Praying for the 43rd Parliament
"A new Parliament is a new opportunity for Canadian Christians to engage compassionately on issues of concern for the Church."(David Guretzki, executive VP of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada) efc.ca At the National House of Prayer we want to commend the many who poured themselves out in prayer and in serving our nation throughout the election campaign. Whatever outcome you may have hoped for, we must believe that if we have done everything we can, God has heard our prayers. He is at work, possibly in ways we cannot even comprehend. His kingdom and His purposes cannot be shaken. Emotions often run very high during an election. Our strongest feelings about particular issues and specific political parties come to the forefront. What I find difficult and challenging is when individual Christians place all their hopes and expectations in a government to change our nation for the better. For the record, I believe that only Jesus Christ will forever be the only One who can deal with our nation's sins and realign us properly. God chooses to bring change and reformation through His Church living in the light of the gospel. In a democracy, a transformed society transforms government. To see this come about, we need to agree with Psalm 20:7.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.Psalm 20:7 A relevant study of one who completely put his faith in the Lord is the life of Daniel. In the midst of a repressive regime, he did not think that his salvation was going to be achieved through a particular king, but his deliverance was from the Lord. Daniel's strategy was not to act in open rebellion to the Babylonians, (other than refusing the edict not to pray to his God). Nor did Daniel celebrate Nebuchadnezzar's failures. He recognized that because of his own people's sins, God was allowing the Jewish people to live under this oppression. With this acceptance, he sought to live out Jeremiah 29:7 to positively influence the world to which he found himself.
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile,and pray to the Lord on its behalf,for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Most of us would have pleaded with God to eliminate the ruling king and free us from this terrible oppression. But, through a series of miraculous events, and because of Daniel's unswerving devotion, God raised up Daniel to become very influential. God would eventually deliver Israel and to the amazement of all, he did so through their oppressors! No one would have imagined that God might have done it this way! There were no 'shots fired' nor was there a plan to overthrow the government. But God 'stirred the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia' (2 Chronicles 36: 22, 23) to let the Israelites return to their homeland. In addition, he even returned much of the riches that had been taken from the Israelites! (See 2Chronicles 36:22,23; Book of Ezra). Our God is the same God, yesterday and today and forever, and His Word still stands true.
The King's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;he turns it wherever he will.Proverbs 21:1 Similar to Daniel, in the New Testament, Christians are called sojourners (ESV) or 'aliens'(NASB) in a foreign land, (see 1Peter 2:10-12). Likewise, we are witnessing that the timeless values of God's kingdom are not being embraced in our western, post-modern world. All too often, truth is being replaced by feelings and those who do hold to traditional beliefs, (as outlined in scripture), are being mocked, scorned, and disregarded as irrelevant. Things went from bad to worse for the New Testament believers who began to experience severe persecution because of their faith. Suddenly they saw themselves as 'unwelcome guests' / aliens in a foreign land. To help their situation, they followed a Spirit-led strategy in how to live and to maximize their influence. To put it into context, we need to remember that they had no rights or laws to protect them. Their only influence was their prayers, the gospel message and the overwhelming evidence seen in changed lives. Their goal was not just for themselves, but more importantly, it was all about others coming to salvation. Like Daniel before them, they exemplified an 'excellent spirit' and God turned their world upside down (Acts 17:6). Part of their strategy was to:
honour the emperorkeep our conduct honourablelive a life of serving othersbe ready to defend the gospel (apologetics)foster gentleness and respect for all people Their commitment lived out then, is exactly what is expected of us now. In the USA we hear the shouts from incensed people proclaiming "not my president" which has now moved north of the border: "not my premier". Complaints and criticism regarding government are widespread, but just like the early Church, we are still called to pray for all those in authority and to honour the position they occupy. We might not agree with some of the decisions that our government makes, however, we are exhorted to develop a genuine willingness to pray for them. Underscore that this willingness does not mean to pray for their demise, but rather that God would instill them with wisdom and creative ideas that would in turn bless all Canadians. We should also regularly pray that they would not fall victim to the lure of power, etc. Please understand that I'm not suggesting that Christians should neglect being informed and become inactive in the public square. We need to be aware of the many national concerns and alarming trends that are gaining momentum in Canada. Whether it is the growing feelings of alienation in the west or concerns regarding the future of religious freedom, we should be alert and willing to raise our voice in Canada. We should also hold our elected officials accountable and write them when we do have questions or concerns. But these worries should also fuel a sincere and robust call of prayer for God to move in the hearts of our leaders and all Canadians. Our actions do not replace prayer. Whether we write letters; petition government; hold media accountable; or write a column in your local paper; in all that you do, do it prayerfully. Demonstrate that we are not primarily putting our trust in the chariots and horses of the political machine, but our hope is distinctly found in the Lord.
God is still on His throne, His kingdom cannot be shaken. He has heard our prayers and therefore He is at work, possibly in ways we cannot even comprehend. My son Rob, reminded me that the actor Tom Hanks made this statement after President Trump assumed office: "I didn't vote for Trump, but my hope is that after four years he will do such a good job that I will vote for him again." That was an honouring response.
Prayer Points for the 43rd Parliament
Pray that we will come into alignment with the truth of 1Timothy 2:1-3 and pray for all those in authority. Let's repent of only praying for those we agree with and for any lack of prayer for our current government.
With no seats from Winnipeg to the Lower Mainland of B.C., our Prime Minister, seriously needs our prayer. Pray that Justin Trudeau and his party will gain favour to work with the west of our nation and strengthen our national unity.
As new members receive their orientation and are sworn in, let's be 'sworn in' to a new relationship between them and us. Let's bless these individuals asking for grace and wisdom to be poured out on them as they seek to serve all Canadians.
With the understanding that our Opposition Parties are an important dimension of our democracy, pray for encouragement and effective strategies for each opposition party that there will be a willingness to co-operate on important issues that are good for our nation.
Pray for grace and wisdom to be upon Andrew Sheer as the leader of the Official Opposition Party.
Pray for the incumbent leaders who lost their seats in government and who are considering their future prospect.
Pray also for their staff who are unemployed to be able to quickly find new positions. Many support personnel are believers who want to serve the nation in the offices of our government leaders.