Fr. James & the Power of Prayer – Inspiring Stories of Life Ministry
How did you get started in this ministry?
I began actively advocating for the unborn in the summer of 2015 when the undercover videos from David Daleiden made their rounds on social media. For me, it was about the abortion victims. My wife was in the early stages of pregnancy with my youngest child, and, when I watched children being picked through for parts after being killed, it destroyed me. I’d always been ‘pro-life,’ but the humanity of my unborn neighbors settled in with me on that day. Although my wife and I organized the first #ProtestPP event that month, which was well attended and successful, it didn’t seem to have enough direct impact for me. So I sensed God’s call to find a Planned Parenthood and begin standing there in prayer. I have been there nearly every Friday since.
Are you collaborating with others?
Initially, I was alone, but now I collaborate with several groups. I have a pretty strong connection to the Respect Life group at our local Roman Catholic Church. I also have worked pretty closely with Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust on various events. I am beginning to develop relationships with Anglicans for Life that I hope to blossom into a much stronger west coast presence than we have currently. I have been part of the leadership team of three 40 Days For Life campaigns.
How has your ministry grown or changed since it started?
My ministry has grown in several ways. First, our church has been able to recruit others who will come and pray at the clinics. During the last 40 Days campaign, we were able to cover an entire day in front of Planned Parenthood with just our church. Second, I have been more intentional about focusing my sidewalk counseling on the Gospel. I preach the Gospel, ask people to turn to Christ and repent, and offer them help. I believe saving children will be the result of the Gospel being heard and responded to, and I tailor my message that direction.
What has been the most surprising result of your ministry, or what happened that you didn’t expect?
I remember being blown away the first time I saw a woman walk out of the abortion clinic and save her baby. I looked at the guy from my church who was with me and said, “This has never happened to me before!” Since then, I’ve seen probably 20 or 30 babies get saved. I’m always humbled when it happens, and I love being a part of saving lives.
One of the hard surprises is how, even among pro-life friends and family, this has been a difficult ministry to get involved in. People think they are being compassionate by not talking about this and by not naming the sin ‘murder.’ However, I’ve come to greater and greater assurance that healing doesn’t come by refusing to name the sin, but by going to the cross of Jesus who forgives. In other words, the good news of the Gospel is that God loves and forgives murderers! Where sin goes deep, God’s grace is greater still. True healing comes from naming sin and finding God mighty to save.
Many people want to serve Life but aren’t sure how to start. What do you recommend to people who are considering starting or joining with a life ministry?
I would say take whatever step God is asking you to take and then ask Him for the next step. The journey into life ministry isn’t all that different from any other aspect of Christian discipleship. When we discern God calling us into ministry, we take it a step at a time and trust God to protect us and lead us onto what’s next. Also, you are not the savior of the world. God is. Every week, before I leave the abortion clinic, I proclaim out loud that I am not the one who can end this. God is. I remember that I don’t save babies or change lives. This is a work of God done in the power of the Holy Spirit.
How do you see God’s hand in growing your ministry?
I know God gave me this burden for a reason, but I am asking Him for discernment on how He’s asking me to advocate for the unborn and be a parish priest. In the future, I expect that God is going to use me in this ministry both for direct advocacy and for education in the sense of intentionally unveiling the eyes of the culture of death. I’m called to continually call the Church to repent of the holocaust we’ve enabled and to empower people to do something about it.
This article was originally featured in the June 2017 Carpe Diem newsletter.
Categories: Abortion, AFL Publications,
Tags: life ministry, Planned Parenthood, prayer, praying, pro-life,