WEEK 2: Egypt
The Egyptian people are facing youth unemployment, widespread poverty, an unstable economy and continuing human rights violations.
But Egypt is also home to the Middle East’s largest Christian population – and despite violent attacks in recent years, the Egyptian Church is faithful and thriving. Most Egyptians belong to the indigenous Coptic Orthodox Church, but other denominations include Catholic, Maronite and Evangelical Christians.
Safety concerns have not stopped Egyptian believers from attending church or serving their communities, and many of those affected by the attacks have been vocal in their forgiveness for the perpetrators. SAT-7 ARABIC provides a platform for these voices of peace and hope, and seeks to build up and encourage the Egyptian Church.
Join us in praying for the nation of Egypt over the coming days – that amidst trying times, the Egyptian people would turn to Jesus and put their hope in Him.
“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’ So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’”
Egypt plays a crucial role in the Christmas story. It was there that Jesus and His parents found safety and sanctuary when home became a hostile place. Egypt is still home to millions of refugees today – some Syrian and Iraqi, but most Sudanese. Many have fled brutality only to be met with further abuse.
Refugees are no longer our global neighbours; many are now our neighbours locally. SAT-7 has created resources to help you welcome people seeking sanctuary in your own community. Visit sat7uk.org/community to find out more.
Pray that all those fleeing danger would find their ultimate refuge in God.
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Egypt’s minority Christian community has been the target of many vicious attacks. Living under that daily pressure can lead to tensions and division. Although most Egyptian Christians are Coptic, they also include Catholics, Baptists, Pentecostals and others in their numbers. Pray for their protection and for a move of the Spirit to bring an unprecedented unity amongst them – and across His church worldwide.
Despite our different denominational styles or practices we all share the same hope in Jesus. Take a moment to reflect – do you ever feel a sense of spiritual pride in your own chosen church? Try joining an Advent service at an unfamiliar church and be deliberate in seeking to bless the wider body of Christ where you live.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Egypt’s Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on 7 January, following a strict 43-day vegan fast. Forty days of the fast correspond to the time Moses waited to receive the word of God on Mount Sinai. The remaining three days traditionally commemorate the miraculous moving of Al-Moqatam mountain in Cairo after a period of united fasting and praying by Egyptian Christians in the tenth century.
It’s a sober and special time for believers to cut distraction, dig deep and turn their attention to the wonder of the Word become flesh who came to make His home among us.
SAT-7 will be broadcasting Egyptian church services in the run-up to and on Orthodox Christmas Day on 7 January. Please pray that Coptic Christians would meet powerfully with the God they seek so sincerely during this time of fasting – and that through them many more would glimpse His glory.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.”
Despite difficult circumstances, when we declare God’s praises and sing out our love for Him, hope rises in our hearts.
Christmas carols have rich associations with the sights, smells and sounds of the season, but they are also resonant with powerful truths. Songs like “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” proclaim Jesus’ identity as the Messiah, and the reason why He came: “Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.”
One Egyptian viewer of SAT-7 show Keep on Singing wrote to tell us, “I watched one of your songs for the first time while I was going through a very hard time, and I felt the voice of the Lord speaking to me through it. I pray that the song will be a message of comfort to anyone who is afraid or troubled.”
Savour afresh the words of familiar carols and let them lift your soul. Pray that SAT-7’s worship programmes would bring fresh hope to viewers this Christmas.
“My soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail."
These words capture both a depth of sorrow and a depth of comfort found in God’s unfailing love and compassion for us. However great our suffering, it is met by a Love that is greater still.
Remembering times we have known this tenderness in the past helps give us strength in the present. Christmas is a time of joy, but it can also be a time of trial. In Egypt, the run-up to Christmas often sees a rise in attacks on churches. Closer to home, loneliness and despair can peak at this time, when others seems so happily absorbed in their own celebrations.
The comfort we receive from God is not just for us; it’s meant to be widely and freely shared. Who in your own family, church or community is feeling low or lonely? Pray for them now, and look for practical ways to show that they are not forgotten, but loved.
“He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”
The writer of Hebrews is referring to Moses and his rejection of all the wealth and power on offer to him in Egypt, with its dynasty of Pharoahs, pyramids and untold wonders. But all that was cheap in comparison with the task and treasure God had for him, and Moses left it behind for the sake of what was ahead.
Referring to a time long before Christ’s birth, the writer chooses to say this was “for the sake of Christ”, highlighting how it was, and is, all part of the same divine plan.
Is there anything in your life which God is prompting you to give up for Him? Many things seem valuable but hold us back from the real purpose for which we were made, such as our status, overloaded schedule or over-reliance on financial security.
Now’s the time to surrender anything you know is distracting you or drowning out God’s voice. Pray for the courage to reach instead for true treasure.
“So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD.”
This prophecy was fulfilled through the New Covenant between God and humanity, symbolised by Jesus’ wide open arms on the cross. No longer for the Jews alone, the good news spread rapidly throughout the Middle East and North Africa – and beyond.
Carried to Egypt by the apostle Mark in the first century, the Gospel found fertile soil. There has been a rich and faithful Christian presence in the country ever since, despite fierce resistance and many trials.
Thank God for the part that SAT-7 is playing in helping to bring Isaiah’s words to life today. Every day our programmes make the Lord known – and His love visible – to people across the country. SAT-7’s largest audience is in Egypt, and it is growing; many viewers report coming to faith in Jesus after watching our broadcasts.
Please ask God to strengthen, refresh and inspire all those involved in creating shows for SAT-7’s Egyptian audience. Pray that even more would, as a result, “acknowledge the Lord” in Egypt.
God bless your programmes! I pray that everyone will get to know Jesus and that He could be in our lives."