Photo from flickr by hjl (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Kingdom strategy for elections

Focusing on the issues that matter to God

OTTAWA, ON—Election seasons are full of chaotic, contrasting messages. On campaign trails Canadians are bombarded with a plethora of promises seeking to lure them one way or another, in the media pundits banter ceaselessly about how everyone should see the world, and in Christian circles there is an underlying mantra for believers to be informed and pray fervently. Yet amid the competing voices, we are rarely offered practical guidance in how to engage or what to pray.

“Christians are sometimes dismissed as not knowing what they are talking about and sometimes we deserve that,” says Karen Hamilton, general secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches. “Often we have presented ourselves as not knowing much about the issues.”

Hamilton encourages Christians to start by taking time, both individually and with the broader Church, praying and studying the issues to identify what are God’s priorities right now.

“Christians should be praying frequently and combining prayer with study. Have conversations, talk about the issues and think about them on every level. Then call a group together to meet with the candidates and raise the issues. Don’t be satisfied with easy answers. Know the issue well enough that you can push deeper and ask substantive questions.”

Hamilton says one issue at the heart of the Christian faith that is being almost completely overlooked in this campaign are the needs of the poor.

“One of the things that is really that all of the candidates keep talking about the middle class. What about all those living in poverty?” she asks. “How can we not talk about the reality of poverty in this country?”

Rob Parker, director of the National House of Prayer, also feels poverty is a key issue to focus on. “As the Church, we have to be concerned about poverty. If we have done our job well, taking care of the poor in our backyards, then we can pray for good government, justice and fairness and that there would be care for the underprivileged.”

Other issues Parker highlights are the pro-life cause and the value candidates see in the family. “We need to have strong families as a primary focus right now. One example is to look for a candidate who agrees that the parent is the primary educator of the child, not our school systems.”

Parker also says it’s key that believers keep their minds focused on God and pray for the Church.

“I’ve heard many Christians say, ‘If we don’t get that particular party in, our nation is sunk.’ I’m really concerned about that,” he says. “How big is our God? Many Christians have fallen into a mindset that has made every problem political. Rather than looking to the government as our saviour, we need to look to Jesus, who always has been the answer to everyone’s problems.”

Like many other leaders, Parker believes this election is important and that Christians need to pray for just government, fair elections, honesty in campaign promises and that there would be no corruption.

“I think this election is important, but God is greater,” he states. “We could have any party in there and we need to continue to pray for that party. There are so many examples where we’ve seen prayer make a difference.”

At the start of the maternal health initiative, Parker says his team was asked to pray because of a strong international push for Canada to supply abortions to the Third World. Along with several partner ministries, they devoted several days praying that Canada would not export abortion and that abortion would not be included in the maternal health initiative.

“We were [in parliament] praying during a decisive vote and we ended up seeing Members of Parliament taking a stand who normally wouldn’t take a stand on this issue. It really caused a ripple effect. Many MP's tell us how that was one of their highest moments as a Member of Parliament and how God shifted things because of prayer.”

Another example Parker identifies is when a parliamentary committee was discussing increasing the age of sexual consent.

“We had been praying for quite a while and we had a team come with two 14-year-old girls. The two girls were impacted by the things they heard and wrote letters to the chairperson of the committee sharing the pressures they already come under for sex at 14. Soon after, as we kept on praying and pressing in, we saw a unanimous decision to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16. To us, it was a really clear example of how prayer shifts things, as well as the importance of putting our feet to our prayers.”

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About the author

Senior Correspondent

Craig Macartney lives in Ottawa, Ontario, where he follows global politics and dreams of life in the mission field.