“Abortion is such a big issue. What can I do to really make a difference?” “I do think Life is sacred, but with our culture the way it is, what can be done?”
These are questions we have heard and answered many times, and we do our best to encourage, support, and direct people. But defending the unborn and vulnerable can, at times, seem difficult and hopeless. Many passionate advocates for Life have been driven to their knees, in despair, asking God for meaning in their seeming failures, for purpose in ministry declines, and for reasons to continue fighting. What we don’t realize is that it’s often on our knees that God can best use us—calling out to Him in prayer. Prayer isn’t the last resort of the desperate. It’s a necessary part of life ministry. We need to pray before we start, while we labor, and long after our efforts are complete. Prayer isn’t optional—it is the solid bedrock on which all life ministry is built.
Power of Prayer
Why should we pray? For most Christians, this seems like an easy question, something from a children’s Sunday School lesson. But many Christians will also admit that their prayer lives aren’t as active as they should be! So the question is an important, if elementary, one. Why should we pray?
For one, coming to the Lord in prayer reminds us of a fundamental truth—we are not God. We do not control everything; we do not know what is best for everyone. But He does. God is God, He is Good, and He will work all things for His Glory, even when the way forward looks dark and troubling. It also reminds us of our role in His Kingdom—prayer allows us to enter, as much as we can in our fallen world, into God’s Presence and to discern His plans for our lives.
Prayer also provides protection against spiritual and emotional burn out. Life ministry is not easy. Not only do you often face the scorn of the world, but you can also suffer from the criticism or disdain of neighbors, fellow church members, friends, and even family. There can be exhilarating moments of success and painful failures. While we are called to suffer for Christ, how much more difficult would these obstacles be without the gift of turning God in prayer? We are not alone in this world, fighting this fight ourselves. Prayer gives us a time to renew and refresh our spirits.
Finally, prayer unleashes God’s power. God isn’t a cold, unfeeling judge, meting out punishments or rewards on a whim. He is our Heavenly Father. We can take all our fears, concerns, and thanks to Him, and He will listen to them! Take a moment to think about that—the God who created the universe listens to our individual prayers and cherishes them. Does He give us everything we ask for? No—and, when He does, it’s sometimes not in the way we would want it! But He does listen and consider our prayers. And when God’s people pray together, there is nothing He cannot accomplish through us.
How Should We Pray?
In 1 Thessalonians, Paul famously wrote, “Pray without ceasing.” And you can pray for Life without ceasing, because there is no lack of prayer topics! Prayer can happen anywhere, at any time, with anyone, of any age! Pray for the unborn, the elderly, and the vulnerable. Pray for elected officials pursing life-affirming legislation. Pray for churches, priests, and pastors seeking to defend Life. Pray for mothers considering abortion for their unborn children and for women and men who are grieving after abortion. Pray for pro-life people participating in events and working at pregnancy care centers. Pray for the life ministry you are involved in or for the life ministries connected to your church. Pray that God would direct you in discerning your call in life ministry. And pray that Life may be valued as God always intended it to be.
Prayer with Purpose
There has been an increase in criticism to prayer in our culture. When people respond to bombings, attacks, or tragedies with prayer, they can be mocked on social media or other outlets, for not “doing” anything. And, considering the issue from a non-Christian standpoint, their contempt would be understandable. But we who have experienced the power and necessity of prayer know that prayer isn’t a passive response to pain—it is the first response before taking action. Yes, there are times in which the only thing we can do in a situation is pray. But we must always remember that life ministry can only be accomplished through the blessing of God—which must always be sought on our knees, head bowed, before our God.
If you would like more specific prayer ideas and topics, we invite you to join our Anglicans for Life Prayer Team by either mail or email. Contact us at Admin@Anglicansforlife.org to receive our prayer calendar quarterly and join with our over 600 prayer warriors.
Written by Robin Ferguson, AFL Administrator