Editor’s Note: The following prayers, along with more than a hundred others, were delivered to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Thursday. The same small selection of prayers was printed in Solitary Watch’s latest quarterly print edition, which goes out to some 800 individuals currently in solitary confinement. The complete collection of prayers can be found here.
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In advance of Torture Awareness Month this June, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, California Families Against Solitary Confinement, the American Friends Service Committee, and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, issued a national call for people of faith and conscience to compose and share prayers for all who remain in conditions of isolated confinement, and in remembrance of the significance of the upcoming one year anniversary of the historic peaceful prisoner hunger strike throughout California prisons which began July 8, 2013, with more than 30,000 participating.
The national response to the call for prayer was moving and overwhelming, with more than one hundred prayers submitted in a matter of days. The prayers share an urgent call for restorative justice and an end to the cruel and inhumane treatment of long-term isolation, and for an end to systems and practices that sow division and distrust.
On June 26, the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, an interfaith clergy delegation will meet with the California Department of Corrections to deliver a collection of the prayers printed on prayer cards, with a request that the cards be delivered to those who remain in SHU in California.
The spirit of this interfaith and nationwide effort extends to all who remain in solitary confinement. We share a small selection of the prayers with the hope that they will serve as a reminder to you, reader, that you are not alone, that you are not forgotten, and that the prayers of our global family continue for you. We believe in freedom and will not rest until it comes.
—Rev. Laura Markle Downton, National Religious Campaign Against Torture
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May you know in your being that there are people who care about your suffering and who think of you and your pain. May you know that there are those who are fighting for the injustice being done to you. May you find relief from the pain of isolation and confinement. May you know that you are not alone. May you feel held in the web of life. In love and care —K.R.P.
Lord be with all your children in Seg or SHU right now, wrap your arms of love and grace around them and fill them all up with your love, peace, joy, rest, stillness and an inner strength, I pray, and also that they be removed from SHU or Seg right now. So many have been in for nothing and they need to be released and rehabilitated too to mainline. Encamp your angels all around them also I pray. Amen. — D.C.
I humbly seek your guidance Heavenly Father for all the men and women without voices that are screaming to the Heavens using their bodies! Heavenly Father, watch over these men and women held without human contact, without hope, except in you Heavenly Father. Father you aided me when I was one of these men and helped me carry my burden, for I would not have been able to do this without your loving arms to support me. These men are sacrificing the health and possible life in their endeavors to be treated humanely. All things are possible through the Heavenly Father, His Only Son and the Holy Spirit. —B.N., Your Brother in Struggle
For world peace and personal happiness, please chant
It is a wish-granting jewel of a prayer.
Nam, mee-yo-ho, rin-gay, kee-yo.
Say it three times, with conviction in your heart, that
ultimately, you are a Buddha.
It is true. You. Are. A. Buddha.
Nam, myoho, renge, kyo. —L.B.
In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful
Praise be to Allah, lord of the worlds
The most Beneficent, the most Merciful
The Only ruling Judge on the Day of Judgment
You alone do we worship, from you alone do we seek help,
Guide us along the straight path
With those of whom have your favor
Not those who have earned your anger,
Not those who go astray. Amen. —M.M.
Jesus, Incarnate God, our blindness to your gift of Life led to your judgment, imprisonment, and sentence to death. You are present now in all who are imprisoned, whether justly or unjustly. Be with each one in compassion and light. Awaken each one to the gift of your holy truth and infinite, personal love. May each one experience the freedom that comes of accepting you in faith. Amen. —Sister H.R.
Dear God, I ask you to comfort those who are in solitary confinement. Please don’t let them give up hope or lose their dignity. Let them know that they are not forgotten. I thank you for the many people who are moved to act to end the huge overuse of incarceration and solitary confinement. Please help us to create a society where everyone is treated with love. —A.
Dear one, May the God of Justice –the Holy One who cries with us when we weep, listens to our pleas and delivers us from evil–hear our cries this day. May your bravery inspire the people of this state to rise up and ban solitary confinement once and for all. May the God who never leaves us or forsakes us bring you strength, courage and encouragement, even in your darkest days. You are not alone. —M.
In hunger you made a stand to end a punishment most unusual and cruel of being kept apart from your fellow man so here is a prayer that this unfair treatment may end and you rightfully restored to the human race again. Blessings to you. Love with Peace. —D.S.
A mí y a mucha gente nos indigna la injusticia que Uds. están viviendo.
Sepan que no descansaremos hasta que este horror de saparezca del mundo.
A Uds. van dirigidos nuestros más tiernos sentimientos y más altos pensamientos.
Que Dios borre del mundo toda esta miseria humana.
Please know that God is ever present everywhere. That means holding you and surrounding you even in Man’s prisons. You are a Child of God and loved deeply by your Source of Life and Love and Light. I pray you experience this Truth. We are all connected as One in the Universe.
The Ubuntu saying is “I AM, BECAUSE WE ARE ”
And You Are. Amen. Best Wishes & Blessings. —S.M.
You are loved. You are not forgotten. You are not invisible. We will not stop fighting for you, and for us all. We stand outside in solidarity, inside our one heart, our collective soul, our spirits calling out for change, our hands working for it. We will not give up. —J.S.
Great Spirit, You who are That which connects each of us to each other ~ each of us drops of water, leaves, animals and people ~ keep us always aware that we are in you One, through prison walls of concrete and steel, that all the oppression of our sisters and brothers in prisons and prisoners’ families, oppresses us, that their victories are ours. —C.F.L.
Immanent God, God who is near to the broken-hearted, God who is found even in the darkest places, you alone can penetrate any wall, break through any barrier, enter every heart. So I pray that you accompany each and every person in solitary confinement today and every day. Be with them. Fortify their spirits. Comfort their hearts. Strengthen their minds. Keep alive in them hope. God who sees and knows all,
May those in isolation believe, indeed know in the hidden recesses of their hearts, that there are many of us who are working to bring their hidden stories into view. May this bring them encouragement. May they feel in their souls, that there are indeed thousands of us who feel in our souls a deep and sharp pain for all they endure. May they feel and may they know that there are thousands of us who care for them, who are fighting for them, who have not forgotten and who will not forget them.
Dearest God – source of life of every one of us – every parent and every child, console the hearts, encourage the spirits and strengthen the resolve of the friends and families of those in isolation. May they, and their loved ones in isolation know that in their struggle – they are not alone.