January 2, 2009

Prison Prayer

Today is the day I pray for my friend’s brother who is in prison, my friend and the rest of her family.  I did not remember that until I got to work this morning (12:30AM) and started to read the group home log.  Normally I have it marked on the calendar but alass we do not yet have our 2009 calendar up at home. 

ASIDE:  We make a family calendar comprised of photos from the previous year and give it out as gifts to the grandparents.  This year only one got finished and sent off so far.  ARGH!  Anyway, ours is not done either.

My friend did not write this year at Christmas, not even an e-mail on my birthday.  I am left to imagine that the stress of trying to be available for her family, long distance, is wearing her down.  She is in New Jersey.  Her family is in Michigan.  I do not actually know how to pray in this situation.  I can not change his sentence.  I can not make a prison system that has so far seemed cold, impenitrible, irresponsible, unyielding, and confusing change and suddenly recognize my friend’s brother’s  mental health issues and vulnerablities.  I cannot guarantee to my friend that her brother will be okay or that he will even survive this experience.  (He has eleven years of a twelve year sentence to go and has already overdosed on what he was told were stress relief pills resulting in hospitalization and the loss of all his priveledges including some visits from family.  He has also been beaten, supposedly when  guards unlocked his cell, to the point of needing to be hospitalized again which resulted in him being moved to two different prisons before ending up back where he started and needing to some how pay not only for the hospitalization but also the multiple moves.  Do I need to say that our penal system is out of wack?

It is Friday.  Most of us are looking forward to a quiet weekend of football watching and maybe packing some Christmas decorations away for another season.  My friend is hoping that sometime this weekend she will be able to talk with her brother.  Her brother is hoping that sometime this weekend he will get to see his parents.  And his parents are hoping that sometime this weekend they will beable to navigate the drive over Michigan highways that have been hit by lake effect snow storms to see their son.  If you happen to read this post, even if it is not still Friday, can you say a prayer for my friend Melissa and her brother Joshua?  I am afraid my prayers are terribly inadequate.



  1. I have faith that your prayers are very adequate but I will say a prayer for them nevertheless. Very interesting post. Have faith my friend and have a Happy New Year!

  2. Thank you, Minnow, for sharing Melissa’s and Joshua’s story — and for sharing your own vulnerabilities.

    I feel the same overwhelmed inadequacy at contemplating Joshua’s impossible situation — and I’m sure I don’t know the half of it.

    Truely, prayerful words that sound eloquent or effective seem to fall flat in the face of such complicated circumstances. And, yet, in one respect, it’s not complicated at all. These people need to see each other, no matter how impossible or weird the moment. They need to connect, to remind one another of their significance in simply being.

    Lord, this seems impossible. Please do the impossible — no matter how small that might seem to outward eyes.


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