Last fall, I met Rob and Fran Parker, the founders and chief organizers of the National House of Prayer. The Parkers, a pleasant couple who don’t look much older than I am, are evangelical Christians from Vernon, B.C. who set up shop in an old convent near Ottawa’s Market area a few years ago with the idea of bringing prayer teams from across the country to the nation’s capital to pray for the country and for the country’s politicians.
Rob and Fran and a visiting prayer team are in the public gallery in the House of Commons for just about every Question Period. When I interviewed them last fall for a CTV News piece I did on their initiative, they told me that they pray not for particular policy outcomes — i.e they’re not praying for a tax cut or something like that — but for a more general intercession, such as praying to reduce discord among politicians; praying that the MPs respect each other; and so on. (You’ll get a good sense of their prayer themes below).
The Parkers try to be as non-denominational as possible. They have personally visited with as many MPs from all sides of the House as possible. The life of an MP can be a lonely one and the Parkers do what is known in the business as ‘outreach’ to make sure MPs know they’re there.
Now that said, as I’m a subscriber to their weekly newsletter, it’s apparent that the NHOP and its supporters would likely be supporters of the Conservative Party when it comes to some social policy issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.
I’m not sure that the Prime Minister and the Conservatives are actively seeking the support of the NHOP and its prayer teams but, in any event, on the urging of one of his MPs, the PM was happy to host a prayer team the other day in his office in the Centre Block. My colleague Jane Taber noted this in a recent “Notebook” item in The Globe and Mail but here’s a picture (top left) from the most recent NHOP newsletter along with the description by the newsletter’s writers:
Students pray with P.M.
A highlight of their school field trip to NHOP in Ottawa, for the team from Fort Saskatchewan Christian School, was the private meeting they had this week with P.M. Stephen Harper.
Their M.P. Ken Epp arranged for them to meet in the official office of the P.M. to present him with a framed prayer that one of the girls had an opportunity to pray over him. The words of that carefully crafted prayer
This “New Generation Prayer Team” was formed at the onset of the school year at the request of Jr. High students who had an urgency to support their national leaders in prayer. The culmination of their weekly prayer meetings was this planned trip to the National House of Prayer and the unique opportunity to actually pray with the Prime Minister here in Ottawa this week.
A New Generation Prayer for Authorities
Heavenly Father, God of all wisdom and power, we humbly come before you to pray as you have instructed us in your Holy Scriptures, for all who arein authority.
We pray that they would find in the Bible and through prayer, their source of strength and wisdom.
We pray that they would remember that they are accountable to God Almighty for the tasks they perform and the decisions they make.
We pray that they would be able to resist those who may pressure them to go against their conscience and would have strength and courage to do what is right.
We pray that by your guidance, they would seek to preserve the blessings of freedom and opportunity for the generations to come.
We pray that they would seek to bring back honour and respect, honesty and trust to the positions of power they hold.
We pray finally that they would seek to be an example of good character and moral integrity to the Fathers, Mothers, Sons, and Daughters of this great nation; Canada.
May the God of Peace be with you all. Amen.