Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

Egypt moves forward, but then seems to take two steps back. Round two elections were completed this week. They were peaceful – for the most part – but accusations of fraud were plentiful. It is hard to know if there is deep and real cheating, if there are minor and exuberant excesses, or if there are planted rumors to discredit either candidates, parties, or the process itself. God, grant the authorities the wisdom and conviction to investigate thoroughly. Elections only grant legitimacy and move democracy forward if they are free and fair.

Politically things were quiet in-between rounds. Forces anticipate the round one percentage for Islamists to hold, and it seems party leaders are taking stock of the situation, engaged in internal discussions. Yet there will be decisions to make for all: Should the Brotherhood ally with the Salafis, or with the liberals? Should the liberals agree to ally with Islamists at all? Should they lean on the military to confront their power, or should all political forces unite to lean against the military? God, these choices will be rife with consequences; steer each group toward sincerity of action, and meld their decisions together for the common good.

And on the heels of counting the ballots, violence erupts again. A persistent but not overly populous sit-in at the government cabinet offices was attacked from above. By appearances, military personnel mixed with plain-clothed Egyptians to throw rocks, glass, and even office equipment, on the protestors below. Some are reported to have been shot; two are dead and a hundred injured. Molotovs were mixed by the protestor; some seem to have tried to burn the parliament building on which assailants stood.

God, such things are perplexing. If those in uniform were indeed the military, have some lost discipline? Has authority waned? Worse, could it be allowed, or even encouraged? Why? All in all it was such a minor incident – rock throwing reminiscent of children – but so many are angry even small things can explode. Meanwhile there is much that is not small – deaths, beatings, arrests.

Give eyes to the military leaders, God, that they may see what is happening and respond accordingly. Grant them an uprightness of character to hold their institution together and have it serve the Egyptian people. Give them insight to discover any party manipulating for its own interests, and charge them accordingly, and transparently. May they profit from the advisory council with whom they have surrounded themselves. May they have wisdom.

The same is needed for political leaders and protestors as well. Cleanse the hearts of the latter, especially, that they may not be driven by anger and revenge. Have them hold their peaceful line, and refuse to be drawn into discrediting violence.

And for the former, cleanse their hearts of selfish ambition, wherever it exists. Give the people a commitment to consensus, that all might share in rebuilding Egypt. Build trust between them, and prevent any exploitation thereof.

Power is being contested, God, and this can bring out the worst in man. Protect Egypt and supply her people with conviction to do what is right. Only you and not they know this precisely, but be their light and guide. Humble them to make them strong.

Amen.

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