This is a remarkable man who has been an inspiration to many, who has brought great healing and who stands for fairness, acceptance and unity. He is human also with the frailties of man, a great man, a man who is not a god but whom many think of in god-like terms: he has not asked for this status but he is revered nonetheless.
It may be that there is for some people a dependency on his continuing presence, secluded though it is now, and a belief that without him the safer world he helped to create for them will go. I wonder, then, how many of the heart-felt prayers that are said for his well-being all the time are, unintentionally, made for personal reasons rather than wholeheartedly in his best interests?
Please do not mis-understand me: prayer is a wonderful gift to give and to receive, and Nelson Mandela deserves all expressions of gratitude and love for who he is and what he has done. However, there is a big difference between a prayer for someone's general wellbeing, and a prayer for someone's survival in body: the one is broad and gives freedom to that person's soul to go where it chooses, while the other is narrow and situation-specific, based on the wishes of the pray-er not the recipient. The power of prayer is strong, and I have seen a number of closing scenes where a soul is ready to leave for its next journey but the grief and fears of relatives expressed through prayer hold it back. It is understandable, but is it fair?
We do not know when Mandela's soul will choose to leave his frail body, and it is none of our business, but I hope, for the sake of his soul, that it is not delayed through the weight of possibly subjective wishes for his continuation in human life. Let the prayers be for his remarkable soul and his comfort in his remaining days on Earth, with love and gratitude - for his sake and not for ours.]]>