Below is the prayer I was privileged to pray today at Nelson Mandela's home in Houghton, Johannesburg.
I share it on this, the International Day of Prayer for Peace, and the day after so many of us joined in a Human Chain in Pretoria to stand up for the values for which Madiba has dedicated his life – values of unity, non-racialism, democracy, and a nation free from poverty (see http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/607ffb00412aeb6ba3c8af9aacc0ad31/South-Africans-urged-to-make-rainbow-nation-a-reality---20130920). I ask Anglicans in Southern Africa and around the world, and everyone else who feels able, to join me in continuing to pray for Madiba, for his legacy to bear a rich harvest, and for the peace of the world.
Let us pray:
Creator God, Lord of Life and Love, you hold the whole universe in your hands
and yet you also number the hairs on all our heads.
You know the fates of the nations, and the hopes and fears of each individual.
On this, the International Day of Prayer for Peace, we pray for the peace of the world –
for peace without, and for peace within.
Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace,
may your shalom touch every place of conflict, division, brokenness, or fear.
May it fill our communities, families, and lives.
From the horrors of Syria and the turmoil of South Sudan,
to the fractured relationships and violence of too many homes,
bring your reconciling love.
We pray also for South Africa on the eve of Heritage Day.
Help us to draw on the best lessons of our past,
and build on the firm foundations that, by your grace, Madiba laid for us.
Give us courage to hold fast to his values, to follow the example of his praxis,
and to share them with the world.
We thank you that, in human chains, we can stand together for the united,
non-racial, democratic nation, free from poverty, for which he strove.
We lift our hearts, with gratitude for your loving care,
giving thanks that Madiba has been able to come home.
We thank you for all who have tended him, and who continue to do so,
and that he now is stronger and more comfortable.
We especially pray for courage and strength for Ma Machel at such a time as this.
Hold him in the palm of your hand, surround him with your love,
and give him – and all who love him – that deep sense of assurance and inner peace
that we are all kept safely in your infinite merciful care, that never lets us go.
Draw him ever closer to your heart, so that when your perfect time comes
he may make that final journey home to you, without fear and without pain.
Give all who love him the courage to entrust him to your never-failing care,
knowing you are doing for him things beyond all we can think or ask.
Come, Holy Spirit, renew the face of the earth with your breath of life,
so that even as we walk in the valley of the shadow of death,
we may know that Jesus Christ has opened for us the gates to everlasting life.
This we pray in his holy, precious name. Amen