Egypt: thousands expected for third national day of prayer
Thousands of Egyptian Christians are expected to gather for a third national day of prayer for their country tomorrow (29 Nov) - and hundreds of thousands more will take part via SAT-7's Arabic TV channel ...
Entitled "They shall come to the Desire of All Nations", the event will be held at the Wadi Natroun convention centre midway between Cairo and Alexandria and broadcast live from 9 am to 5 pm Cairo time.
Like the two previous events, the gatherings will send a powerful message of the unity of Egypt's Christian minority and signal their commitment to working towards a better society.
At last year's event, Coptic priest, Father Ghatas said, "These thousands are gathered today to seek the Lord together for Egypt. We are sending a message not only to Egyptians but to the whole world that the Christians in Egypt are one and we send a message to all Christians of the world that we love Egypt too."
Farid Garas, SAT-7 Egypt Executive Director, described the first event on 11 November 2011 as "a breakthrough not only in the history of the church of Egypt but in the history of Egypt".
An estimated 70,000 people took part in joyful worship and heartfelt prayer after Orthodox, Evangelical and Catholic church leaders called the Church together some nine months after the overthrow of Egypt's long-term dictator, President Mobarak.
Farid said, "The people of Egypt saw how Christians love their country and had gathered to pray and were not afraid in a time that millions of Egyptians were afraid. It was a message of love that was sent to the Egyptians and to the whole world."
The two years since have been volatile and acrimonious. A government elected by the slimmest of majorities eventually triggered protests by up to 30 million people calling for its resignation, prompting military intervention and an interim government. The Church also experienced some of its fiercest ever opposition in a wave of church burnings and attacks on individuals, homes and properties.
"In the last couple of years we have experienced how the Lord works differently than we might have thought," Farid Garas said. But, he said, "This opened the eyes of many church leaders to seek the Lord more and pray for Christ's Kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven. "
"This year we are gathered to praise, repent and wait on the Lord for a divine visit to Egypt," Farid explained.
While news reports have reflected Egypt's turbulent politics, Farid said leaders also see another story. "We feel that it's a time for spiritual harvest and for the Church and God's kingdom to grow, and to bring the message of hope to many who have lost hope in these days."