Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

An odd participant rejoined the revolution today – Egypt’s version of football hooligans. Feeling oppressed by the police, with colleagues in custody after an altercation, they chose today to rally with other revolutionary forces. After a quiet Ramadan, many were longing for reengagement.

Thank you, God, for their restraint. Before descending to Tahrir they vowed revenge against security, but despite protests in many locations, there were few altercations.

Yet bless their tongues, God. There was no restraint on their cursing, with vile words hurled at police and their families. Many others cheered them on, celebrating their passion and anger. You can redeem anger, God, but there is a better way. Help those protesting to find it. Help them to bless, and not curse. Help them to display the worth of their cause, and shame their opponents with kindness. This may not be in the nature of a hooligan, but you can change their hearts, God. Help them to win the police, not deepen the divide.

Elsewhere the demonstrators demolished a wall, recently constructed to block off the Israeli Embassy. Repeating the hailed bravery of two weeks earlier, some climbed the walls and lowered their flag. Once is clever, twice is amateurish – both are wrong.

God, there are reasons for hostility between Egypt and Israel; work to correct these and bring justice and reconciliation. Yet so many Egyptians made a revolution for dignity, and now some undo these gains willingly, and eagerly. Teach these ones – frustrated by an inability to politically respond to Israel as they wish – that dignity is built on respect. Yes, they believe their nation to be disrespected, but they are responsible for themselves. Restore honor to Egypt, God, and help her as a nation to treat others as she would be treated. Help her to resist oppression and aid the weak, but from a position of moral strength, not theatrics. Grant these few the eyes to see themselves, and to repent.

Yet before today began, God, protests were not driven by revolutionaries but by laborers. Pressure is building on the government as it must respond throughout the country to those long aggrieved, who now seek redress. They have been asked to postpone their causes until stability returns; they have also been threatened for the same. Yet they continue: Is it courage or selfishness, commitment or desperation?

God, grant them wisdom, as well as to those who must weigh their concerns against national interest. May negotiations be fair, God. May parties seek the collective interest of all. May Egypt see its economy lifted, that all might benefit, and none might exploit. Balance the scales, God; bring justice and peace.

For so long Egypt was run with an iron grip, haphazardly. So much now seems to run only on inertia, chugging along, tinkering with the system. Give wisdom to ruling authorities, God; give grace to the people. Preserve this great country through difficult times, that she might be strong once again in due time. Yet as she grows strong, may she also grow good. May Egypt reflect your righteousness, God; may she be a land of peace and prosperity.

Amen.

 

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