On November 29th, over 6,000 Egyptian Christians gathered for a third annual, National Day of Prayer. Hundreds of thousands more participated through a live television broadcast by the SAT-7 ARABIC channel.
Entitled “They shall come to the Desire of All Nations,” the event was held at the Wadi Natroun convention centre midway between Cairo and Alexandria.
SAT-7 aired a live broadcast from 10 am to 5 pm Cairo time. Some came from nearby Alexandria and others travelled all the way from Aswan in southern Egypt to join in prayer. They prayed for repentance, unity, harvest, the new constitution, and leaders in power.
SAT-7 began airing the National Day of Prayer as Imed Dabbour, host of the programme Forbidden, held an exclusive interview with Revd Dr Sameh Maurice, pastor of the largest evangelical church in Egypt. Revd Dr Maurice said it was a time for unity and although different denominations have varying faith practices, they share the same core beliefs. He pointed out that the Orthodox Church and Catholic Church would be represented at the event. He also sent a message of love to people outside the Church, confirming that Egyptian Christians pray for them as Jesus has taught.
At the end of the day, Revd Dr Maurice invited all the Orthodox, Evangelical and Catholic leaders present to come together on stage and lead the audience in prayer to demonstrate spiritual unity.
Farid Garas, SAT-7 Egypt’s Executive Director, described the first National Day of Prayer on November 11, 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 Christians together some nine months after the overthrow of Egypt’s long-term dictator, President Mubarak.
Farid says, “The people of Egypt saw how Christians loved their country and 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 the whole world.”
The following two years 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 last August.
“In the last couple of years we have experienced how the Lord works differently than we might have thought,” Farid Garas says. “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.”
He explains, “This year we are gathered to praise, repent and wait on the Lord for a divine visit to Egypt.”
While news reports reflect Egypt’s turbulent politics, Farid says 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.”
Watch trailer explaining the vision of the day and inviting Egyptians to take part in the day: