How did abortion become a political football rather than a moral outrage? Sacred Scripture tells us, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…” (Jeremiah 1:5) Do we believe that? If so, how have we allowed the intentional destruction of millions of infants in their mother’s womb? Do we not believe that each of these individuals was known to God and precious in His sight?
Participants in the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil sacrifice a great deal to be present in front of abortion clinics to pray. Some travel great distances to attend and the weather conditions can sometimes be quite brutal. Furthermore, there are some who do not like to see prayer warriors in front of abortion clinics and hurl vicious verbal attacks against them, and sometimes even physical attacks. So why do people come to pray? The reasons seem to vary. Some have been personally affected by abortion in one way or another and have experienced the harmful consequences. Others simply recognize the sanctity, dignity, and value of each human life and see a need to be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. Regardless of the motivation, each participant has made a conscious decision to stand up for life.
It still astounds me to hear the verbal assaults from others while praying in front of an abortion clinic. In almost any other instance of life people will gladly welcome prayer. We even seek people out to pray for us when we are ill, unemployed, or suffering through some type of disaster. However, prayer is not warmly welcomed in front of an abortion clinic. Why is that?
Why is it problematic if I stand outside in a public space and pray for individuals within a building? I am not standing there threatening or even wishing harm on anyone; I am praying for all involved. I pray for the abortionist to experience conversion and start working for the preservation of life. I pray for the nursing and support staff to likewise experience a change of heart. I even lift up in prayer their families at home. I pray that they will encounter the living God in a profound and dramatic way. I pray for all of the other employees and volunteers involved in the administration of the abortion clinic. I ask God to give them clarity of heart and mind in regard to what is happening in their midst.
Next, I pray for the women and men entering the clinic. My heart goes out to them. How did they get to this point where abortion seems to be the only option for the perceived predicament in which they find themselves? How has society failed to instill and nurture values which build up and strengthen families rather than dismantling them in so many circumstances? How have our churches and other institutions failed to support women and families causing them to feel such extreme isolation, loneliness, and desperation? In what ways have our educational, religious, and government institutions failed to guide young men during their formative years to instill within them the values of integrity, accountability, and dare I say, chastity? What responsibility and accountability do each of us as individuals have to accept in regard to our personal failures in building a culture of life?
Next, I pray for all of the people keeping vigil. We are united with one common purpose—the preservation of human life. It is important that we remain steadfast in our efforts and not grow discouraged. I then pray for all of our churches and other institutions which should be leading the way in our endeavors. Complacency and silence will not help us proclaim the Gospel. It requires courage, persistence, and perseverance. Christians, individuals and churches, are being called to be faithful witnesses. How well are we responding to the call?
Obviously, prayer time wouldn’t be complete without praying for the unborn babies entering the building in which their very lives may come to an abrupt end. This has been an especially difficult component for me to grasp as I stand in front of the abortion clinic—knowing that a life is going to be snuffed out and there isn’t anything I can do to stop it. As a matter of fact, there have been times when a police car is parked right in front of the entrance of the clinic. The quiet and peaceful individuals silently praying on the sidewalk are seen as the threat. The police are there to protect the clinic workers and patrons from us. The idiocy of such a situation is beyond explanation. Legalized killing is protected, while people of prayer are viewed as a threat to the harmony of society.
Each time I visit with someone who has been hurt by abortion, my heart just aches for them. They share the grief, the sadness, the broken heart. The ripple effect of pain is huge, and the mainstream media refuses to honestly look at the reality of what is taking place all around us. Creative words can be used to paint a picture that is significantly distorted from the reality. It doesn’t matter how frequently abortion proponents call it a choice; it is still the death of a baby.
It is important that people of prayer continue to pray in front of abortion clinics. There are a lot of hurting folks who desperately need the touch of God’s healing hand. It is essential that we are present in the very midst of the hurt. Prayer in church is good; prayer in the community where pain and suffering is present is vital. May we all be abundantly blessed during the second half of the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil!