51st Annual National Prayer Breakfast

ARPA Canada’s Ottawa staff were pleased and honoured to attend the  51st National Prayer Breakfast. This annual event brings together politicians, political activists, religious leaders, and observers to worship Christ in solidarity and to acknowledge His sovereign control over Canada. The event is led by several MPs and Senators that meet on a weekly basis for a Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast Group. Such meetings are meant to enrich and comfort these Christian political leaders through the many difficulties and discouragements which come along with their office.

This year, the breakfast was well attended by some of Canada’s most important political figures including Prime Minister Trudeau, Leader of the Opposition Rona Ambrose, and Daniel Blaikie, an NDP Member of Parliament. These three were invited to read passages from the Bible. Prime Minister Trudeau read from Romans 12 which in verse three says, “I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Ms. Ambrose read from 1 Corinthians 13 and Mr. Blaikie read from Isaiah.)

The keynote address by Jonathan Aitken, a previous parliamentarian in the British House of Commons, spoke to the issue of pride, in particular the egotism which tends to overcome politicians. Such pride, Mr. Aitken suggested, is particularly dangerous for politicians who in moments of glory may fail to recognize the grace of God by which they have received their office. Perhaps this stern warning is something the government should take to heart considering the latest initiative to impose sanctions on opposition members’ proposed motions to ensure that debate can continue on Bill C-14 and that the other parties cannot delay a vote any further.

Aitken, who was jailed in 1999 for 18 months after pleading guilty to charges of perjury, also spoke on the subject of personal redemption. Throughout his experiences of defeat, divorce, disgrace, bankruptcy and jail Aitken expresses how Christ has worked in his life to ease him away from selfish pride and reliance on material things. He also expressed how the redemption he found needs to be discovered at a national level, as our nation (and many others with it) slowly decays into an abyss of secularism. Such redemption cannot be grasped through human will-power, but rather it requires prayerful devotion and reliance on God to change the hardened hearts of our depraved and broken society. He is pleased to do so through the work of His people and the power of His Spirit.

It was an encouragement to pray, sing and ponder with approximately 1000 others, and to do so within an explicitly Christian setting.