The annual Ontario Prayer Breakfast, running for 50 years in downtown Toronto, is one of many civic-focused prayer gatherings where people leave behind their political and denominational allegiances and join together in prayer for leadership and government. This year’s 50th anniversary event, held on February 21, was a time of prayer and music that included Christians of all ages.
Ada Cook, 12, a member of First Hamilton (Ont.) Christian Reformed Church and a student at Calvin Christian School was invited to pray the blessing before the meal and to sit at the head table alongside guests including Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell and Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Breakfasts like these are significant spaces where Christians can show their support to those in positions of leadership. Members of municipal, provincial, and federal governments were present. Some elected officials participated by reading Scripture.
“It reinforces the office of being an elected official and our need to honor and to pray for our government,” explained Deani Van Pelt, also a member at First Hamilton CRC and part of the board that organized the Ontario Prayer Breakfast (OPB).
As organizers, they wanted this year’s event to have a tone of celebration and to also look to the future. That led them to choose a cultural icon—Natalie MacMaster and her musical family—instead of a community leader as the guest speaker. MacMaster, her husband Donnell Leahy, and five of their six children performed and sang.
The desire to focus on the future also prompted the invitation to have Cook participate. Cook thought it would be a neat opportunity and agreed to write and share a prayer. Her contribution was accepted as she wrote it, without any changes.
Both Van Pelt and Cook really enjoyed hearing the MacMaster/Leahy family perform. MacMaster, who is seven months pregnant, personified the sense of looking to the future. As a woman of faith, she spoke about her walk with God and how prayer has had such an impact in her life. Van Pelt commented that MacMaster’s message resonated her trust and desire to serve God.
Organizers hope that events like this encourage elected officials.
“I think we should pray for our leaders,” said Cook. “We should pray that God will help them make good decisions for our country.”
“My hope is that our CRC denomination becomes a strong presence at the prayer breakfast and active participants in prayer for our leaders,” Van Pelt said.