Friday Prayers for Egypt


The nation is strained. It was a poor country to begin with, or at least poor from inequitable distribution of resources. Now, the economy is ravaged, there is only a burgeoning political space, and Egyptians are streaming back from places abroad. Some are fleeing violence; some, perhaps, are instigating it.

God, help these Egyptians to reintegrate into society, to find profitable work, to care for their families.

The strain is felt among the employed as well. Kept as temporary labor with low wages, these take advantage of the new openness to demonstrate for a better living. Yet their protests hurt the economy further, and threaten to divide class against class. The better off urge all labor demonstrations to be put off until after elections and the return of national stability. After years of ill treatment, should these now be trusted?

Help all people to be content with what they have, God. Help them to have enough. Help them to be willing to share. Give a sense of equity to management, and a sense of faithfulness to labor. Help partnerships to emerge; help trust to develop. Give business leaders a commitment to social capital.

The strain is felt among religious groups, spilling over into the political. Many Muslims feel their country is at risk of losing its Islamic identity. Many Christians fear they will be swallowed in an overwhelming Islamic identity. Each group has marshaled forces politically to defend its interests. Each group struggles to allay fears it pursues its sectarian interests only. Yet that is exactly what each side thinks of the other.

Make real the claim, God, that Muslims and Christians are one. Help Muslims to understand the fears and slights that Christians suffer. Help Christians to engage and trust the majority of Muslims who wish them no ill. Help each to go to the other, and learn, and love.

The strain is felt among the ruling military leadership. They have assumed management of the nation during this transitional period, and they are not equipped for it. They are faced with all the strains listed above, to which is added the criticism and accusations of bias, when their shortcomings are exposed. Even extension of stability is a stretch beyond their means. There appear to be criminals at work, making matters worse. Depending on perspective, accusing Western powers or Islamist extremism, some see the military in league with them. Their job is almost too difficult to bear, yet they cannot let it go.

Honor the military, God. Grant them wisdom and patience. Confuse the wicked and bring their demise. Grant them forgiveness and transform them. Help stability to come; help the rule of law to be established. Help power not to corrupt. Help charity to be given to all.

Grant Egypt rest, God. Grant her peace. Amen.  

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