Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

May there be no such thing as a common enemy. For this to happen, much must change.

Egypt’s neighbor is at fault in many issues. It is right for Egypt to press her, to hold her accountable, and to act from a proper sense of sovereignty. For an enemy to disappear, this neighbor must change, and must change radically.

Yet for an enemy to disappear, much harder change must occur internally. Help Egypt to exercise sober judgment. Help her to avoid assumption, generalization, and demonization. Help her to resist a simple populism that calls on the baser nature of humanity. May Egypt be lifted up so as to be righteous – seeking justice firmly and mercy liberally. May she be both strong and humble.

Yet so much conspires against such transformation, God. Both Egypt and her neighbor have benefited from recent tragic events; both have received distractions from other internal problems. Yet five Egyptian officers remain dead, and security issues in the Sinai threaten Egypt and her neighbor alike. God, thank you that so far, cooler heads have prevailed. Thank you that protests were not overwhelming, and that to some degree they are lessening.

Yet God, we praise you for these protests. We praise you that Egypt may no longer allow affronts to her sovereignty to pass unrecognized. But teach and guide the people, God, to issue their protest honorably. May they seek alternate explanations and the perspective of the other. May they recognize the humanity and position of difficulty faced by those they oppose. May they have wisdom and grace to love their enemy, yet never back down.

God, Egypt is still suffering from its past sins. These do not negate the sins of the neighbor, but they must be atoned for all the same. How hard this must be for Egypt to recognize, yet help her to do so. Provide men who will lead Egypt in the way of peace, and in so doing, rebuke her neighbors in her example.

God, gently rebuke also those who have continued in the old ways, on all sides. Break their chains, free their hearts, and strengthen their resolve. May Egypt’s revolution transform all aspects of her character – overflow her goodness, and mend her flaws.

May Egypt come to love her neighbor, God. May one day that neighbor follow suit. May this love be built on your ultimate justice, but not shirk back in waiting for it. Comfort all those dealing with the pain even of contemplation. God, grant forgiveness. Grant it especially to those who call for it, who know nothing of this pain. Comfort, comfort… but only love can heal. May Egypt come to love her neighbor.

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