Photo from flickr by C Jill Reed (CC BY-SA 2.0)

National House of Prayer gears up with election on the horizon

“So far not one MP has turned down an offer to pray for them,” says Rob Parker.

OTTAWA, ON—Rob Parker of the National House of Prayer (NHOP) says it’s crucial for Christians to be well informed and engaged in politics in the lead up to the 2015 federal election. Canadians will go to the polls on October 19, and Parker encourages Christians to pray for the nation and exercise the right to vote.

“We need people to recognize that this election is very important because there is such a strong rise in secular humanism in Canada,” Parker says, pointing to issues of freedom of religion and the right to life. “We need to pray into these things and become informed about the issues and the candidates. We have to bring the Church into awareness of strategic prayer.”

Parker recently wrote a booklet to help guide Christians through specific prayer points for the nation.

“We Have a Voice: Equipping to Effect Change in the Public Square” is intended to help Christians become a positive voice in society. It discusses topics such as “Should I Only Vote for a Christian Candidate?”, “Media Matters” and “Election Laws for Charities.” It also outlines potential questions to ask political candidates.

NHOP is particularly active with the election on the horizon, but the charitable organization founded by Parker and his wife, Fran, has had a positive influence in the political arena ever since it began 10 years ago.

Representatives meet regularly with politicians and have built relationships with key players on Parliament Hill. “So far not one MP has turned down an offer to pray for them,” Parker says, adding the goal is to build relationships and reinforce the role of government officials as civil servants.

NHOP is housed in a former convent in the heart of Ottawa, Ontario, with 40 beds to host visiting prayer teams and resident interns year round.

Individuals and groups from across Canada come for a week at a time or longer for training and teaching, as well as to pray specifically for government. “It’s a good place for every Christian to come to learn about government,” Parker says.

Participants usually also attend Question Period, tour parliament buildings and visit MPs.

The prayer room, where people gather daily for teaching and prayer, is considered the “epicentre” of the ministry.

NHOP offers a one-week teen program, as well as a three-month program for young adults, between the ages of 18 and 30, who volunteer at MPs offices and participate in corporate prayer. Meanwhile, a mission program for older adults is open to those wanting to stay at NHOP for three months, six months or one year to pray for the nation and for NHOP staff.

NHOP is also expanding, with assistant director Ken Smid and his wife Deb joining the team in spring. Their presence will allow the Parkers more free time to teach people across Canada and abroad about the importance of praying for the nation.

NHOP is seen as an example in other countries, Parker says. He and his wife will continue to lead the organization but the Smids will also take on an increasingly prominent role.

“We see this as more of a partnership than a transition,” Smid explains. “NHOP exists to provide an active presence of Christian prayer on Parliament Hill,” he adds. “The church in Canada needs to know that the National House of Prayer is their house. We want to see a real growth in the ministry of young adults and older adults as we continue to engage a broad spectrum of people.”

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