Egypt is part of what’s been called the “cradle of civilization.” It has successfully developed over thousands of years, and its people have contributed greatly to our present-day appreciation for math, science, and art. These developments remain a credible influence in history and religion as well.
The news reports and commentaries swirling out of the region in recent days show mounting concerns about how the standoff between the government and the protesters will be resolved. As I try to educate myself on the situation, I’ve found it hard to know what best represents the desires of the Egyptian people, and, at the very least, who has a reasonable solution.
When I think of a cradle, I think of our newest grandbaby, who has been enjoying her cradle. Picturing this, I am reminded of what a cradle represents – a safe place, a quiet resting place where the baby finds peace. And the parent also finds peace while the baby is resting. Here is a clear perspective on which I can consider events in Egypt, lifting my concerns out of the chaos on the streets into affirming the spiritual truth that each individual is “cradled” in God’s love. Prayer, accompanied by a deep respect for Egypt, adds to my confidence that through this effort we can support the country’s people while expecting a peaceful outcome.
Continuing this line of thought, I began to expand my prayer to include peace and rest for other areas in the region, including Tunisia, Jordan, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran. Everyone is included in these prayers just as completely as God has included each man, woman, and child in His ever-present love.
Recognizing the power of divine Love means we aren’t being busybodies, putting together plans and strategies for a country that’s competent to find its own paths to stability. Love allows us to step back and trust God to bring out His purpose for these people.
An example of this from the Bible explains how Daniel found himself interpreting a dream for King Nebuchadnezzar. He emphasized God’s omnipotence and omnipresence by saying, “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:... he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: he revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him” (Dan. 2:20-22). As I began to think about this, I realized the powerful effect that prayer can have in moments of chaos.
A friend of mine who served in Vietnam once told me about a time when he had been fighting for hours during the night. Gunfire had been raging. The infantry in front of him was actively fighting to protect his unit. My friend was earnestly praying for the safety of “our folks and the folks protecting us.” The battle was intense. Flares were going off, mines were exploding, and tracers were flying overhead.
At one point he began to question how he was praying, and the thought came to him that each of the men opposing them in battle was also the image and likeness of God. He earnestly prayed to know that God loved them, too. The inspiration to pray for the safety and protection of everyone out there calmed his thoughts. And, he said, “The flow of battle just ceased.”
In the heat of it all, maybe no one was aware of how my friend was praying for peace. His prayers, and the prayers of those in battle that day, may never be credited for saving lives. But the integrity of the love behind those prayers is embedded in the history of that moment forever, and, at the very least, brought peace in that instance. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor, once wrote, “Consciousness of right-doing brings its own reward; but not amid the smoke of battle is merit seen and appreciated by lookers-on” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 37).
I can use my friend’s example of how to pray for peace in the Middle East, specifically Egypt, right now. I can appreciate each citizen as the beloved child of God and pray for the safety and security of everyone involved. This may not appear to effect change right away, or to establish a quick resolution to the region’s conflicts. But the genuine sincerity and constant love for God and His sons and daughters will serve as an offering of peace worldwide. Hopefully it is an example of one more way we can bring the world closer together and show our love and respect for one another.