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Every so often, God opens a door to pray in a really strategic way for the world.  Such a time is now upon us in Egypt.  Widely recognized as the intellectual center of Islam in the world, Egypt is going through the kind of transition that could determine the future of the country for generations to come, and could also have strategic impact in the world.

Radical Islam is the most visible threat in the world to religious freedom and, specifically, to Christ-followers.  Egypt, known for decades as a relatively "friendly" country for Christians in comparison to much of the Middle East and North Africa, is at a fork in the road.  One path leads to true religious freedom, where both Christians and Muslims are free to express and share their faith, and truly free to choose how they will believe without fear of persecution.  The other path leads to Sharia law, arguably the most repressive religious system in the world.  The likelihood of remaining on the same relatively neutral path that the country has been on under Mubarak seems small.   Now is the strategic time to pray for Egypt, an opportunity that may not come again in our lifetime.

So, how do we pray?  We need to start by humbly admitting to God that we don't really know what to pray for (Romans 8:26) and by asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we pray.  Should President Mubarak resign or not?  If so, when?  And who should take over?  Only God has the wisdom to know what is best for the country, for His Church, for the world.  Only God simultaneously hears the cries of oppressed and poverty-stricken people while also seeing the beginning from the end in the "big picture".  How could we think to suggest to God what the answers are, or how He should act?

Since God is the One who leads us to pray in the first place, a great place to start our prayers is with specific biblically-based requests.  Scripture shows over and over God's concern for those who have no voice of their own - the persecuted, the poor, the widow and the orphan.  Scripture also assures us that God's word will go forth to every people group and that there will be believers from "every nation, tribe, and language".  We know from the letters to the churches in Revelation 1-3 how God wants His Church to be characterized.  God is pleased with righteous servant-leaders and frowns on governments characterized by corruption, self-interest, and oppression.  These are just a few of many examples of how we can pray God's will for Egypt.

The streets of Egypt are a battleground right now.  Protests, violence, clashes of ideology, politics, and economics.  But this is only the tip of the iceberg.  The real battle is a battle happening in the spiritual realm.  Ultimately, it's a battle between God and Satan.  Specifically, in this case, it's a battle between Christianity and radical Islam.  And just as the real battle is a spiritual one, so the weapons to fight that battle must also be spiritual ones - specifically, prayer.  Regardless of the outcome of this one battle, the ultimate victory will be God's.  He could win it completely without us, but he calls us to participate in his victory through prayer.  

Here on the Pray! network, check out Phil Miglioratti's discussion on Egypt in the Operation World prayer group.  Operation World is a great resource for further information.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  (Eph. 3:20, NIV)

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