Are you thinking, “What are the right encouraging words for someone in jail?” You may be wondering how to share your faith with someone incarcerated or what to even say to a non-believer.
This article will cover what to say to inmates, how to say it, and so much more! It even includes inspirational quotes for prisoners and encouraging Bible verses, so you will know exactly what to write.
I’ve been writing to prisoners who have recently been saved for over a decade now. I really didn’t know what to say in the beginning. Today, I’m going to share with you the encouraging words I send to newly saved inmates.
Why Write Encouraging Words for Someone in Jail?
Giving back is a very rewarding experience. You will think about the warm fuzzies you are getting every time you write an inmate a letter. Trust me; you’ll get more out of it than you give!!
Think about what you are doing for the prisoner, too. They need the uplifting words that you can easily provide; they need to know that there is someone out there, serving as a spiritual advocate for them, someone praying on their behalf. You can do this by praying and sending letters and/or care packages.
You can uplift those in prayer, the people who may need you the most. Think about the difference you could make. You could really affect the lives of the inmates you write.
If you share your faith with someone in jail, you may bring them new hope and a greater understanding of their circumstances, which could help them have eternal life with our Lord in heaven. Sharing encouraging words with an inmate is a great volunteer opportunity, a way for you to share your beliefs with someone who is not as fortunate as you are.
Related: How to Write a Letter to Someone in Jail
How to Write Encouraging Words for Someone in Jail
You can use any words of encouragement with a prisoner. Talk about whatever you want with an inmate, but when you start, you might want to keep things light and breezy. You don’t need to talk about heavy stuff.
Share a joke or funny story you hear. Play a game with the inmate, like tic tac toe, or include a crossword puzzle. Make it interesting!
When you talk to the inmate, be sure you have an empathetic attitude; be understanding to the best of your ability. You may want to let the prisoner know that they are in your thoughts and prayers.
Remember that they are incarcerated, placed in confinement for whatever they did or did not do. Writing a letter to an inmate means you do not judge them for their crimes. Remember that the Bible teaches us not to judge others (Matthew 7:1).
Related: How to Write a Soldier a Letter of Encouragement
You can talk about yourself in the letter, too. Explain what your interests and hobbies are and what you do on an average day. Just don’t make the whole conversation about you or your interest in jail life. You can ask questions, and you should ask them, but you can also share too much if you only talk about yourself.
It’s okay to talk about your struggles; it’s good to show your human side, but just explain that you know they are not comparable to what the prisoner is experiencing. You’d hate to come across as a “topper” – someone who always has it worse than you. You don’t know what they’re going through (or what they have been through)!
If you plan to continue writing to the inmate, be sure to include your contact information. However, only do this if you feel safe in doing so.
The Bible also teaches us love is hopeful and everlasting because it endures all things, every circumstance. You need to encourage your inmate, explaining that they have hope and eternal life in Jesus Christ. This will give them a purpose, a reason for moving forward with their life.
Remember that your purpose is not to pique your curiosity or have something to gossip about but rather to put a smile on the face of someone who is in a less fortunate position than you and to spread the Good News through your encouraging words.
Be sure to show the Holy Spirit with your words. Remember what is said in 1 Corinthians 13 about love. Love is patient, kind, and not boastful and proud. Have a loving spirit.
Get to Know the Inmate
You can ask them many questions to get to know them better. Here are some examples of questions you might want to include.
- What is your favorite sport?
- What do you like doing the most?
- Who is your best friend?
- What is your favorite book?
- What is your favorite television show?
- Where are you from?
- What kind of people do you hang out with?
- What do you do for fun?
- How do you spend your time?
- What do you enjoy talking about?
You might want to ask them about any prison work they are able to do or if they are able to take any college or High School courses to further any education they have. Really, just get to know them.
How to Have a Long-Term Relationship with an Inmate
Once you have become accustomed to writing to a prisoner and have gotten the basic introductions done, you can ask them about their hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
What do they have planned for the future when they come outside of prison?
You can ask them about prison life if you want. Just see what kind of things they are able to do and what they miss the most from the outside. For example, they may be able to participate in craft projects or something like that.
At some point in the pen-pal relationship, you may want to ask yourself what your calling is. Were you meant to help this inmate in some way, bring them a positive change to their life, perhaps? How do you think the Lord could use you to reach this person or other people like them? What is your mission in being involved in this worthy cause?
Find out what their passions in life are. What brings them the most joy in life? Once you discover what that is, you can dive in and ask them to expand upon that.
The most important thing for you to do is to lift them up in your thoughts and prayers. Reach them from your heart.
Related: How to Make Christian Friends: The Benefits of Friends
Share Your Faith
If you are looking to bring someone in jail to Jesus Christ, you should go ahead and ask them if they are saved or know who Jesus is. You don’t have to preach to them in the first letter.
Just open up the topic to allow the inmate to express their faith – in their own words. If they aren’t receptive to the Bible, you can still add encouraging Bible verses in your letters.
On the other hand, if they are interested in learning more about living the Christian life, you should tell them the basics first. Explain how Jesus died for our salvation and who Jesus is. This way, they will learn of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the foundation of any relationship with God.
Then, I suggest you share with them some practical steps to grow their faith.
- Read the Bible.
- Study the Bible.
- Memorize Bible verses.
- Pray to the Lord.
- Befriend Christians.
- Attend Church services.
- Go to Bible studies.
Of course, these things may be easier in some jails than they are in others. If they do not have a Bible, you may want to purchase or donate one, so they can read the Word. If they are able to get online, you could ask them to join you in an online Bible study like the one offered by YouVersion.
It’s entirely up to you what you want to say or not say to a prisoner. The most important thing is for you to be uplifting when you share encouraging words for someone in jail.
Related: How to Build a Spiritual Friendship that Lasts
Positive Motivational Quotes for Inmates
Are you ready for some inspirational and spiritual quotes for the inmates you are writing to?
Including inspirational quotes for someone in jail is a good idea because they can cut and paste them on their cell walls if they choose to. Every time they look at the quote, they can meditate on it and think about what it means.
Great thoughts of your sin alone will drive you to despair, but great thoughts of Christ will pilot you into the haven of peace. – Charles Spurgeon
When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, ‘Here is an opportunity for me to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary. – Martin Luther King
We can change the course of events if we go to our knees in believing prayer. – Billy Graham
The greatest faith is born in the hour of despair. When we can see no hope and no way out, then faith rises and brings victory. – Lee Robertson
God’s grace is painted on the canvas of despair. – T. D. Jakes
You can also send inspirational, encouragement quotes to inmates by using the free download, Motivational Life Quotes.
Spiritually Encouraging Words for Someone in Jail
You may need to study your Bible a bit to find the right words to encourage someone in jail. If you already know the person, you can pick Bible verses that apply to that person’s circumstances. Personally, I think inmates need to be encouraged and uplifted during their trials.
When I’ve written prisoners to spiritually encourage them, I urged them to do the following tasks to stay strong in their faith:
- Keep your relationship with God a top priority.
- Read your Bible. This is how you can listen to the Lord.
- Pray because communication is essential. Really pour your heart out, being open and honest with the Lord. Just talk to Him as you would a dear friend. Thank Him for your blessings, and explain any hardships you are going through.
- Remember that God knows what’s best. He doesn’t always give us what we want, but He always knows what is right for us – even if we don’t understand His response.
- Go to any church services and/or Bible studies that you can. Being around other Christians will help grow your faith.
- Try to become friends with other Christians, people with the same morals, people you can turn to when times are hard, and those who can pray for and with you.
- Memorize Bible verses so that God can speak to you when you don’t have your Bible by your side.
- Study the Bible. Immerse yourself in the Word.
- Journal your thoughts and prayers. Get creative!
Remember that you don’t want to judge your inmate based on their beliefs, but you can give them the Good News and help them receive Christ.
Your purpose with your prison pen pal is to offer support in your spiritual letters of encouragement.
Encouraging Words for Someone in Jail – Bible Verses
There are many Bible verses for prisoners that might really help them. Actually, just reading the Bible can help; I believe the Bible has the right hope and encouragement that inmates need. Whichever Bible verses you decide to include in your letters of encouragement for prisoners, just write them out on paper. This will mean so much to the inmates.
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
For the Lord hears the cries of the needy; He does not despise His imprisoned people.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy, for you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in You, for You, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.
Share the Bible with Inmates
In Daniel 6, there is a great story that you could share with your pen pal inmate. And if they need a good prayer to pray every day, consider suggesting something like Psalms 20 or 25. The Serenity Prayer is also a great option. Those are all perfect starter prayers for a new Christian.
I would assume there are many times when prisoners have to deal with other inmates, people who are not all that pleasant to be around.
Having a few Bible verses on that topic is a great idea to send to your prison inmate pen pal. Discuss how they can get through the times when they are surrounded by evil people and the things that are waiting for them in heaven.
- Psalms 37:1-9; 31:14-20
- Psalms 64:1-10
I’ve always had a lot of trouble sleeping. Think about what they must be going through, having to share areas with other people or listen to snoring or yelling in the middle of the night. You could discuss sleeping problems as mentioned in the Bible, which may give them some comfort at night when they hear all sorts of noise.
- Psalms 63:5-6
- Psalms 127:2
I’ve given you some guidance on how to share your faith with an inmate, but a great resource you could use is the One Version Bridge Diagram. It can help you start to talk and share your faith with a non-believer.
Another great tool for evangelism is the Share Your Faith app for smartphones. It helps you explain the basic concepts from the Bible in an easy way.
Related: The Importance of Bible Study (Why Study the Bible?)
How to Write an Inmate – Letter Writing Tips
Although I haven’t read all of the rules on how to write someone in jail (each prison is different), I do have some tips on writing encouraging words to someone in jail.
These should show you exactly how to write a letter to someone in jail. It’s important to follow all of the detention facility’s rules and guidelines, so you can make sure it gets to the prisoner.
Don’t use sprays or perfumes on the letter or envelope. Don’t use colored paper or envelopes.
All mail correspondence is inspected prior to delivery to the inmates, so don’t get too personal.
It’s nice to handwrite the letter because it shows you took the time to write it out for that prisoner, specifically.
If you want the inmate to write you back, be sure to include your contact information. Ask them to stay in touch with you. Explain that you are excited to start a new friendship.
Make sure you follow all rules and guidelines established by the facility you are sending it to.
Related: How to Start Writing Letters to Soldiers
For my all-time favorite letter writing supplies, please check out the Recommended Letter Writing Resources in the free resources! These will help you in writing lots of letters!
How to Address Your Envelope
Address the envelope just as you would a regular envelope.
Address the middle of the envelope like this:
Inmate’s First and Last Name, # Booking Number
The Name of the Detention Facility
The Detention Facility’s Address
City, State ZIP CODE
Monica James, Prisoner #45564856
Orange County County Jail
123 Alameda Street
Orange County, CA 12345
Where to Send Your Encouraging Letters to an Inmate
There are ways to send inmates mail online, but the best way to send encouraging words for someone in jail is by sending via a program or ministry.
For example, many churches have prison ministry programs that you can become an active part of. You may find some programs through your local community center as well.
There is a Free Inmate Locator Tool on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
What have you learned about sharing your faith with someone in jail?
What encouraging words for someone in jail could you say?
Do you wonder how to share your faith with someone who needs it? How can you best share the Gospel with an inmate?
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