Today, please pray for the family of Father Samaan Shahata Rizkallah, the Coptic priest who was murdered in October. Also pray for the families of the victims of the attack on the Church of St Mina in Helwan, where nine people were killed in December, including a Muslim member of the security forces guarding the church.
15 February marked three years since 21 Christians were beheaded by IS on a Libyan beach. A new church has been consecrated in their memory in Minya in Upper Egypt. The Cathedral of the Martyrs of the Faith was built by engineers from the Egyptian military and paid for by the government. Thank God for this encouraging development in an area where sectarian violence regularly erupts following rumours of new church buildings.
The Coptic community is not alone in facing discrimination: Shi’a Muslims, Baha’i adherents, atheists and others also face varying levels of social and official pressure and harassment because of their religious beliefs. Please pray today that Egypt would become a country where all its citizens enjoy equality and peace.
February saw the launch of Operation Sinai 2018, a military campaign aimed at destroying Islamic State (IS, Daesh) strongholds. In response, IS is calling for increased attacks on government targets, Christians and tourists. Pray for protection for vulnerable groups and for an effective counter terrorism campaign that safeguards civilians.
The run up to the presidential elections scheduled for 26-28 March has been marred by increasing repression. Five credible candidates were either arrested or pressured to withdraw, and NGOs accuse the government of failing to meet even the minimum requirements for free and fair elections. Pray Psalm 127 over the leadership, and for peace, reconciliation and God’s wisdom and grace on all parties.
‘The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’ Deuteronomy 31:8. Pray this verse over Egypt today.
Heavenly Father, we bring the nation of Egypt before you, asking that you comfort all who are mourning, assist all who face pressure and harassment on account of their faith, defeat the forces of terrorism and heal every division in the land. Amen.