It should be such an easy matter. Collect the ballots and count them. Unfortunately, it has become more complicated.
One complication is the accusation of fraud. This is requiring more time to investigate the circumstances of each polling station, and in one case, of the printing house which made the ballots.
The other, and more serious, complication is the prevalence of politics. This has put the whole counting operation in question. Islamists have already done their vote count, declaring their candidate the winner. They say if the final result is not so, it is clear evidence of fraud.
God, give officials the blinders necessary to simply count the total. Give investigators the insight to tell who, if any, are cheating.
Give the military council – the ultimate arbiter – the discipline to work by principle, for the good of Egypt. May they surrender power to the choice of the people, no matter how easy, or difficult, that is to ascertain.
And God, give peace to Egypt after the announcement of a winner. There is much talk of ensuing violence, as well as much denial. May there be no sore losers; may there be no manipulated chaos.
God, give wisdom to the Brotherhood. If they win, may they govern justly. If they lose, may they accept graciously. If they are cheated, may they find recourse. If they are cheating, may they be humbled, held accountable, and come to repentance.
God, give wisdom to their opponent and those who stand behind him. If they win, may they conciliate between all parties. If they lose, may they not sabotage. If they are cheated, may they unearth the truth. If they are cheating, may they suffer the exposure of truth, be judged, and come to repentance.
In all cases, God, bring reconciliation to Egypt.
God, give wisdom to the Copts. As the country suffers – or even is blessed by – political division and disagreement, help them to stand firm. May they not be drawn into conflict; may they not suffer as scapegoats. May they as individuals act as you lead each one; may they as a community be salt and light to all. May they find guidance from you alone, much deeper than elections.
God, give wisdom to the Muslims. Give them discernment to know if those who speak in the name of Islam and politics represent an honest voice for faith. Do they deserve support, or abandonment? Do they call to a proper implementation of Islam, or misrepresent it. The votes are cast but the challenge is open. May they find guidance from you alone, much deeper than elections.
In all cases, God, bring love to Egypt. May no party be abandoned; may no party be scapegoated. May each embrace the other, with all warts and with all beauty.
God, give Egypt a good president, but give her a foundation much deeper than the leader. Give her a confident people who will not accept falsehood. Give her a culture that celebrates creativity, responsibility, and servanthood. Give her a government accountable to just law.
Give Egypt your best, God. Keep her from harm and cause her to thrive. May she be blessed.