Unless you’ve been comatose, stoned, or hiding under a rock, you’ve no doubt seen and heard about the civil unrest going on in Egypt. So many people I’ve talked with seem to have a nonchalant attitude regarding these late-breaking and ever-changing events.
I want to encourage you to be in prayer for this tense situation, and for all the people involved. Already more than one hundred individuals have died and at least 2000 have been injured in violent protests. In a nation crying out for more freedom, you can imagine what the government’s decision to block or interrupt internet connections and cell phone service has done to further incite a violent response from these people. Then there’s that little issue of the 4:00 p.m. nationwide curfew.
I was only eight years old when former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat was assassinated in October, 1981. Even as a child I had an insatiable curiosity, particularly as related to news, politics, and current events. Therefore, it’s probably not surprising to learn that I actually remember watching the special news coverage of the late president’s funeral. At that time the world seemed a lot bigger than it does today. With 24-hour streaming news and information, the internet has served to bring the world together in ways not terribly unlike the failed Tower of Babel.
“Now the whole world had common language and common speech.” – Genesis 11:1
As a third grader, I had no idea how much deeper I’d come to understand the implications of Sadat’s assassination as it relates to the hope for peace in the Middle East. Now raising a fourth grader, I shudder to think what things my own children might come to understand — and experience — in this life.
The situation in the Middle East is always volatile, always dynamic, and always fodder for newspeople, politicians, pastors, and historians. As I prepare to embark on a study tour to Israel in the coming weeks, the intensity of the violence and political-civil unrest in Israel’s next-door neighbor to the southwest are particularly sobering and concerning. Still, as one who trusts in God, I realize that nothing in this world is a surprise to Him. He is working out His ultimate purpose just as is promised through the prophetic texts of Scripture. And something about that gives me a deep-seated peace that passes understanding.
Today I want to encourage you to take time and pray sincerely for Egypt and the world. Here are five specific things for which you can pray regarding the current situation:
- Pray for the safety of the Egyptian people. These people are not terribly unlike you and me. They have a deep desire for change and a strong drive to experience greater freedom than has been the case over the last three decades.
- Pray for the tourists, American and otherwise, who are caught in this period of unrest. I can only imagine how frightening things must seem — especially when travel and contact with the outside world is limited.
- Pray for the missionaries who are serving in the region. In recent years, various Christian missionary organizations have reported a huge movement of God’s Spirit in the hearts and lives of Muslims in these nations. Pray that the present chaos will serve to move many toward faith in Christ. Pray also for the safety and well-being of those brave missionaries who serve faithfully on the front lines of what is as much a spiritual battle as a physical one. (Some of you may be unaware of the vast influence of Christians in Egypt through the years. Here’s a great summary.)
- Pray for world leaders to have wisdom in their response to the current situation. Pray that they will demonstrate great wisdom in both their words and their actions, knowing that in such volatile situations there is little room for misunderstanding.
- Pray for the nation of Israel. The disturbing reality is that Egypt is Israel’s sole friend in the Middle East. Every other surrounding country is at best unhelpful to Israel — and at worst, openly disdainful. No other nation has demonstrated more utter contempt for Israel in recent years than Iran, and the Iranian leaders are salivating at the possibility of having Egypt fall into the hands of militant Islamists who will not interfere with the malevolent plans Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has for the nation of Israel. Regardless of differing political philosophies, Egypt has long been an essential ally of both Israel and the United States. The dissolution of that relationship would have significant negative implications for not only the Middle East but also for the entire free world.
As believers, the very least we can do is pray. For the majority of us, it’s also the most we can do. Let us be faithful to do just that. Our burden for the Middle East needs to be about far more than oil and trade; we must remember the lives at stake — and that God loves each one of them, just as much as He loves you and me.
IT’S YOUR TURN!
What are your thoughts about the current events in the Middle East?
How do you find yourself praying in times like these?