This was originally written for LRBC on December 10 2017.
To the modern Christian mind, “Egypt” typically recalls very old stories of Moses, Pharaoh and the Ten Plagues. Obviously things have changed very much in Egypt since then but there still remains a people belonging to God and living under pressure. These people are native Egyptians who are worshippers of Jesus. In a recent blog post on the Open Doors website, mention is made of a large Protestant church that gathers every Monday night in Cairo to pray. The writer, a westerner, recounts part of a conversation he had with the pastor concerning how he and his friends could pray for the Christians in Egypt. The pastor responded with these words:
“Please don’t pray for us. Please pray with us. If you pray for us, you will pray for the wrong things . . . You will pray that the church will be safe. You will pray for persecution to cease. We are not praying for these things. We ask God for the salvation of Egypt. We ask that he draw millions of Muslims to Christ. We ask that we will be bold and clear in sharing our faith with Muslims. And we pray that when the inevitable persecution comes… that we will not run away, that we will be faithful in that persecution even if it costs us our lives. Will you tell your friends to pray these prayers with us?”
I love the clear-sighted Christian faith this demonstrates. If we were to divide and weigh how much time we spend praying on different things, and how ardently we prayed for them, what might we discover? It is not at all wrong to pray concerning financial problems, family issues, the next big assignment, or your sick cat, but if that is the high water mark of your spiritual life then your sights are set too low. We are called to live our lives for much more than this, and our prayers should reflect this. Perhaps if we changed what we prayed for, it might change us.