In memory of Nelson Mandela, z”l, this is a revision of my prayer “Against Tyranny.” I wrote the original version in the wake of the armed struggles against oppressive regimes that collectively became known as the Arab Spring. Hopefully, perhaps naively, I wrote a series of prayers that envisioned freedom prevailing quickly in those nations and the flowering of democratic governments throughout the Middle East. This revision anticipates non-violent struggle for freedom and justice, making it into a true tribute to Mr. Mandela. It also includes a new stanza honoring his memory. The memory of the righteous is a blessing.
For Nelson Mandela: Against Tyranny, Revised
G-d of the oppressed,
G-d of the dominated and exploited,
The voice of freedom echoes across the land,
A hunger for liberation
And an end to the reign of tyrants.
Subjugated and abused,
Smothered and forgotten,
Face the despot with dignity and honor,
Risking their personal safety
In the name of the future,
With the dream of emancipation.
Source of mercy,
Rock of generations,
You have led people to deliverance in every age.
Bless those who struggle against repression.
Grant them courage and fortitude,
Safety and strength.
May their purpose remain righteous
And their vision focused on peace.
Bring an end to the rule of dictators in every land.
Release the hand of cruelty and evil.
Thwart the hand of brutality.
Grant a swift end to tyranny wherever it’s found,
So that renewal can begin
And hope renewed.
G-d of heroes,
Ancient and new,
Grant a perfect rest among the souls of the righteous
To Nelson Mandela,
Whose path of non-violence
Inspired humanity and freed peoples.
May his dedication to justice and forgiveness
Serve as a shining lamp of love.
May the works of his hands
Bring us all merit in heaven
And let his memory bring the world
Devotion to love and liberty on earth.
Blessed are You, G-d of All,
Who summons us to free the captive,
And build a world of peace.
© 2013 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: Other prayers for social justice include: “Against Human Trafficking” and “Against Poverty.” Here’s a link to a list of all of my prayers for social justice. The original version of this prayer first appeared here on February 24, 2011.
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