“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18
Participating in prayer and witness outside abortion centres can be an extremely uncomfortable experience. After all, you are vulnerable and open to ridicule from people who are hurting or who have a false sense of compassion – nurtured by a culture that has lost all notion of the sanctity of human life.
Yet, despite the uncomfortable feelings, being present where abortion actually takes place is a vital witness FOR life, hope and truth.
Restoring a culture of life
Our ultimate goal is to restore a culture of life. This restoration can only come about through Christ. The restoration requires humility – of individuals and of nations. It requires that we turn away from from sin and beg God for his mercy, praying, fasting and placing all our trust in Him (see 2 Chronicles 7:14). Restoring the culture to one that embraces life, begins with each one of us personally as we allow God to transform us, and then sharing that hope with all whom we meet.
When we heed the words of Jesus “Be not afraid,” and cast our own personal comforts aside, He can use our prayers and sacrifices to affect change in people’s hearts and minds, and to save the lives of pre-born babies.
It takes courage to peacefully stand against injustice and evil – right where it takes place. It takes courage to live your faith in such a public manner. And it takes great love to be prepared to serve those, whoever they may be, in their greatest hour of need.
Choosing to cast aside fear, to be courageous and to love, is an important spiritual and concrete way to restore the culture.
Evil doesn’t become good
“A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good, just because it’s accepted by a majority,” so said Booker T Washington, a man who was born into slavery.
While abortion may be legal, this fact does not make the violent and barbaric practice right. Neither is it a good for mothers, fathers and families. When our people don’t thrive, the whole nation suffers.
Your presence saves lives
Your presence really does save lives!
Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood Director turned pro-life advocate, attests to this fact. She knows from her own experience that some women do not turn up for their appointments when people are peacefully praying outside abortion centres. Abby notes that at the last Planned Parenthood conference she attended, participants were told that up to 75% of women do not attend their appointments.
In 2015, Family Life International’s Founder, Colleen Bayer was praying outside the Auckland Medical Aid Centre (which does not provide any medical aid for those with real health issues). This was not the first time she had done so; Colleen has sacrificed many hours praying and witnessing outside Epsom Day and AMAC.
On this particular day Colleen was deep in prayer when a woman walked up to her, said hello and proceeded to thank her profusely for saving her son’s life. “Thank you, Colleen. My son Harry is 14-years-old now and he is amazing and has grown up very well. He has a younger brother and we are all very happy,” the woman named Yuki said.
Fourteen years earlier, Colleen had been praying and witnessing to life outside this very same abortion centre. There, she met Yuki who was afraid, and heading inside to abort her son in the hope that all her difficulties would be taken care of.
When Yuki realised that there were people willing to support her during her pregnancy and afterwards as well, she willingly took up the offer for help. Colleen and the team at FLI assisted Yuki in her greatest hour of need. Yuki has never forgotten the generosity, care and respect she was afforded.
Your presence changes hearts
Wellington 40 Days for Life participants were recently heartened by an encounter with a member of the public. A woman had approached the small group looking for a man named Paul who had spent many hours witnessing to life outside Wellington Regional Hospital. Because of age and health issues, Paul could no longer be present.
The woman had an apology for Paul. For such a long time she had walked past verbally abusing him. But now, because of his witness her heart had been softened and she could see why he made the effort. This contrite lady desperately wanted to get the message to him that she was truly sorry for her behaviour. Paul was given the message just before his death.
Clare McClean, co-ordinator of 40 Days for Life in Wellington, and organiser of many other prayer vigils, recalls “it was very moving and evidence of the power of public witness in changing hearts.”
Your presence reminds abortion workers what they are involved in and extends to them hope and mercy
Our love and concern extend far beyond mothers and fathers, and those who have had an abortion experience.
If we are to truly be a light, we must also see the dignity and humanity of those who work in the abortion industry. No matter how depraved their behaviour may be at times, no matter how determined they are to continue what they are doing, we must respond with love, and only love.
Love does not let another blindly lead themselves into perdition. Instead, love gently leads the person into truth. Our physical presence quietly reminds abortion workers that what they are involved in is not ordinary every day “health care.” It reminds them that they are involved in something disordered.
Abortion workers need to know that they too are loved. That there is hope and mercy for them as well, and that their lives also matter to those who claim to be pro-life.
Putting aside the fear
In New Zealand we have been given an opportunity to renew our commitment to prayerful witness outside abortion centres throughout the country.
It was the hand of God which thwarted the attempts to legalise so-called “safe-zones”, preventing any pro-life activity outside places where abortions occur. A miracle brought about by the prayers and sacrifices of so many faithful people throughout the country.
We cannot let this opportunity go to waste!
Shawn Carney, 40 Days for Life co-founder and CEO, explains why in his book The Beginning of the End of Abortion:
“There are hearts, minds, and souls at stake. That is our focus no matter where we live. There are women considering abortion right now in your community. You cannot stop them from having an abortion, but you can help them to stop themselves. Your presence can show them that they are not alone and that they are loved. That is the real duty of a just society, and it will overcome the emptiness of abortion and end it where you live.”Shawn Carney, The Beginning of the End of Abortion
Will you cast aside the uncomfortable feeling, the fear?
Are you willing to be vulnerable, yet courageous and bold as you pray for an end to abortion at the very place where innocent lives are violently taken?
Are you willing to bring hope, healing and mercy to a broken people desperate to know that they are loved by Jesus, the only one who has the power to stop this great scourge on our people?
Making that bold step, casting aside all fear, and being prepared to truly love is an important spiritual and concrete way you can restore the culture. Your sacrifice will help bring an end to abortion. You will save lives!