Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

There seems to be a frustration and bitterness settling into Egypt these days. Many are at odds with each other; sides have been drawn. At the same time, many seem to be resisting sides, which only deepens the bitterness of those who have chosen. A hardened heart helps no one, God. It alienates one from others and you.

Fifteen people are dead as a result of clashes between protestors and the army, with many more injured. Accusations are traded as to who started it, but evidence shows both sides complicit. Yet the army, as it struggles to defend its reputation, has almost outright lost it its legitimacy on the side of the revolutionaries. Others have rallied to their side in demonstration – though in lesser numbers – while many more are troubled by the whole episode, and the situation of Egypt as a whole.

Yet the political parties maneuver. Most liberals have issued scathing rebuke to the army, and call upon it to leave power immediately or have a president elected soon. Meanwhile the Muslim Brotherhood also criticized the bloodshed, but maintains its support for the army-led transition and timetable. One round of elections remains, until an Islamist parliamentary majority is seated. Who holds to principle, and who seeks manipulation and advantage? This is an accusation thrown in both directions.

God it is troubling. Who should be trusted? Who should be supported? If it is true the army should go, should it be immediately via a revolution continued, or after elections via a parliamentary legitimacy? Or, is the army the best choice to backbone Egypt, seen throughout history, now and forever? Has the Brotherhood made a deal with the devil to secure their governance, or are liberals/leftists burning their republican credentials to thwart the Islamists and an army committed to democratic transition? Should the population pick sides, or would this make things worse? Are all seeking the greater good, or do any care about Egypt at all?

God, life is murky and you set humanity in the middle of it. Give your guidance to all who seek you. Not all will have insight or conviction to tell the sides apart – lead these to pray. For those who must get off the sidelines and do something for their country, may their action be preceded by prayer. For those already committed, soften their hearts toward the other, that they may find the openings for compromise and mutually beneficial solutions. Oppose all bitterness and frustration, God; replace it with hope.

God, give Egypt consensus. Keep her from further bloodshed, and bring all parties together to agree. You know the place they must come to, the place that will satisfy the people. So many fear this place does not exist, that there must be winners and losers. Maybe it is so. Yet a miracle can be as grand as humanity is simple – if only each will discover this in the other. Intercede, God, and build Egypt anew. Debate and disagreement is healthy; rejection is not. May all Egyptians drink from the Nile – your gift given freely.

May they likewise be generous with each other. Have mercy, God, and give wisdom.

Amen.

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