Three years ago this month, the Egyptian Christian community was devastated by a two-day wave of attacks mobilized by affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood that left many churches, Christian schools, Christian bookstores, and homes in ruins and flames. On August 15, 2013, the strong smell of the smoke that still curled above charred buildings hung heavily in the air as many Christians walked in disbelief through the ruins of their homes, churches, and Christian bookstores, overwhelmed with despair and agony over their great loss. Broken church benches, destroyed musical instruments and burned Bibles lay strewn across the floor in church buildings. The furious attackers finally left after they shouted victory having pulled the cross down from the church’s steeple with a devastating crash. The attackers also left behind the ashes of hatred and brutality, not of their own making, but of the authorities of darkness.
At the time, many Christians then saw Al-Sisi as the savior who would rescue Egypt (Christians) from the iron grip of Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists and radical Islam in general. In some ways he fulfilled that role. However, as head of the army, he was not able to provide protection for the Christians from their attackers, and he remains unable to do so as President. Two years after Al-Sisi was sworn into office, attacks by radical Muslims continue to frequently hit Christians and churches. There has never been any assurance along the way for Christians that a particular government or administration would be zealous to provide protection for them or work for their well-being. Mistaken is the one who puts his/her hope in people. It is only the Lord, our God who can bestow on us a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer, You are the Lord of lords and King of kings. Nothing happens that is beyond Your vision and care. And so we turn not to princes and the rulers of this word, but to You alone for our rescue. Today, we bring before Your sovereign care Egyptian Christians who have suffered wave after wave of attacks. Be a constant presence, comfort and protection for them that they might meet each new day with hope and thanksgiving instead of fear and despair. Their primary battle is not against the Muslim Brotherhood, but against the authorities of darkness, so we pray that You will daily equip them with spiritual armor to do battle with the evil one. Protect them against hardened hearts that they might continue to reach out to their Muslim neighbors in love, prayer, and compassion. We pray that one day soon Your name will be lifted high in the land of Egypt. In Your Name, Jesus—You who have won the victory against Satan—that we might be one with You in victory over the forces of evil. Amen.