Today our focus is on families and prison visits.
Jesus set the standard with His Gospel identification: I was in prison and you visited Me. Few prison visits could be as significant as that made to Jeremiah in the lead up to the Babylonian exile.
His prophetic outspokenness was not popular and he ended up sinking in slime in the prince’s dungeon. It was then that his friends sought permission from the King and came with rags and ropes to rescue him.
Visitors’ searches today would have stopped the rags and ropes, but for a prisoner in low spirits a positive visit is uplifting.
Separation is not just difficult for the prisoners, it is hard on families and friends too.
Visitors’ passes might be a challenge to secure and considerable distances may have to be travelled.
The minutes might slip by all too quickly but even a short time together can bring hope.
Lifting people out of despondency takes commitment. We need to pray that family relationships stay strong during sentences and that visits from family and friends make a difference.
Maybe we too should be such a befriender in the light of Jesus’ challenge.