Click to read Ephesians 6:10-18
| Print |
We recommend "Landscape" print layout.


Spiritual Warfare Madness: Launching an Evangelical Prayer Campaign from a

United Church


By Carman Bradley





















The Prayer Launch poster reads: “2005: A Year of Prayer in Canada, National Launch, Saturday, January 8, 2005, Dominion-Chalmers United Church, 355 Cooper Street, Ottawa. Plenty of free parking available!”  In the lower right corner the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) announces:  The 2005 National Year of Prayer has been inspired by, and is partners with the EFC Initiative ‘Celebration 2005.’  Join us as we pray in anticipation of a great harvest during the outreach weeks of May 21 to June 12, 2005.[i]  [my underline]

Many Canadian Christians at some stage in the same-sex marriage struggle thought of petitioning God to deliver the country from homosexism and other wows.  This approach is in line with what the Apostle John said to fellow believers:

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him (1 John 3:21-22).

And some 2450 years ago, a chronicler established one of the keys to positively answered prayer:

If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Given God’s will on the matter of marriage redefinition, given the anti-Christian consequences of same-sex marriage legislation upon society (adoption of a homosexist worldview), given the prayer events of 2005 – National Launch Jan 8 and Global Day of Prayer May 15, and given God’s assurance to respond to His people (verses above), don’t you find it strange that a minority Government, mired in corruption and scandal, should gain by one confidence vote (MP Belinda Stronach), two days after the GDOP, the longevity needed to pass same-sex marriage legislation?  No doubt our sovereign God Almighty has many messages for us relating to this devastating outcome; however, the burden expressed in this article is that the status quo witness of evangelicals (inside the UCC and in Christendom as a whole) has just not been worthy.   This is certainly not a universal criticism, but definitely a general observation.  At the start of 2005, Brian Warren, executive director of Canada in Prayer and keynote speaker at Dominion-Chalmers United Church on January 8, 2005, gave the following prayer guidance leading up to the Prayer Launch, which is a fitting critique of the “status quo” witness in Canada: 


NATIONAL: Intercede that rebellious hearts will be turned toward the Living God.  Pray that the nation will be brought to its knees before the Almighty.  Ask God to break the spirit of rebellion even within the Church, and help believers across the country to surrender whole-heartedly to their Master and Savior.[ii]


NATIONAL:  Agree that the Word of God will once again be obeyed in this nation.  Ask the Father to soften hard hearts that are far from Him and help them feel again and turn back to Him (Matthew 24:10, 12).  Pray for Christians who have succumbed to the ways of the world, that our Wise God will give them a revelation of the state of their hearts, and help them obey and love Him.


NATIONAL: ...Intercede for the ‘Pharisees’ of today, who preach and speak the Word, but don’t live it (Isaiah 29:13).  Pray that the People of God in Canada will begin to apply the Word and that it will get from their minds into their hearts.  Pray that they will humble themselves and live to please Almighty God, who is the only One worthy to be exalted, and who has a greater plan for this nation!


NATIONAL:  Pray for revival to sweep across this land and for great conviction of sin and holy cleansing to take place.  Cry out to God to bring an end to sexual immorality and adultery.  Pray that Christians will no longer distort the Word of God in order to fit their own agenda, and that purity will come forth first inside the Church.

Each believer is an individual sinner, daily in need of repentance and grace, but what of the actions and decisions of national and denomination-level Christian bodies?  Brian Warren cries out for a spirit of repentance – repent, repent, repent, repent.  Who should respond to this national-level call for forgiveness and restoration?  Is he directing this prayer to only the individual lay Christian?  What about the conduct of the clergy, church leadership, the formed churches and national denominations?  Unless his call to repentance be only rhetoric and ritual, Warren has identified serious rebellion within the Church.”  And what denomination needs most to surrender whole-heartedly to their Master and Saviour”?  What denomination has turned its back on the Word of God”?  What denomination needs to feel again and turn back to Him”?  What denomination is double-minded?  What denomination most needs to humble itself and live to please Almighty God”?  What denomination advocates sexual immorality and adultery”?  What denomination distorts the Word of God in order to fit their own agenda”?  Yet we launch our 2005 prayer campaign from a United Church that is not a member of NACC orthodox reform movement, that will not declare itself fundamentally opposed to UCC doctrines, and that invites a staunch liberal pro-homosexual minister to speak at its UCC Eightieth Anniversary celebration!  No wonder our prayers are not answered.  God will not be mocked.

The National House of Prayer website tactfully refers to the: “2005 January 8, National Prayer Launch in Ottawa at Dominion Chalmers Church.” Under the title ‘Why Ottawa?’ the website reads:

Every decision that`s made in Ottawa affects each municipality in Canada.  A gate is a point of access; Ottawa is the spiritual ‘gateway’ into the rest of our nation... What comes through a gate has influence over what the gate was designed to guard.  In biblical times the gateway is a place where elders of the city met to make decisions and to settle disputes.  By establishing a House of Prayer in Ottawa, we will be able to pray as Graham Kendrick says, ‘On site with insight.’  We desire a Visible Presence in our nation's capital thus demonstrating a positive example by a Caring and Praying Church of Canada.[iii]

Such high talk of the wisdom of spiritual warfare, yet blind to the consequence of association with the United Church.  The website of Pray GTA (Greater Toronto Area) records:

The church in the Capital region carries a torch for the nation and deserves our prayerful support. In addition to local issues, the church obviously carries a special intercessory burden for the government of Canada…The Saturday evening service at the Dominion-Chalmers United Church was the official launch of 2005 – A Year of Prayer for Canada. Brian Warren, of Canada in Prayer, led the congregation in a time of deep commitment to unite and pray for Canada. At one point, the congregation was on its face before God, crying out for God’s mercy on our nation… As I reflect back on the event I am struck by how fitting it was that we launched a year of prayer for Canada with our arms reaching around the world. It is so consistent with Canada’s prophetic destiny to bring healing to the nations.”[iv]

Speaking from the point-of-view of Canadian Christendom as a whole, the year 2005 turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.  The same-sex marriage decision is a tremendous blow to orthodoxy and Christian influence in Canada.  It is especially hard to witness believers crying out for God’s mercy and setting see such high hopes for fulfillment of Canada’s prophetic destiny from the pews of a United Church.

Guest speaker Brian Warren reflects on the events of January 8, 2005:

Canada in Prayer, in partnership with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the Ottawa churches, the National House of Prayer, and each of you who joined with us in spirit, successfully launched “A Year of Prayer for Canada” in Ottawa on January 8, and struck a blow to darkness!  Many thanks to those who participated in the prayer meetings prior to the launch, hosted by the Life Centre.  On the “First Friday,” Pastor Joyce Boucher spoke to those gathered about pressing into God and showed a clip of the Transformation Video….Later that evening ceremonial candles were lit from the eternal flame on Parliament Hill and carried to Dominion-Chalmers Church, where the official inauguration of the Year of Prayer took place.  Three torches were lit in the hearts and minds of those present and those who will pray throughout this year - one torch representing intercession, one for prayer-driven evangelism, and the final one representing the praying Church.  To God be the glory!  In closing, I encourage us all to use this ‘love month’ of February to meditate on 1 John 4:7-11.  ‘Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.’  (verse 11).  Call someone on February 14 and let them know God loves them and so do you![v] 

Marg Buchanan writes in ChristianWeek:

‘Prayer is the way we engage the power of God for the things He has called us to do,’ says Dave Carson, pastor and director of Intercessors for Canada, and director of the prayer initiatives for Celebration 2005…Carson’s role is to ensure that the entire process is supported with prayer.  Monthly prayer letters to church leaders began to go out last June, just before the event was launched on “100 Huntley Street.”  The EFC is calling 2005 a year of prayer for Canada, and Carson says it was fitting to launch the year with a major prayer event in the nation’s capital.  A prayer walk was held January 8 in Ottawa, and included a gathering on Parliament Hill followed by a concert of prayer at Dominion Chalmers United Church involving prayer coordinators from across Canada.  ‘Canada’s 12 most wanted answers to prayer’ were unveiled at the gathering, and included prayer for governing leaders (Parliament and Supreme Court), for the problem of organized crime, and for our collective guilt for lives lost through abortion[vi].

It is not clear whether “a no decision to marriage redefinition” or “put a stop to chronic liberalism within Christendom” were two of the twelve most wanted answers.  The points to all this is that Christians should not fellowship with and cannot effectively pray alongside those who hold an unchristian worldview and who are seeking mutually opposing answers to prayer.  In response to a letter sent to the EFC regarding prayer at Dominion-Chalmers United Church and the EFC policy on United Church affiliates, the president, Bruce Clemenger, wrote:

You have raised two main issues in correspondence with me; the first concerns the decision to hold a prayer event at Dominion-Chalmers church in January 2005 and the second regarding EFC and its affiliates who are congregations or members of the United Church.  First, the decision to hold the January 2005 prayer event was made by local organizers and agreed to by the prayer mobilization committee.  The event was not held in partnership with the United Church of Canada.  I am unaware that any of the prayer movements or persons who participated, prior, during or following the event believed that the decision to hold the event at that location was in error. Second, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is an association of evangelicals drawn together by common adherence to a statement of faith.  There are United Churches who have affiliated and were welcomed into the Fellowship.  The decision for individuals and congregations to remain within the United Church is, I believe, a matter of conscience reflecting their understanding of what God would have them do.  As a Fellowship, it would be inappropriate for the EFC to render a determination on a matter of conscience that is not contrary to our statement of faith.  Unless there was a matter of interpretation or practice flowing from the statement of faith in which there was agreement among our affiliates, it would be outside the mandate and authority placed in the EFC to intervene in what is otherwise a matter of conscience.  May God give us each wisdom and grace.

Praise God for the EFC and yes “May God give us each wisdom and grace.”  John 15:7 reads: “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”  The National Launch participants (Canada in Prayer, National House of Prayer, Celebration 2005 and EFC) may feel the event went well and the location was not in error, but where is the repentance?  Where are the answers to our requests?  It is time we stopped thinking of prayer “events” and stopped measuring success by the level of inclusivity, the quantity of participants, or even the emotional experience of the evening.  All things considered there was little cause to Celebrate in 2005, prayer notwithstanding.  Has 2006, 2007 or 2008 brought us any closer to the desired day of Christian repentance?

The matter of the error in holding the National Prayer Launch at Dominion-Chalmers United Church can easily be clarified by Dominion-Chalmers publicly affirming something close to the StandForGod.Org worldview (if not by joining the NACC or by separating from the UCC), otherwise one credible reason why God has not answered our prayers is because our leadership has chosen to fellowship with a typical congregation of an undifferentiated United Church, a branch of the wrong vine.  In effect, we came before God in 2005, at “the spiritual ‘gateway’ into the rest of our nation” asking God to heal our land and open the eyes of many to their blindness (“Paul Martin and gays” included) when we were too blind to distance ourselves from the “United Church.” Why should we expect God to convince non-believers of the folly of same-sex marriage, when Christians act in fellowship with homosexist denominations with apparent indifference to the issue?  God will not be mocked or the Holy Spirit compromised.  The Apostle John gives us this warning:

God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with Him, yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth (1 John 1:5-6).

In regard to the EFC policy of allowing United Church congregations to affiliate on the basis of “common adherence to a statement of faith,” once more, the United Church of Canada lists the Wesleyan Twenty-five Articles of Faith as an indorsed creed.  In an era of abject liberal pro-homosexual theologies, the EFC must filter its membership through a comprehensive Christian worldview or risk God’s silence.  And should Dominion-Chalmers, an NACC congregation or any other United Church profess to the authentic worldview, then one must ask, “How can you remain in the UCC?”

We end where the article began, with the Prayer Launch poster.  When I pointed out to my wife, in Decemeber 2004, the paradox of an evangelical prayer launch from Dominion-Chalmers United Church, her immediate response was the church is close to Parliament Hill and has lots of parking.  Turns out she was right.  And the parking is free!





















Copyright © 2008 StandForGod.Org

[i] Poster taken from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada website in December 2004.

[ii] CANADA IN PRAYER: January 2005 Prayer Guide,, 8/10/2005. 

[iv] Pray GTA (Greater Toronto Area) –, 7/14/2005

[vi] Marg Buchanan, ChristianWeek, January 7, 2005, Volume 18, Issue 20.