From praying regularly at abortion centers, to praying in and outside of church for an end to abortion, to beginning each day with prayer at pregnancy help centers across the country, the pro-life movement puts God front and center in its efforts.
Pro-life advocates and pregnancy help servants know that prayer is fundamental in defending and supporting life, not only because people of faith are commanded to pray but also because of the efficacy of prayer in bringing about God's will. Given that His will is for human life to be respected and defended, it follows that regular, fervent prayer will serve the movement that serves women and their families.
As pro-life advocates gather every day across the U.S. in front of abortion facilities rain or shine, it is to pray not only for the women and men who may come there on a given day to abort their child, but also for the abortion workers inside to have a change of heart.
The popular and continually growing international 40 Days for Life campaign also revolves around prayer and fasting for an end to abortion.
Pro-life advocates of all faiths are praying and fasting for a life-affirming outcome in the crucial Dobbs. v. Jackson Women's Health case before the Supreme Court, with an on-line effort, www.PrayforDobbs.com, urging prayer until a decision is announced, expected in June.
Speaking recently at Chicago's March for Life, Franciscan Sister Alicia Torres discussed the importance of prayer and keeping the Lord at the forefront of pro-life activism, while honoring the late long-time pro-life activist Joe Scheidler as a model for this.
Years ago, Torres and a friend were praying alone at an area abortion clinic when along came Scheidler and his wife Anne to join in.
For Scheidler, his decades of pro-life efforts always emphasized prayer.
Torres also remembered something he had said before a youth training event she had attended in 2008: “No activism can mean anything without prayer.”
Often referred to as the "godfather of pro-life activism," Scheidler continued working and praying for the sanctity of life until his passing last year. He founded the Pro-Life Action League, where his son Eric Scheidler is now executive director.
Eric Scheidler recalled his father's focus on prayer in front of abortion centers.
“He saw prayer as a foundation that you build work upon, the labora part, the work part,” the younger Scheidler said. “He wanted to encourage people to do the work and to join him on the front lines. And the No. 1 work for him was going outside of abortion facilities because that’s where our witness is the most powerful.”
Torres urged the March for Life Chicago crowd to follow Scheidler's example in staying focused on prayer and on Christ, even when the opposition is intense and angry.
"The future of the pro-life movement depends on the way that we become men and women of prayer who stand for life,” she said. “So today I'm here to remind all of us that the quality of our activism is contingent on the quality of our relationship with each other and with Jesus Christ.”
“If we stand with Christ, we will stand for life,” Torres said.
Beth Diemert is director of Affiliate Services for Heartbeat International, the largest network of pregnancy help organizations in the world.
Diemert told Pregnancy Help News that prayer was integral to serving in the pregnancy help movement.
"The idea of doing the work of pregnancy help without a high commitment to and practice of prayer, is like trying to light a fire without matches,” she said. “You may get it started eventually, but there was a much faster way to get there.”
“There is a human side to our work,” Diemert explained, “skill set, gifts and talents, training, and a God side; supernatural power & provision.”
“Prayer is the way to ensure that both parts of the equation are always at work,” she added. “There can never be too much prayer!”
This approach is also lived out every day by the Heartbeat staff, Diemert said, remarking that, “At Heartbeat International, I am so thankful that every day starts there and that we have a team that joins together to pray, inviting and welcoming God's power and provision into all we are called to do!"
Pregnancy centers across the country place their dependence on God front and center in their daily ministry, whether making it prayer part of their regular routine or delving deeper into a relationship with God.
Tweet This: “There is a human side to our work, and a God side. Prayer is the way to ensure that both parts of the equation are always at work"
At Women First on Long Island, NY, staff pray each morning for their efforts to be blessed, and for their words to be guided by the Holy Spirit to help save unborn lives.
Positive Options in Holland, MI, posts a monthly website prayer calendar for their supporters. This month the prayer requests include clients, staff, volunteers, finances, and activities.
For Lisa Hosler, president of Align Life Ministries in Lebanon, Pa., prayer had initially focused solely on lifting up clients to the Lord.
“There’s nothing wrong with that, Hosler said, “but God showed us that there’s more.”
She said that God has taught those at the center the importance of first worshiping Him, and then praying in the way He leads, as opposed to just according to a list or a client’s needs.
In praying only, versus prayer being a relationship with the Father, Hosler said, it can be like just another item on a to-do list. But taking a deeper approach to include an ingrained relationship with the Lord is both rewarding and fruitful.
“We’re so grateful for the change it’s made in our ministry,” said Hosler, “in our lives, and in the way we minister to clients.”
Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.