The Common Good

How to Pray for Egypt

Here is a new update from my friend, Wafik Wahba, Associate Professor of Global Christianity at Tyndale University and Seminary. For security reasons I have left out some specific names of churches and individuals. (Please note that the situation is changing by the hour.)

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  • On Tuesday, February 1, an estimate of more than 2 million people gathered in different places across Egypt waiting for a real change to take place. Egyptians from all walks of life -- young and old, women, men, even children, rich and poor, Christians and Muslims -- were anticipating Mubarak to step down. However, their hopes were dashed when Mubarak declared that he will be staying till September. A few hours later the situation turned extremely dangerous.
  • On Wednesday, February 2, the world watched in dismay at what Mubarak's regime was doing to its own people who have been protesting peacefully for the last week. We moved from amazing scenes of Egyptians from all walks of life demonstrating peacefully in demand for a better future to scenes from the Middle Ages where Mubarak's thugs riding over horses and camels carrying swords and clubs were beating and injuring hundreds of people.
  • Furthermore, Mubarak's mob threw Molotov cocktails from rooftops for more than 12 hours all through the night over peaceful demonstraters trapped in the Liberation square. We saw very frighting scenes that we haven't seen in modern history, as if we were watching a movie or reliving scenes from barbaric wars.
  • U.S. and most EU nations called on the Egyptian government to stop using violence to intimidate the Egyptian people.
  • Journalists were attacked and their cameras were confiscated. Some journalists were even beaten by the regimes thugs. As Ben Wedeman, the CNN reporter, put it, "The Egyptian government has a history of hiring criminals and thugs to terrorize people and disperse any peaceful gathering demanding democracy and calling for better living conditions."
  • Snipers are shooting on peaceful demonstrators causing significant numbers of injuries. So far several deaths are reported and more than 2,000 people have been injured, some of them with life threatening injuries as of the last few hours.
  • The U.S. and other countries issued urgent and immediate evacuation to their citizens.
  • On Thursday, February 3, the Egyptian Prime Minister apologized for the violence that took place realizing that "such violence attacks created a deep wound in the Egyptian fabric of society."
  • The violence confirmed anew the Egyptians' mistrust of their current government.
  • There are voices calling for holding Mubarak accountable for these crimes against his own people. Ironically, a day earlier Mubarak declared that his main reason to stay is to protect the Egyptian people!
  • The army is being launched to control this escalating situation.
  • Today, February 4, we have more demonstrations demanding the immediate removal of Mubarak.
  • On a positive note, my friend (...) is gaining strength after being treated for heart problems three days ago.
  • The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo was not harmed, but those who live on campus are very concerned about their safety.
  • (...) Church, one of the largest Evangelical churches in Egypt, which is located one block from Liberation Square, was not harmed in spite of serious damages to other buildings around the church

Please pray:

  • For an immediate end to this madness that is escalating by the hour. Egypt is on the verge of a major civil war.
  • For peaceful outcome of planned demonstrations.
  • For the safety of Christian leaders and churches across the country.
  • For the millions of Egyptians who are enduring one of the most difficult times in their history.
  • For wisdom for Christian leaders on how to navigate the terrain of this very difficult time.
  • For wisdom for world leaders on how to handle this dramatic situation.

Lynne Hybels, co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois, is author of Nice Girls Don't Change the World and a columnist for Sojourners magazine.

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