Pastor Sean Ward
“O Canada” became Canada’s national anthem on July 1, 1980. It was first sung on June 24, 1880, 100 years before.
The music was composed by Caliza Lavallée and French lyrics to accompany the music were written by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier.
Many different versions have appeared over the years. The version on which the official English lyrics are based was written in 1908 by Justice Robert Stanley Weir.
The line in the anthem which reads, “God keep our land, glorious and free,” has been revised many times over the years. In the Richardson version, it read, “Lord God of Hosts! We now implore, Bless our dear land this day and evermore.”
In all of those versions, clearly the author was expressing his thoughts in prayer. God, Almighty God, and Lord of Hosts are expressions that were used to invoke the presence and glory of God to keep our land, to defend our nation, and to bless our dear land.
In the founding of our nation, there is evidence throughout history that men lived with a fear and respect for God and things holy.
During momentous occasions, prayer was offered with an understanding that we are a people in need of the protection and blessing of God. Even in the court system today, the bible is confirmed upon as an emblem of truth.
I had the privilege of being raised with a praying mother. Many time, I would awaken in the early hours to sound of weeping in the living room as my mother call our names out to God. Every day, as we stood on the porch at 12 Pine Crescent in Lakeview Trailer Court waiting for the bus, mother would lay her hands on our heads and pray that we would be protected at school. This legacy of prayer has been forever engraved in my mind.
The question we need to address today is: Are we still a praying nations? Do we still invoke the presence and blessing of God in our lives? And no just during momentous occasions, but daily? We will work but will we pray? We will study, but will we pray? we will play but will we pray? We will visit, build, fight, vote and converse, but will we pray?
This God we pray to is not ambiguous. He came to a stable 2,000 years ago and the angel proclaimed to Joseph that His name would be called Jesus and He would save His people from their sins.
Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, says: And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by hi. (3:17) The apostle John records the words of Jesus, Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. (16:24).
There is no special language to pray. The only prerequisite is faith! God still answers the prayers of those who call on him with childlike faith!
If our nation is to remain glorious and free, it will be with the presence and glory of the sovereign God. In our busy lives may we take time to pray to the one who sacrificed His life so we could be truly free. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.