Updated: Apr 3, 2020
With the Canadian election just days away, I wanted to reflect on some of the amazing opportunities I've had on Parliament Hill this passed year. After a momentous Canada Day celebration in 2018, I managed to get back to Ottawa before the end of the year to tour and explore the main building before the reconstruction phase started. Considering Parliament Hill will be under reconstruction for ten years, this was a huge priority of mine.
Visiting The Peace Tower was both inspiring and deeply moving. Inspiring, because of the words engraved in stone right there at the entry into parliament, and moving, because of what is contained inside the tower.
Inscribed into the walls of this fine architectural tower is the foundational Biblical mandate for Canada - "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth" (Psalm 72:8); a prayer for the present leadership from the same Messianic Psalm, "Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son" (Psalm 72:1) and a charge to all Canadians in this hour - "Where there is no vision the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18).
Within the walls of this tower is one of Canada's most famous war memorials, including books of remembrance for those who have sacrificed their lives in battle, from World War I to present day Afghanistan. Beautiful stained glass windows tell the story of conflict, resolution and peace, sharing specific passages from Scripture. With Canada's call to peacemaking in the nations, I am particularly drawn to the words on the Western window, The Dawn of Peace, which contains the verse: "He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46:9)
"The complete Psalm 72 stresses the exclusivity of God's claim to rule over nations, and the certain defeat of His enemies. It talks about the importance of justice and peace and coming to the aid of the needy and afflicted, and it emphasizes that only the rule of Christ can accomplish this. That is why it appeals for His rule to extend from sea to sea, to the ends of the earth..." p14, The Biblical Legacy of Canada's Parliament Buildings
Interestingly, the engravings on the Parliament Buildings and the Peace Tower can be attributed to the chief architect, John A. Pearson. One can never underestimate the providence of God at work in the life of an artist!
The halls of the parliament building were filled with beautiful art works and amazing stained glass pieces of Canada's provincial wild flowers. Interesting to note, is that the first women with a part to play in parliament building was also an artist. She left her creative mark on the walls through the portrait pieces she created of important individuals in early Canadian society.
Of all the art pieces in parliament, the most meaningful piece personally was a stained glass piece called - The Reconciliation.
Created by a Metis visual artist, this piece
commemorates the legacy of former Indian Residential School students and their families, as well as the Prime Minister's historic Apology in 2008. It hopes to encourage Parliamentarians, and generations to come, to learn about the history of Indian Residential Schools and Canada's reconciliation efforts.
During one of my trips to Ottawa, I was so grateful to get into Parliament building for Question Period, with a chaplain who works with members of parliament on a regular basis. One repetitive question I remember the Conservatives asking the Liberals was-
"When will the budget be balanced?"
There are many issues on the table right now and Canada's increasing national debt is definitely a big one. The question remains - which generation will pay the consequences?
There is much to pray for in Canada undoubtedly, and one of the highlights of my inside tour was seeing the parliament
Having co-lead a prayer set praying for the Canadian Government at the Quebec House Of Prayer, it was amazing to step foot into this sacred governmental prayer space. No prayer could bear more weight than the words of Jesus to his disciples in this hour, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
I am so thankful for every person who has prayed for God's will to be done in Canada. As intercessors, we have been called to be watchmen on the walls for the nation. I believe our prayers make a difference. Here are a few thoughts on prayer and government from Mark, whom I co-lead the Quebec House Of Prayer government set with.
A Canadian in Toronto told me, on one of my first days in country, that politics to a Canadian is not as polarizing as in the US? You can be a Christian and vote for a completely different party every term... with the three main parties being Liberal, Conservative and NDP.
To many Christians though, choosing proLIFE candidates has become an important factor in the upcoming elections. With a government that celebrates third term abortion, it has become evident to many that having no laws on abortion is no longer an option, and it was this specific issue that lead me to Ottawa earlier this year to participate in my first Canadian protest.
Visiting the National House of Prayer in June, for the last week that parliament was sitting was a really special experience for me. I joined an amazing team from out West, who had flown in to pray for the nation at this particular hour in history. We got to pray for specific issues facing the present government, listen to and pray for three Christian MPs from Alberta, prayer walk along National historic sites and add our prayers to the many who have prayed before us - for the righteousness and kingdom of God to be established in Canada.
"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." 1 Timothy 2:1-2
What a gift it was to join Rob and Fran Parker, the leaders from National House Of Prayer, who have served Canada and the leaders of this nation through years of prayer and advocacy. Their Journey to and in Ottawa has been an incredible asset to the nation.
JOIN A FIELD TEAM
As I'm out of province at present, I had the opportunity to vote a week earlier than every one else. As an African, I was rather humored to find out that there is a party in Canada called "Parti Rhinoceros". Originating out of Montreal, it operates within the tradition of political satire. If elected, the party promises to keep none of its promises. At least they're honest...?
With a choice between seven parties, and as a resident of Quebec, I cast my first vote in Canada, in Kelowna. After all the rigged elections that my home country has been through, I am hopeful that in this nation, my vote may count for something.
As believers, especially in a democratic nation, it is our responsibility to put our faith into action. Three practical ways to do this are to: Vote, pray and volunteer!
This said, it is always good to keep in mind that politics is never the long term solution to change. Only God can truly transform the human heart. Canada's greatest need is not new policies, but a spiritual awakening!
Join me in praying for Canada in this hour, and - don't forget to JOIN A FIELD TEAM.