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Believers know that abortion is a spiritual battle and that prayer is paramount in our efforts. We cannot end abortion without prayer. After all, our struggle is not against flesh and blood.
But I think we all have the temptation at times to believe that because we are praying, there is nothing more we need to actually do to bring about an end to the abortion genocide. It’s ironic, isn’t it? In a time of natural disaster, we indeed pray. But we also mobilize large-scale rescue efforts to save those caught in the disaster. Why don’t we mobilize to rescue preborn children?
God gifted us with many talents, resources, and abilities. Shunning our gifts that could be used to rescue our preborn brothers and sisters is to behave like the wicked servant who buried his talent in the sand (Matthew 25). He was rebuked for his inaction.
Something I often hear in regard to ending abortion is this:
We need to preach Jesus. These women just need to accept Christ, and their babies will be saved.
We do need to preach Jesus. But if that were all that’s required to end abortion, then the abortion rate inside the Church would be 0. Instead, one-third of your congregation has had an abortion. We don’t become perfect when we accept Jesus, and plenty of Christians abort their children. If your church isn’t teaching people the pro-life worldview and providing access to real, life-affirming solutions, then women in your church will still get an abortion.
PRAYER COUPLED WITH ACTION
I mentioned that abortion is primarily a spiritual issue, so can’t we just pray about it?
The Christian faith is marked by prayer and other tangible actions. Therefore, we don’t just pray for people who need Jesus; we evangelize. We don’t just pray for people who are hungry; we feed them. We don’t just pray for people in marital trouble; we provide marital counseling.
Untold Christians have been praying for the end of abortion for decades. And yet we are still killing roughly 3,000 preborn children in America every day. We must confront that reality. We must pray for God’s help. We must pray for churches, for families, and for our culture. However, God often answers our prayers through the tangible efforts of His Church. God normally works through the mundane, the normal, the average.
He works through us.
I don’t think abortion continues for lack of praying. It continues because of our lack of tangible action.
Just look at how we invest our charitable dollars. Americans gave away over $390 billion in 2017. And they gave around $700 million of that to all pro-life efforts combined during that same year. So Americans spent 0.17% of their charitable dollars to end the leading cause of death in America. In other words, what we spend to rescue preborn children doesn’t even register in the American conscience.
TO END ABORTION
When I speak at churches and conferences, people often come up and say to me, “I’ll pray about how to get involved.” I confess that I sometimes wince when this happens, because I know our tendency to offer to pray can so often be an excuse for inaction. We feel like we’ve ticked a box if we just pray. In the meantime, God has already answered our prayer – by calling us to action.
If you knew that 3,000 toddlers were being killed every day in America, how much time would you spend praying, and how much time would you spend working to end the killing? What exactly do we have to pray about?
JUSTICE REQUIRES ACTION
It’s interesting that several of the biblical references about bringing justice to victims of oppression don’t mention prayer. Proverbs 24:11-12 comes to mind. It’s a command with urgency and immediacy. I get the sense the writer is saying, “Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Go rescue. You already know the answer to your prayer.” Amos 5:21-24 also comes to mind. God is disgusted with Israel’s worship practices. He seeks justice, and justice requires action.
I’ve been a Christian most of my life. I understand and value the power of prayer, and I pray regularly for the end of abortion. But if just a fraction of Christians and churches would become deeply engaged in the action of ending abortion, we’d realize that the answer has been right in front of us all along: our actions. And then our prayers would quickly turn from petitions to thanksgiving.
WHAT ABOUT UNEXPECTED PREGNANCIES?
What about preventing unexpected pregnancies? Shouldn’t we put our time and energy there, instead of expending it on the abortion genocide? After all, we won’t end abortion until people stop having unexpected pregnancies.
It’s certainly true that we won’t end abortion until America returns to a biblical sexual ethic, and the Church must again lead the charge on that effort.
While this rationale is true, it doesn’t absolve us from the moral priority of ending abortion now, regardless of the cultural climate.
Let’s say you’re walking down the street. You see a building with children inside is on fire, and you also see an elementary school that is hosting a fire-safety course. Which situation do you run to? You’d naturally rescue those who are at risk of dying right now. You wouldn’t turn around, head home, and formulate a plan to prevent fires in the future.
I run into well-meaning Christians who are passionate about preventing unexpected pregnancies through education and mentoring. I share their passion. However, engaging in prevention without also rescuing human beings devalues the 3,000 children who are dying today. It only promotes the false and fatal notion that children in the womb are worth less than the rest of us.
IMMEDIATE RESCUE IS NEEDED
If we truly value the preborn the same as we do the born, then we cannot exclude immediate rescue efforts from our abortion-ending solutions. In fact, moral priority places rescuing children at the very top of our list. Preventing unexpected pregnancies is a key component to ending abortion; however, it is not the only element. We cannot provide education without saving lives at the same time.
PRIORITIZING THE CHURCH’S RESPONSIBILITY
Maybe your pastor or priest leads an abortion-ending effort. Or maybe he blesses a church effort to engage deeply in ending the abortion genocide – and that effort is led by you.
As pro-lifers, we cannot allow ourselves and our churches to devalue preborn babies by failing to tangibly act to end the abortion genocide. Part of being a sober-minded believer is being able to discern the culture and prioritize our time and efforts according to God’s Word.
Read the other blog posts in the Abortion and the Church series: