Did you ever stop to think about what those words mean? We sing these words every time we sing our national anthem, but are these words true of us? Are we standing on guard for Canada?
There are different ways of serving your country. Some serve in the Armed Forces, others serve as Members of Parliament, judges, police officers, and in a host of other ways. But what about the rest of us? Can ordinary Canadians stand on guard for our country in a meaningful way?
I believe we can. There are at least two very simple practices which, if they were adopted by every Canadian who believes in Jesus, could have a huge impact on our nation.
First, we can pray for our government and our political leaders. They don’t have an easy job. Scripture specifically commands us to pray for kings and those in authority over us (1 Timothy 2:1-4). In our modern-day context, that includes politicians.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of this. Our elected representatives carry a huge weight of responsibility for the wellbeing of our country. They have to make decisions for the good of the country, province or municipality which they serve. At the same time, like it or not, they have to deal with the realities of a party system and the pressure to compromise their convictions on key issues. There are other forms of pressure as well — pressure to become cynical and hardened, to put their own political interests above the interests of the country, to sacrifice their family for the sake of political success.
Prayer is a powerful weapon in providing perspective, strength and wisdom for our leaders. We should not only pray for our pet projects or issues or our favourite party, but for politicians of all parties — for the salvation of those who don’t know God, for peace and protection over their family life, for wisdom in decision-making, for integrity of heart, for the fear of the Lord. We are instructed by Jesus to pray for the coming of God’s Kingdom on earth as in heaven. Let’s pray for government that will move Canada towards the fulfilment of our national destiny as spoken in Psalm 72:8, the prophetic Scripture that gave our nation its original name, the Dominion of Canada.
Secondly, we can stand on guard for our country by guarding our tongues. To a great extent we’ve become a nation of cynics, critics and complainers. Christ-followers are called to be of a different spirit, choosing to operate in faith, not cynicism, and to speak with respect about our leaders, even when we don’t agree with their choices. The Bible warns us to use our tongues wisely, for building up rather than tearing down. True, we live in a democracy and it is our privilege and responsibilty to speak out for what is good and against what our Scriptures tell us is evil. Even so, when we speak out we need to learn to do so with courtesy, grace and humility. Blessing flows when we honour our leaders. In addition, if we desire to have a voice, we’ll be more likely to be heeded if we speak with respect.
I love my country, and I want to see it blessed. How about you? This Canada Day let’s recommit to standing on guard.