By Hilary White

OTTAWA, January 12, 2006 ( – Whether greeted with approval or alarm, the assertion that Canada is becoming an officially secularized nation is difficult to dispute. Concerned Christians have heard many times the admonition that they must pray for the country and its leadership, but one group has taken the project to heart.

In 2004, Rob and Fran Parker a married couple from British Columbia established the interdenominational “National House of Prayer” to “provide informed, focused, and sustained prayer for Canada and its leaders.”

Rob Parker, a former paramedic and evangelical pastor at Friendship Baptist church in Victoria BC, became convinced that such an establishment was necessary after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. “After seeing 100,000 Canadians gather on Capital Hill in a show of support for our neighbors south of us, the prayers offered that day were not allowed to use the name of ‘God’ or ‘His Son, Jesus Christ.’”

The goal of the House of Prayer, according to their website, is to host groups of “intecessors” come from across Canada to occupy the house and organize prayer vigils and other public events in Ottawa year round.

Fran Parker spoke with saying the group is starting to be noticed on the Hill. Though she declined to name them, Parker said that some MP’s have called the House of Prayer asking for prayers for specific intentions. Parker said, “For so long the church just ignored government and the MP’s feel encouraged that the church is paying attention.”

The group has been operating for a year hosting visiting prayer groups in local bed and breakfast accommodations. They moved into the former convent of the Sisters of Wisdom, 20 minutes walk from Parliament hill, in October, just in time to prepare for the election. Since then, three prayer groups have visited from different parts of the country.

Parker said, “We are not politically partisan. We pray for all those who are running and for Canadian voters to have the wisdom to hear what each candidate is saying and choose the right candidate.”

We can’t tell people how to vote, but Canadians aren’t stupid, they see there is something going wrong. People want to see some truth and honesty and integrity in their government,” Parker added.

Ottawa, according to the group, is the “spiritual gateway” to Canada. “What comes through a gate has influence over what the gate was designed to guard.”