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Prayers

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Okasha, Colleagues

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God,

Guide the man. Guide the professionals. Guide the parliament.

Guide them all to guide the government.

Tawfik Okasha is a loose cannon, a conspiracy theorist, and a now former member of parliament. His colleagues revoked his standing after several weeks of theatrics and dinner with the Israeli ambassador.

God, he is a hard man to figure. Is he a player or a pawn? A visionary or a reactionary? Either way, bless him. Refine him. Multiply every good and right principle he latches on to, and hold him firm as storms assail. Forgive him for the excess of every storm he unleashes himself.

Act similarly with the body of his former parliamentarians. Marshall their strength as the representatives of the people, and help them honor Egypt.

Give peace among neighbors, and justice within nations.

Egypt’s doctors and journalists believe they pursue this locally. Both level their protests against the security establishment, for colleagues assaulted and colleagues imprisoned. In their target and their numbers they are exercising pressure long absent from the Egyptian scene.

Give them wisdom, God, and with them the government. In a still sensitive and fragile context, help them establish good patterns for right expressions of grievance.

And may the government preempt them, to act before its hand is forced. But when challenged may it respond in grace, weighing the perfect against the possible, implementing with discernment all that you find right and good.

Act through individuals, God, with all their foibles. Act through collectives, with all their clamor. Guide Egypt forward, and give her peace.

Amen.

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Prayers

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Doctors, Deaths, and Dreams

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God,

Every day Egypt steps closer to the referendum on a constitution, which if passed will validate the roadmap to restore democracy established by the military. And every week supporters of Morsi march against the new order, often met with tear gas, minor clashes, and subsequent arrests.

It has become a normal pattern, but this week three diverse events highlight something different.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s dominance of the Doctors’ Syndicate came to an end. Although protesting the overall difficulties their wing has faced, they admit being outvoted and cede control of the board for the first time in decades. A female Copt was elected as secretary-general.

Two clashes, meanwhile, resulted in an ugly loss of life. The ongoing violent conflict in Sinai resulted in the killing of a soldier whose body was paraded through the streets by local jihadists. And in the Delta a taxi driver drove into a pro-Morsi protest, injuring a woman, and was pulled from his vehicle and killed by the mob.

A news leak, additionally, released an audio recording allegedly of the military head Gen. Sisi describing his dreams from years earlier in which he knew he would one day be president of the republic. Some believe the leak was meant to discredit him as of superstitious ambition; others believe it will help his standing with ordinary people.

God, within the normal pattern, give Egypt stability, and give protestors peace. As each seems to threaten the other, decide between them by what is right. If this is to be through the vote of the people, protect the referendum and make its process and results fully transparent.

For the doctors, God, make smooth the leadership transition. Help the new opposition to be critically supportive, and the new heads to be magnanimously effective. Bless both their efforts in charity and practice, that Egypt might enjoy a better future in health care.

But conflict, God, can reduce the humanity of the opponent. Save Egypt from this path, where deaths are celebrated and easily provoked. May the determination of protestors not slip into rage; may the crimes in the Sinai be met with justice and peace. Protect the state, and protect the people. May each reinforce the other.

For it appears the current symbolic strength of the state is having dreams. Are they of you, God, or of his ambition? Along with the leak, do they mean to hurt him, or help? Are they innocent, or a manipulation? God, bless Gen. Sisi, the interim president, and all who are currently running the state. Give them wisdom to govern well. But give a collective wisdom to all concerning his possible candidacy. Speak to his conscience and speak to the nation. Bring good governance to Egypt, God, through both man and system.

For Egypt is in great need of healing. Many have died, and others are falling. May the nation’s dreams not perish alongside.

Amen.